With book marketing consistently ranked as one of the top challenges for the self-publishing author, you might wonder whether paying to participate in book fairs is worth the money and the effort. Indie author and ALLi member Sue Rovens provides recommended do's and don't's for a successful book fair, based on her personal experience.
British indie author Rayne Hall, who writes fantasy and horror fiction and author guides, shares a lighthearted post about how her cat Sulu has become a valuable feline marketing assistant.
Whether or not you have a cat, and whether you or not you already spend way too much time looking at cat pictures and videos online, her post may spark some lateral thinking ideas of your own to help you sell more of your self-published books. Or you can just sit back and enjoy her cat photos!
I’ve found the perfect way to create a buzz for my books. My cat Sulu promotes them in the social media and attracts fans in droves.
Everybody, it seems, likes a cute cat, especially one that appears to read books. Where other authors’ book-promoting posts remain largely ignored, mine get liked, re-tweeted and re-shared.
A Chance Encounter with my Marketing Expert
When I went to the shelter to adopt a cat last year, I had no idea that I was getting a star promoter who would overhaul my marketing efforts, refine my author brand, make my tweets go viral and boost my sales.
A nine-month-old youngster, Sulu settled in quickly, and turned out to be an exceptionally sweet-natured and smart cat. Soon I taught him tricks: how to place his right paw in my right hand when I say “Sulu shake hands”, how to hop on the table, turn around himself, high-five with me, lie down, and more. He also enjoyed posing for photos.
Then he discovered books, savouring their texture and smell. That’s when I had the idea of training him to ‘read’ books, and he took to the idea eagerly. When I place an open book on the table and say “Sulu read” he lies down next to the book with his paw on the page, while I take photos. Sulu enjoys this so much, he wants to pose for photos at least once a day.
Sulu disdains ebooks. He’s a traditionalist who prefers the smell of the printed page. Although he enjoys non-fiction on any subject and is fond of dark and creepy tales, he’s a picky reader: when I gave him a volume of poetry, he vomited on it.
Flocks of Twitter Followers for my Literate Cat
The attention Sulu gains for my books phenomenal. Thousands of fans eagerly follow my Twitter stream to see the latest photos of the literate cat. The follower engagement in the social media has skyrocketed as people tweet to tell me how adorable they find my cat. They retweet the photos, often with the comment “I’ve just bought this book. If the kitty likes it, it must be good.”
I get invitations to be interviewed “about your books and your cat.” Reviewers request ARC copies “and a photo of Sulu reading this book.”
I’ve seen conversations in the social media: “I’m reading such-and-such book by Rayne Hall – you know, the author with the black cat.”
The Power of the Lucky Black Cat
Sulu is the best book promoter I could wish for. He generates exposure, goodwill, brand recognition, follower engagement, word of mouth, and everything else that makes marketing professionals salivate. Of course I pay him generously in cat treats and tuna.
Until we met, Sulu’s life was one of constant rejection. As a kitten, he had been someone’s unwanted surprise Christmas gift, was abandoned and ended up in a shelter. Black cats get abandoned most often and are least often adopted, so Sulu’s chances of finding a new home were small. For many months, potential adopters ignored him. Until we met, nobody wanted this marvellous cat, simply because he was black.
Sulu is so happy to be loved at last! Every day when I write, he lies on the desk, snuggling between my arms, purring happily. He’s a real writer’s cat.
I believe that a higher power has blessed Sulu and me arranged everything to bring us together.
OVER TO YOU Do you have a special talisman – with a pulse or otherwise! – that has helped you sell your books? We’d love to know!#authors - a new idea for book marketing: get a cat! How it works for @RayneHall Click To Tweet