I am learning so much from my friends! This week author Michelle Weidenbenner helps keep Read Play Edit ticking over while I recover from that nasty hard drive failure—and brings a new way to think about book marketing. Read on!
Product Planting for Writers
Who wouldn’t like to sell more books? But how?
Maybe the answer isn’t something you work on after the book is written, but is actually in the plot planning, from the moment your start writing. Maybe you should partner with a local company and build your story around it.
Let me explain.
First of all, raise your hand if you know what product planting is. It’s sometimes called product placement. (Okay, you can put your hand down now.)
Just in case you don’t know, here’s the definition: “A form of advertising (usually not involving ads) in which branded products and services are noticeable within a drama production with large audiences.”
Think about the last movie you saw. What type of car did the protagonist drive? Did the main character wear Marie Claire stilettos? In the movie Gone Girl, Ben Affleck sits at the bar and orders a shot of bourbon from his sister. What was the name on the bourbon bottle?
Products in movies are deliberately planted. What about product planting in novels? Have you thought about this concept?
One author’s successful idea.
Melissa Foster, a contemporary romance author, created a character who is a jam maker and lives on Cape Cod. When she was writing her book Love in Bloom: The Remingtons, Melissa partnered with a jam maker on the Cape and developed a jam label with them. The jams are now being sold in stores, restaurants, and on Amazon—Luscious Leanna’s Sweet Treats. The jam company has followed the protagonist into the rest of the series (Seaside Dreams, Seaside Hearts, Seaside Sunsets, and so on).
Isn’t this brilliant? I haven’t read these books, but reviews are great—and the exposure she gets through the jam company is timeless. Both her brand and the jam company benefit. My guess is that she’s selling more books.
A geocaching trackable is a tag number you attach to an item. Most trackables have a mission. You can follow the mission at Geocaching.com, where the item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and you can follow its progress online.
Since my novel is a geocaching mystery, I decided to ask friends at a Facebook geocaching page if they would be interested in planting my book in geocaching sites in their states.
Guess what? I received 650 responses. I never expected that! Out of those responses, I chose 50 people from varied states and provinces and mailed books to them. First, I purchased tracking codes to include inside the book. And I gave them all a mission to help spread awareness of child abuse (another theme in the book) by carrying the book to all 50 states and Canadian provinces. Some books have traveled over 5000 miles. Others have been to six different states. (And the journey only began a month ago.) The best thing is sales of the book have skyrocketed; a few weeks ago I sold close to 4000 e-books.
What’s even better? The books are bringing awareness to how child abuse affects victims, families, and communities.
What’s your idea?
As you’re writing your next novel, think of a local brand you can partner with to help you promote your book. Focusing on a local company will bring interest to your community. Think of how you can promote the brand in your book—but make the marriage genuine. If the “planting” feels forced, readers might revolt. It needs to be a win-win situation for both parties.
If you have ideas you’d like to bounce off of me leave a comment below. I love to brainstorm this fun approach!
Michelle Weidenbenner calls herself ordinary, but her novels are anything but. Check out her website for more about Cache a Predator and other works-in-progress. Michelle and her husband live an “ordinary” life in the Midwest, near their grown children and grandchildren.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”