Pub Rants

Clever Marketing

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STATUS: Not too frazzled. My day was devoted to a contract as well as following up on submissions.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART by Bonnie Tyler (Boy, does that trigger some memories or what?)

It’s not too often an author gets to indulge in really creative marketing for a novel and to be honest, I don’t know how much of an impact it makes on the bottom line of book sales but I have to hand it to my author Shanna Swendson who daily sacrifices comfort for that little extra push.

You see. Her current novel is entitled ONCE UPON STILETTOS. On the cover, it features a young woman in red stilettos and the cute frog (that I think is rapidly becoming famous).

If you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that the stilettos actually play a major role in the events unfolding. The fun fact is that the shoes are real because Shanna owns them.

And she wears them to every book signing. Me, I’d be wearing Hush Puppies or something. Spiked heels? My feet are screaming just thinking about them.

At RT, she even went the extra distance to market herself and her books. She attended the Friday Night Fairy Ball dressed as the girl on her cover—red shoes and all. (notice the little fairy wings).

Then she had a miniature version of her cover art affixed to her name badge. Lots of people totally caught the connection and asked about it. And who knows, maybe it sold a couple of extra books.

Now, that’s what I love. Clients going that extra distance to sell just one more book.

And here’s the frog pin. How perfect. Sorry, it’s not the best picture in the world.


15 Responses

  1. Shanna Swendson said:

    Sadly, the red stilettos were the most comfortable shoes I had with me for the trip because all the supposedly comfortable flip flops and sandals I’d brought gave me blisters. That was the one pair of shoes that didn’t give me blisters.

    Besides, those shoes make me feel all powerful and sexy and hot and stuff. I just know I could rule the world when I’m wearing them.

    And then I take them off and feel very, very short.

  2. Steve P. said:

    Good stuff. I liked your “top ten things I’d rather not see in opening chapters.”

    I have a science fiction column that appears in The Dallas Morning News, so it is quite possible I have reviewed some of your clients’ books.

    And of course, I have a science fiction novel just waiting to be finished. I’ll avoid all the bad stuff that you say to avoid in my opening chapter, or maybe just for fun, I’ll cram all ten of them in!

    Take care,

    Steve Powers
    [email protected]

  3. Shanna Swendson said:

    Hey Steve, you ever review fantasy in your column? (I don’t recall seeing any there, but you never know). Because, you know, I’m in the Dallas area, even a very long-term DMN subscriber. 🙂

  4. Drew Blackstone said:

    I love people who think outside of the box (or book). The point of marketing is to get people to notice your product in a positive way. If this doesn’t sell a few more books, I’ll eat the stilettos.

  5. Amra Pajalic said:

    Great idea Shanna. As an unpublished author I hear all these marketing stories and get disheartened but this is so simple, fun and it’s doing the trick. Feeling better now.

  6. Eileen said:

    Shanna you look great. For the record I do think marketing has a strange “after life.” Because I read the blog I read your book, which I loved- then for example I’m traveling currently to see family and was in the airport in Detroit awaiting flights. I saw you book in the store and made you a lovely out facing display and even hand sold one of the books to some other traveler and one to the store owner who also agreed she should back order your earlier book. So you never know the power of the shoes!

  7. Kathy Holmes said:

    Great story! And just the type of thing I can’t wait to try once I publish. One reason for the disappointment when a book doesn’t sell – I’ve already got the marketing plan for it – I can’t help myself – it’s part of the fun. 🙂

    Great job, Shanna!

  8. Shanna Swendson said:

    Zinnia, I don’t wear the shoes often enough for them to wear out anytime soon, and most of the occasions I wear them for are seated. They’re definitely “lobby to limo” shoes!

    And by the time they wear out, I’ll have to find a new gimmick.

    Eileen, thanks for the buzz building! You know, that means at least one person reading on an airplane with a captive audience — and at least one person reading something other than The DaVinci Code on an airplane. Seriously, I just knew I was going to hit a security checkpoint where they’d ask to see my boarding pass, photo ID and copy of The DaVinci Code before I was allowed to board a plane.