January 2014 through December 2014 - Page 34

Embrace Your Backstory When Marketing Leveraging your uniqueness by Lynda Bouchard T here has NEVER been a civilization that didn’t use language and tell stories in some form or another. It is primordial in us. We all want to know that our lives have meaning, and connecting through stories accomplishes that. As writers, you invest significant emotional energy in writing your book. You should take no less effort in the marketing of it. As you think about your marketing plan (you have one, right?) try and think about new ways to incorporate your OWN story into everything you do. When I begin working with an author, I ask them to share five things about themselves that no one knows. The answers open up a world of possibilities for marketing. Hey, you write stories for a living—it’s time to tell your own. 1. Marketing is about finding the BETTER story. In our social media-focused, fast-paced world, information is continually washing over us, yet few things stick. However, the messages that are remembered generally have a story connected to it. And the key to any good story is the ability of the audience to relate to it. What is YOUR story? You can make your marketing landscape unique by weaving your personal backstory into every press release, pitch and presentation. No one has the same backstory as you do. Learn to leverage your uniqueness. Think about how your story connects with current events, a cause or breaking news. Ask yourself how you want your readers to CHANGE after hearing your backstory. Remember that your book is merely your calling card to gain entry to bigger things such as media coverage, speaking events, book festivals and presentations. The more you “bake” your own story into your marketing efforts, the more people will connect with you, buy your books, tell others, and become your greatest source of free advertising! A great backstory builds pulling power over time which translates to more readers for you. 2. Small is the new big. Great marketing makes the new feel familiar and the familiar feel new. That goes for the story you are putting out there as well. But in order for it to be “familiar” to others, they must connect with your story. To accomplish 34 Southern Writers that connection you must be efficient. Technology has fragmented the market. People can find exactly what they want and ignore the rest. The good news is that you don’t have to reach millions to be successful. Forsake the millions. Think as NARROWLY as you can. Find a core group of readers who are passionate about the same things you are. Your story will resonate more intimately with them, and your circle of influence will begin to expand. Choose and focus. Small is agile! 3. Think outside the book to create the better story. It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you want more people to buy your books—STOP SELLING! Start creating relationships. In this digital, social media age, people are actually becoming more isolated. “Social” media is a misnomer. The most singularly significant approach is to have real face time with others. People are starved for relationships. Attending conferences, speaking to groups and meeting your fans face to face will create positive energy for you and your readers. Once they know your backstory (the “why” of you) they will feel valued and engaged. Their perception of you will be positive because of the authentic connection. And remember, there is only perception! Ask yourself—how can I connect with my readers in an authentic way? Maybe you are adopted, can speak five foreign languages, have a relative who is famous; use your special something to connect with your audience. People want to know how you created your “secret sauce.” It was created with your passion, your vision, your point of view. No one can copy it. Here’s an example: What is more interesting—buying lemonade from a vending machine or from a lemonade stand? It’s the same product, but the STORY surrounding the lemonade stand is what engages people. Stories matter in marketing. Not just because they educate or entertain us, but because the message you create lasts a really, really long time. Cave paintings and the Dead Sea Scrolls have outlasted their creator by centuries. How long will YOUR story live and speak to readers? n Lynda Bouchard is founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at Booking Authors Ink, a boutique public relations firm dedicated to authors. www.bookingauthorsink.com