Home > Book Marketing > Guerrilla Marketing and the Self Published Author

guerilla marketing (n) – The art of promoting your book in ways that revolve around ingenuity rather than money.


If you have read our newsletter for any length of time, you know we frequently comment on how a self-published author’s work on their book does not stop when the writing is done. It is entirely likely that you will spend more time promoting your book than you actually did writing it. The key is to learn how to promote your book effectively without either wasting your time or going broke in the process. You need to find the promotional efforts that will deliver the most bang for the buck.

This is where you turn to Guerilla Marketing

The term “guerrilla marketing” was created by Jay Conrad Levinson author of a series of books on the subject. The idea is to make as large of an impact as possible without spending tremendous amounts of money. Guerilla marketing goes deeper than just selling books, it’s about how to transform you and your book into a brand – it’s how you conduct your daily life, interact with potential readers, and build relationships with interested (and interesting) parties. Marketing is really EVERYTHING you do, done on a REGULAR basis. From the title of your book, to the name of your website, to the signature line at the bottom of your emails – all are part of guerilla marketing.

Here’s a quick table of the differences between traditional book marketing and guerilla book marketing

Traditional Guerilla
brick-and-mortar bookstore-centric non-traditional outlets (internet, direct sales, etc)
Inventory based (get books on shelves) Direct-to-consumer based (sell books directly to customers)
“push” books into the market “pull” books into the market
High monetary investment / low return Low to moderate investment / high return
Gross Sales / potential returns Net Sales / grow profit
Shotgun approach targeted and focused
Sporadic consistent and regular basis

 

Think about how you have gone about promoting your book – or even the services or products you’ve considered purchasing to help in the promotion of your book – on which side of this chart do they fall? Do the ideas or materials you’ve thought about work for you, or will you have to work for them to get sales? As Peter Drucker has said, “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” Few authors relish the thought of becoming sales people. So don’t – become a guerilla marketer!

Here’s a short list of ideas that will help you build an inexpensive, yet very effective and profitable guerilla marketing campaign for your book.

  • Guerilla Tactic #1- Stop making the booksellers and wholesalers rich – get a web site and shopping cart. Continuously giving away 40, 50, or 55% on your books just destroys your profit. Your book MUST be available through all the “traditional” outlets, but it doesn’t mean they are the only outlets.
  • Guerilla Tactic #2: Create a newsletter or e-zine centered around the topic / genre of your book. This will bring “like-minded” readers to your site and build awareness of you and your book.
  • Guerilla Tactic #3: Send postcards to everyone you can think of who might be interested in your book. You’d be surprised to discover the effectiveness of direct mail..
  • Guerrilla Tactic #4: Get involved in the online communities that deal with your topic / genre. Participate in newsgroups and forums. Present unique ideas or fresh perspectives – but be cautious of “spamming” the group about your book. Update your signature line in your email with your book title and web address.
  • Guerrilla Tactic #5: Offer to give speeches to companies, schools or organizations about your field of expertise. You can hand out business cards or brochures at most events.
  • Guerrilla Tactic #6: Present readings or discussion groups at your local library, school, community events, business gatherings and even nursing homes. The goal is to expose readers to what you have to offer.
  • Guerrilla Tactic #7: Find a way to get in the news – get Press Releases about you and your book to your local paper and radio stations. Create a perception of “newsworthiness” by presenting yourself as an expert on your topic or genre (or even “self publishing” for that matter…}
  • Guerrilla Tactic #8: Become a resource – if you’ve written fiction, review books in your genre. Business expert? Serve as a resource to your local media. Reporters work under horrendous deadlines, and occasionally they may need something to go to press quickly and your story might just be at hand.
  • Guerrilla Tactic #9: Give something away – at your reading, give away a book or two. Post your favorite chapter on the web. If your book is non-fiction, offer a service. Target your giveaway to the intended audience.
  • Guerrilla Tactic #10: Above all, be creative – do the things that no one else is doing. Our author Jillian Curtis did a reading of her book – and her son offered to dress up like the main character! Have fun –and make sure others are having fun too and you will sell books.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – each author and each book is unique. You need to tailor your marketing to what you can physically do. Don’t get stuck on a single idea – guerillas use a wide variety of marketing tools, all designed to work together. Launch multiple marketing efforts simultaneously.

Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson

When Ray first entered the publishing industry, authors relied on “vanity presses” to produce their work – many of whom would charge $15,000 or more and leave the author’s garage filled with hundreds of books. Ray, along with coworker Alan Harris, joined forces with Miles Nelson to create Dog Ear Publishing to provide the author community a self-publisher with a heart. The group’s application of new technologies and publishing on demand reduced the cost of publishing a book to a fraction of what it had been for previous generations; authors now have the ability to publish a book in as little as six weeks and print as few as a single copy.