A good friend of mine, Tracy Verdugo) will be publishing her first book next year. It's based on her art classes and the techniques that she uses.
This is her specialty and she has created opportunities all over the world for her art classes - the book is a natural extension of that.
For promotion Tracy has used Social Media to it's full power - she is on her various pages on Facebook (her personal page has reached capacity at 5,000 friends and her business page is at 2,500). She is real, approachable and connects with all her friends and fans - from this she has been able to run her classes all over Australia and USA.
She has now started her campaign for her book - with preorders open (Fishpond for Australian shoppers or Amazon) already she has been able to create a buzz from her fans and gain sales.
This got me thinking about how to best promote something in this new world - this smaller world within the internet and how individuals have been able to create niches and opportunity.
I work with marketing and media however I have always been promoting something an entity bigger than an individual - mostly with the budget of an individual, however at least something that was already in the mind of the public.
I've been heavily involved in mass marketing bus, train visuals, TV commercials (with great success - see video below), online display and search advertising and print. I've managed online social media staff across several platforms and linked with major statewide and national brands. Yet always it's been a product or a place - never a personality. I've tried to use personality but it is hard to do within a corporate environment.
However I see the benefit of a more personal approach to marketing - especially in the realm of selling something that person owns or has created.
It's not something limited to the small time or the novice either - Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are some of the bigger names out there promoting their work - I would not have known about Neil Dr Who short story if he had not tweeted it.
John Scalzi has created a suite of opportunities for his work, from books to his involvement in TV Shows and Computer Games.
Wil Wheaton sold his book Happiest Days of Our Lives from his website (hell he and his wife spent a weekend or more packing and posting them out... I know I got one). In fact most of the people I read or listen to I follow, like or read about via the internet and various forms of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and such).
It's also not limited to the "official" pages either. The best news about The Cure is Chain of Flowers a fan channel who post songs as they are played in gigs around the world - or link to tips and bits of news.
What's common about all these things? What is it that makes them great and makes so many people follow, like or be part of them?
I looked at Charlie McDonnell - first UK You Tube account to hit 1 million subscribers and now sits at over 2 million. How did a teenage boy from Bath, England gain so many to follow and like him? It's simple - it's what Tracy does. He has been himself, warts and all, he connects not because he is a salesman or trying to be whatever is the latest fad or do whatever (think Justin Beiber here - he is a product first a person second...) This has become his job - his career. He also plays music and has commenced writing and producing short films (check out his Tea Chronicles) with a feature film in the pipeline.
So if you are looking to create an opportunity for promotion via the digital world the only advice I can see and I can give - is be yourself and let your work sell itself via you...
I also think that you need to create content and be online as much as possible - allow people to see you - post pictures and links to things you like - cross link all your bits of Social self to a central place that has the real information especially the link to how they can buy your stuff... Don't be a salesman but be someone that people want to buy from.
Handy links for those who need them...
Hugh Howey on why he favors self-publishing
Adventures in self-publishing: Why I took a year's work and tried my hardest to give it away
Take Control with Independent Publishing
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