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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.  :)

There are a lot of people offering advice out there on how to market our books, but rarely do I hear anything I haven't heard before. The same old advice is rehashed over and over, which is fine – if it works, it works – but I'd like to know who among my fellow indie-authors has done something "outside the box" in marketing their books? Was it successful or did it flop horribly?

M.
 

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Well, I stole an idea from my favorite radio show "This American Life."  I worked with a charity and put all of my books in PDF form on a USB drive that was also an MP3 player.  They then gave it away as a prize at a local event.  Not sure how much of that led to sales, but I feel doing something good like that brings back good Karma and, since then, my sales have been rising steadily all summer. 

Would love to do it again with a customized USB drive, but I would want to find the right charity.  I figured by making the novels PDFs they could be read on computers or loaded to Kindles or other ereaders.
 

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I like interacting with fans, it's the best way to shift stuff. I did a contest where I gave away hardbacks to people who could write the best fan fic for my book (dialog from my characters). Had about 70 entries from those who were not intimidated by writing (I consider that successful), but over 1,000 views of my video, which was great promo, and gave me a small sales boost. Am doing it again at the end of this month.

ParaYourNormal blog does an online radio show, which is something different you could try. Again, I gave away eBooks and that attracted readers.
You could try doing an online book reading tied into a giveaway. That's an idea I've been toying with.
Also, instead of just giving away eBooks, I'm collaborating with an online lingerie boutique for the release of one of my paranormal romances, shaking things up a bit.

It's difficult to find new ways to market, but I personally try to engage on a personal level with my readers as often as I can. The theme I find that works is to give stuff away, lol.

 

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I started thinking up stuff my characters might say and posting it on Twitter. For example:

"My circle of friends is so small, it looks like a decimal point." -- Henry Pluck #AnEpitaphforCoyote

"A girl waved, so I waved back. She was waving at someone behind me." -- Henry Pluck #AnEpitaphforCoyote

A couple of these have been retweeted. Will it have an affect on sales? Who knows? But it can't hurt.
 

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I'm an avid gamer, and recently I've started to use my book cover image in Team Fortress 2, I just "spray" it in random spots on the maps as I play. I don't think it directly leads to sales, but maybe someone will see it and grow accustomed to the image.

I also embraced piracy and put a copy of my first book on a torrent site to get some exposure. I admitted I wrote the thing, and I noticed an increase in sales.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Melissa Conway said:
There are a lot of people offering advice out there on how to market our books, but rarely do I hear anything I haven't heard before. The same old advice is rehashed over and over, which is fine - if it works, it works - but I'd like to know who among my fellow indie-authors has done something "outside the box" in marketing their books? Was it successful or did it flop horribly?
As soon as someone does something and tells other people about it, it's suddenly "in the box." The only out of the box ideas are the ones you come up with and perform yourself, because the person who comes up with it is the one who benefits. Then there's a diminishing returns as more people piggyback.
 

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I took a class on book writing at the local collage once.  I did not agree with much of what the lady had to say as it seemed geared towards traditional publishing vs self publishing and that was what the course was about.  However one of the more "out of the box" marketing that she did was to have tee shirts made up that showcased a book as well as words saying "I wrote this" and "Ask me about my book".  She showed pictures of herself, husband and three kids at places like Disneyland, and Sea World and they all had the shirt on.  She claimed it generated a few sales, but it also allowed her to write the whole trip off as advertising...

Door magnets have been used to make your car a rolling billboard for your book.
 

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I also do some interesting things on Twitter. I have a series of tweets where I use the hashtag #WorkingInHell and tweet things relating to the setting/atmosphere of my novel. I also tweet about my characters occasionally like Bryan does. I don't directly link to the book there (don't want to seem too pushy with it), but it might get people checking out my Twitter page and/or website. They are frequently retweeted, but I've not been doing it long enough to see if it helps at all.

I also post character art for These Hellish Happenings on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheseHellishHappenings if you want to see it :p). I'm planning on doing some quick and easy comics and linking them both on Facebook and Twitter and possibly in a blog entry (and maybe, just maybe Tumblr if I ever get one).

These are both not really HUGE marketing endeavors, but I feel like they are at least ways to make your mark and increase your presence on the internet in a way that's not the usual blog feature or giveaway.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lots of GREAT ideas here - sparked an epiphany that I am now off to explore!

Thanks everyone! ;D

PS: I sold a few books by writing/singing/animating a spoof on the *joys* of self-publishing. It wasn't really my intention to promote my books, I was just blowing off steam and playing with my new software. (It's here if anyone's curious: http://youtu.be/3G-vQ8YhoJo.)
 

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thejosh86 said:
I'm an avid gamer, and recently I've started to use my book cover image in Team Fortress 2, I just "spray" it in random spots on the maps as I play. I don't think it directly leads to sales, but maybe someone will see it and grow accustomed to the image.

I also embraced piracy and put a copy of my first book on a torrent site to get some exposure. I admitted I wrote the thing, and I noticed an increase in sales.
That's really creative!
 

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Melissa Conway said:
PS: I sold a few books by writing/singing/animating a spoof on the *joys* of self-publishing. It wasn't really my intention to promote my books, I was just blowing off steam and playing with my new software. (It's here if anyone's curious: http://youtu.be/3G-vQ8YhoJo.)
I went over and looked. That's hilarious, but now I have that tune in my head "buy my book, buy my book..."
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ccjames said:
I went over and looked. That's hilarious, but now I have that tune in my head "buy my book, buy my book..."
LOL! Don't I know it, I wrote the darn thing and I've been humming it for about a MONTH now...argh! :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Melissa Conway said:
Lots of GREAT ideas here - sparked an epiphany that I am now off to explore!

Thanks everyone! ;D
So you've asked people for ideas and then when you have one you're going to keep it to yourself?
 

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I thought about photoshopping a picture of Robert Pattinson naked with a leaf over his crotch, and then saying something like, "now that I've gotten your attention... check out my book!" But I thought Rob Pattinson (and his people) wouldn't be too happy about that...
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
foreverjuly said:
So you've asked people for ideas and then when you have one you're going to keep it to yourself?
Ooo, selfish of me, huh? :)

Actually, I was thinking about having a contest for the best fan-fic book trailer of one of my books...there's a whole subset of readers out there who like to play with video editing software and 3D programs, etc (just like me). The idea may not get off the ground, but like I said, I'll explore its feasibility.

M.
 

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I can't even think inside the box at the moment. I think I'm suffering from marketing burn out. Is writing a book everyone would want to read and to have a book cover that no one could resist clicking on too far outside the box? :p
 

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Thanks for asking this question! :) My DEBUT, yay!, novel is coming out in two weeks. I'm a songwriter and well, I wrote a cute love song based off of my main character. So, I'm working to get into the studio, (my husband is a producer and songwriter, as well) and get it tracked, and then upload a little music video on youtube :). I may even sell it on Itunes! But I will talk about my book beforehand. Most definitely will have a link at the bottom where they can purchase it.

I will let you know how that goes! I think that's pretty "outside of the box".

I tweet, post on blogs, post on here...I'm taking a class by Kristen Lamb. She's on Twitter - @KristenLambTX. I highly recommend her! She's a social networking marketing expert! I also take classes from @Bob_Mayer with Who Dares Win Publishing.

Good luck on your journey of marketing!

 
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