Yesterday I wrote a post for a writer's blog about the role of swag in self-marketing. I have a friend: Gina Rosati, whose book Auracle will be published in August. She has created lots of swag (promotional material) to generate interest in her book. So far she has bookmarks (onto which she's added beads and charms), postcards, stickers, magnets, and silicone bracelets.
Her market? Young adult readers. She did her research and found out that yes, they like everything that she is offering (especially those bracelets.) What she is planning on doing is offering the swag to book bloggers who will then have “comment contests” where a randomly selected commenter will win. (in fact just to drill home the point, that's exactly what's happening with my post.)
My post touched off a bit of discussion in the comments where one person wrote:
Good Lord, I know you are right but it is SOOOOO overwhelming! We already don’t get paid enough and I wonder, when the time comes, and it’s MY turn to publish, whether I’ll be ready enough, RICH enough, to pull it off.
Of all the things that make me doubt myself, this is Number One – the whole “marketing” package.
Honestly….I’m trying hard not to panic…
One day at a time, I tell myself. Build the platform in increments, I tell myself. Get outside help if you need to, I tell myself. BREATHE, I tell myself.
I could clearly identify with the writer's sense of panic about all this. Self-promotion is all about getting your name out there and creating buzz on the internet. If you even doubt me check out what is being said about the book; 50 Shades of Grey – a self-published piece of Twilight fan fiction that takes it to the next level with B&D. Apparently the “suburban moms” are going nuts for this combination (who knew?) The book has become the next big thing mainly by word-of-mouth on the internet.
But how does one create buzz when there's not a lot of cash? (Hey, there's a reason they are called poor-starving writers.)
Although swag is important (it's how I got a Kindle Fire) as a way to draw buzz, so is doing something that catches someone's attention, something outside of the box – like say, a dad shooting a computer. Tommy Jordan certainly didn't plan on getting over 31 million (yup million) hits on his Facebook Parenting video but that's what happened. Love him or leave him (I happen to love him) he certainly hit a nerve. If ever there is a lesson to be learned here, it's that making a clear, opinionated statement (one that might not be popular) gets attention.
(Do I even need to link to this video?)
Self-marketing is entering a new era. Gone are the potholders printed with the candidates name of yore (yes, I worked on a campaign where we actually handed these out) and in are the clever twitter posts, the videos we pray go viral, the incendiary blog post that creates a firestorm, and of course, the all-important swag that help serve to keep our name, brand, and product buzzingly alive on the internet.