As I post these updates, I’ll be hard at work on promotion every day. However, the way I spend my time in a given day isn’t necessarily interesting to write (or read) about. Today, I designed and ordered one thousand stickers. This will be exciting at some later point in time, when they arrive and I start attaching them to every surface in Philadelphia. However, today I’ll talk about something I’ve already done. It’s my favorite promotion strategy that hasn’t worked yet, and I call it Muttbombing.
As an indie, getting exposure through traditional venues is neigh on impossible. Anyone who’s tried getting a review in a newspaper knows this. An article I read yesterday reports that the Philadelphia Inquirer gets 800 book submissions a month. Without a publisher to represent you, you can be certain yours won’t be among the small number chosen for review.
Another thing you won’t get as an indie is a spot on chain bookstore displays. And that’s where this lovely idea came in.
It works like this: though Barnes & Noble doesn’t carry Mutt in-store, the book is in its system. In theory, if copies found their way onto shelves, the POS would read their barcodes without any problem and it would be processed like any other sale, and I’d see the sale on the royalty statement from my printing service. Since these are my own copies of the novel for which I’ve already paid to manufacture, I’d lose a small amount of money on these, but the boost to visibility would be worth it.
So, copies found their way onto shelves.
I don’t do this myself, of course; that would be awful and such. But the little bird who drops these off tries to keep etiquette; there’s a difference between breaking rules and disrespecting other writers. So I (that is, the little bird) never obscure someone else’s book, instead making empty spaces by consolidating books with more than one. There are a lot of those; in the frame alone, Under The Never Sky has three. There are also handwritten links in the backs of these books to the “You Found Me” section of my site.
I’ve only placed five copies in this manner and haven’t received any sales reports yet, but I’m optimistic. If people don’t buy it in the store, hopefully a few will at least pick up a copy, read a few pages, and hopefully seek it out later. And hundreds of people every day are seeing the cover, which is precisely the visibility boost I intended. I haven’t checked recently, but they were still on the displays about a week after the drop.