June 9, 2011

Tia the Tame Tiger and Angela the Angel Present Depression Cookies

I've started to think of marketing books like cereal. When I walk down the cereal aisle, there are way too many colorful boxes jumping out at me. So what do I do? I am a marketer's dream. Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, Cap'n Crunch, Lucky the Leprachaun, and the Trix rabbit all call to me. Sure, when I found out my daughter had allergies, I had to look more carefully. But, for the most part, I go with the mascots. I only stray from this when a friend highly recommends something to me.
Image from http://www.theimaginaryworld.com/

How does this relate to books? Walking through the bookstore is information overload. I'm sure a vast majority of the books there would be a good read, but I don't have the money or the time. I have to pick. Usually I do this based on my friends' and book club recommendations, but sometimes I stray from that because I've seen an interesting article or interview on an author.

Branding. My mother and I are the "faces" of our brand, Depression Cookies. We can't even rely on the occasional impulse buy in a bookstore, because we aren't prominently featured in the big chains. We need people to think we are interesting enough to buy our book. Selling yourself is hard. Mom and I are passionate about our book, but it goes beyond that. People want to see you, genuine and willing to share.

I recently attended my first book festival. I love people, and can talk all day (well, when I have a voice). Much to my husband's dismay, I am enamored with people's stories, motivations, and passions. When Haley Tanner stopped by my booth with her mother, I was enchanted. They were so sweet together and loved chatting about the mother-daughter bond. I glanced up to see Haley wearing a "Featured Author" name tag. When I asked her about it, she said she was there to talk about her book. Her mom then, as moms do, beamed with pride and told me a bit more.

The very next week I was going through some magazines and newspapers sitting around our house and picked up the USA Today. Sure enough, there was Haley listed under the "New Voices" section. I started following her on Twitter, looked up her website, and ordered her book (haven't received it yet). Would I have stopped to read the "New Voices" bit if I hadn't met her? Even if I did, would it have stuck? But because I met her and she glowed, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of her book, Vaclav & Lena.

This experience taught me a lot about branding. You have to put yourself out there. I think a blog and participating in social media sites are a good start, but nothing takes the place of personal interaction. The best part of attending festivals, conferences, book clubs, and local events is socializing. Not only is it an opportunity to learn, it's an opportunity to give. And market.

Have you ever met someone (online or in person) who impressed you so much you went home and googled them to find out more?


Cynthia Rosi said...

Love it! My daughter and I attended our first writer's conference together, and I enjoyed watching her growth. I love having a writer for a daughter. It means that I can show her how to make a living from writing, rather than being forced to listen to naysayers who tell her there's no money in it.

Tia Bach said...

Cynthia, thanks for stopping by. Your daughter is as blessed as I am. I have my mom to thank for my creativity (and my dad for my ability to fill the necessary Sales Tax forms and business tax returns since he suggested I combine my love with a practical degree). I hope my children appreciate me in the same way someday!