If you’re a self-published author, the idea of being writer, editor, publisher, art director and promoter for your book can be intimidating. But when it comes to marketing, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have a marketing staff, take a look at what the big publishers are doing, and put your own spin on the process.


Here’s one terrific example:


In order to create a buzz for the paperback edition of Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the final installment of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone young adult fantasy trilogy, Little, Brown devised a way to give readers a window into the author’s writing process. The publisher is asking fans to tweet their favorite quote from the series, with the hashtag #UnlockLainiTaylor. Once 613 hashtags are reached (the same number as the page count of the book), the publisher will unlock a bonus chapter written by Taylor, which has never been released.


Using Genius (the company that started “Rap Genius“, which allows users to annotate rap lyrics), the unlocked chapter will have Taylor’s own annotations about her writing. By clicking on highlighted bits of text, fans gain insight as to how this early chapter inspired the series, and see comments on her process as she developed the story and characters.


Of course, this works best if you’ve got a fan base to start from. It’s a natural for series, but could work for a first book if you have an online following before the book comes out. For tips on the one best way to build a fan base, check out Jon Bard’s Easy Author Marketing video.


Another publicity trick (which works especially well for picture books and easy readers), is to show video of young fans enjoying your book. These videos can be embedded on your blog or website, Tweeted, or even posted on an Amazon review. (Note: Always get signed permission from the child’s parents before you post anything online, and remember that someone else has to post the review on Amazon. It can’t come from you.)


Take a look at this adorable two-year-old gleefully “reading” Not a Box by Antionette Portis in this Amazon review. I defy any grandparent to watch this and then resist immediately purchasing the book for their grandchild. It’s physically impossible!

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