When I say organic, I mean a marketing approach that’s on a slow, meandering path. It lets your book sit out there and percolate on its own without all the fuss of budgets, time management, and digging deep into a niche skill set. It’s also easy--
Oops. First, let’s get our expectations in order by me telling you what organic marketing isn’t. It isn't loud and flashy. It doesn't quickly rake in readers and reviews, bring in the bling, or get you big awards for awesomeness. It's not a "Show me the money" type of direction.
What is it, then? Well, let’s get back to the easy part. Organic marketing is easy, unassuming, and introverted. Your book will be out in the world, laying in wait for potential readers to stumble across like a hidden gem, and because it’s so quiet, you probably won't even know when this beautiful thing happens. That's the way it goes; that's life. So let’s get started!
1.) Donate Books to Little Free Libraries
Are you traveling to another city or heading out for a walk around your neighborhood? Before you go, visit the Little Free Library site and map out the locations of those cute little book houses nearest you. Load up a backpack of your finest stories to donate and take a walking tour, leaving your gem on the shelf for others to find. Then, move onto the next one, slowly lightening your load. Not only is it a great workout—books are heavy!—but it's fun, too. Sorta like looking for Easter eggs or geocaching.
Maybe you're an avid reader with a hefty Already Read Pile. Besides giving away your own books, you could share those you’d recommend. But before donating, stamp the first page with your author name and website. Readers who read what you like and recommend might stop by your website to see what you’re about.
2.) Tuck a Bookmark in There
investment doesn't have to be made here. Write a note, stamp a piece
of paper, make a bookmark from scratch. As long as it's providing
your author name and website address, it's doing the job. When I'm in
a crafty mood and have the time, I create corner bookmarks using the
milieu of scrapbook paper I've accumulated over the years. I'll tuck one into a random book I donate in hopes of giving some fellow reader a smile. If
they hate it and throw it away, so be it. But I'd rather assume my gift is being used and enjoyed, and maybe, just maybe, the reader likes YAROM, too. If so, they might be interested enough to check out my website. Hey, it could happen.
3.) Provide a Sample Chapter
If you’re worried about copyright infringement, then this option might not be for you, especially in a world where pirated content gets passed around like candy: movies, music, quotes, photos, memes and the like. Otherwise, sharing a first page or even a first chapter could whet the appetite of a potential reader. Imagine that special someone hanging on your every word until they reach the end where you've left a link to purchase. How can they resist? They're one click away from reading the rest of a great story, and you're one click closer to a book sale. It's a crazy world...you just never know.
I have an account with Wattpad
where I provide a sample first chapter for each of my books, followed by a link
to purchase. I can direct readers there via
social media to introduce my stories or just let the chapters be. They're out there ready and waiting to be read by whoever happens by.
4.) Create an Email Auto-Signature
This is my all-time favorite, because it’s unobtrusive while actively getting the job done. Every time I send an email out, the auto-signature is there, sharing my message in a non-braggy way: “Hi. I’m an author and this is my book.”
My email auto-signature is below. Hanging Around for You is a link to Amazon for purchasing, and Stacia Leigh is a link to my website. I've included a snappy logline to share what my story's about in the hopes of garnering a quick look and some interest. Ideally, a logline should be in the thirty-words-or-less range to be succinct and eye-catching. Graeme Shimmin has a great formula to follow when creating one and says it best in his article, Writing a Killer Logline.
5.) Pinterest Pins and Boards
If Pinterest is one of your social media outlets, then use it to your benefit by creating “mood” boards for your stories. I’ve compiled one for each of my books for writing inspiration of characters, scenes, ideas, and quotes. It’s there to share with potential fans, too. Care to know which musician inspired a motorcycle thug in my adventure-romance, Burnout? You can see my mood board, here.
6.) Advertise Via Amazon Product Links
I signed up with Amazon’s Affiliate Program so I could advertise my books on the sidebar of my website with an Amazon product link like this one:
Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh
Amazon Product Ad
If you’re not familiar with this Amazon feature and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a concise Amazon description:
"The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world that helps content creators, publishers, and website owners monetize their traffic. Not only do Associates earn commission on products they refer traffic to, they may also earn on other products their readers may purchase on Amazon."
Bonus: Make Book Announcements for Free
I found an extensive list of websites listed by Savvy Book Writers in their article called 65 Top Websites to Announce Your Book for Free. The only caveat is the article was written in 2012, so will need a keen reviewing to see what's changed. All the same, it's a good place to start exploring, to answer those questions of who’s who out there and what part are they playing?
So does this organic marketing stuff really work? Admittedly, it’s hard to measure the efficacy when only time will tell. It's not like the measurable energy and fund output for the more extroverted avenues of marketing: book tours, trailers, interviews, email promotions, momentum building, and buzz.
But with a little effort up front you can set those organic wheels in motion. Make your book available for readers to discover on their own; let the winds of the internet take your gem on a journey to make those chance encounters. Where will it go? Who will find it? Life's a mystery...
“It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.” ~Antoine Rivarol