Monday, March 11, 2013

On Tour Today: CARRIE BUTLER, author of STRENGTH, Offers Marketing Tips

It’s my great pleasure today to my have pub-sister, Carrie Butler, over during her blog tour.
So, take it away, Carrie…

Marketing Voodoo - Selling the Experience, Not the Product

Back in college, I had a harsh marketing professor. He had a voice like a megaphone, loved to single students out, and rarely admitted he was wrong. But you know what? His lessons stuck with me.

"We're not just selling features," he'd always bark. "We're selling benefits."
One day, he had us go around and try to pitch whatever writing utensil we'd used to take notes on his lecture. Right there. On the spot.

Of course, the first unlucky few floundered about, grasping for a quick summarization. "Well, it's a Papermate mechanical pencil. I found it in the hall. It says it's, uh, one-point-zero millime—"


As he went around the classroom, the lesson became glaringly apparent. He was waiting for us to sell the benefits over the features—the experience over the product. "This isn't just a pen," I declared when he called on me, thrusting my cheap-o clicky pen into the air. "It's a statement."

He rubbed his chin. "How so?"

"It was handcrafted in India," I lied. "Eighteen-karat gold clip, refillable cartridge, polished... uh, barrel. Do you know what this pen says about me? It says I have good taste. It says I'm a professional who's willing to invest in her career. It says... I'm just a little more successful than you are."

Plus, it says I love BS-ing people. That pen cost me ninety-nine cents.

Now, mind you, the exercise was just for fun—and we all had a good laugh about it—but it does beg the question: Are you selling benefits or features?

What do you love about your book? Is it the fact that it's a 389-page paranormal romance that's making strides in the new adult category? Of course not. You love the way it made you feel the first time you daydreamed about it. You love how your heart raced alongside your characters' as the scenes unraveled. So, what if you started pitching it that way?

Don't spam-tweet us that your book is available on Amazon for $3.99. Invite us in to experience your world. Give us a teaser. Share a reviewer's first impression. Take my fabulous host, for example:

“Thompson writes cinematographic scenes of violence that contrast perfectly w/ those of tenderness & love.” 5 stars 

Doesn't that make you want to read THE MISTAKEN? If I didn't already own two copies, I'd check that link out!

So, if you take nothing else away from this post, remember that your readers are people—not numbers. They want to share the experience of that daydream. They want to connect with it on an emotional level. You just have to reach out to them. :)

About Strength

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

Where to buy:

About the Author

Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Where to find Carrie:

Where to find Strength:


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sell the experience - wise words to remember!
Congratulations, Carrie.

JeffO said...

"It's a statement." Niiiice. It's hard to think in terms of 'benefits' when you're talking about fiction, though. Especially when it's my own!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing the marketing tip, Carrie. Good luck with your book.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I remember this from being a drug rep. FAB. Features. Advantages. Benefits. (Yay, I learned something of value that will benefit my writing career.)

Great idea for setting up tweets. I never pay attention to typical promotional tweets. When your readers do this, it's even more convincing. More so than when they tell everyone your book is now $2.99 through Amazon. That tweet is fooling no one, either.

Melissa said...

Great post! :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Excellent advice Carrie. Sooo, taking some review highlights and tweet them. I love that idea!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Benefits - that is the secret! What can our product (book) do for others?

celeste holloway said...

Rock! This is so true! I'm glad you pointed it out! :)

Nicky Wells said...

Absolutely fabulous post, thank you, Carrie and good luck with your rocking tour! X

Jessie Humphries said...

I love that line..."it says I am more successful than you." So clever.
I don't often think in these terms. I have absolutely no background in marketing. But this will stick with me for sure.

Andrew Leon said...

Marketing just makes me feel... uneasy.

L.G. Smith said...

Yeah, marketing doesn't come easily to most writer types I'm guessing. We can use all the help we can get.

Donna K. Weaver said...

This is freaking brilliant! And it's so, so true. I hate the idea of selling, marketing--but I love my story and the characters and how I felt as I was writing it. I'm so sharing this.

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks again for having me, pub sister! *Hugs* Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to post smiley faces all over your blog...

@Alex - Thank you, Captain! :)

@Jeff - Aww, come on. I could think of more than a few benefits to reading your writing. :)

@Natalie - Thank you! :)

@Stina - Isn't it interesting how previous jobs can aid our writing careers? I love it! :)

Oh, absolutely. Reader testimonials are so powerful!

@Melissa - Thank you! :)

@Elizabeth - And someone with your talent has plenty of highlights to choose from! :) Thanks, Elizabeth!

@L. Diane Wolfe - Absolutely! :)

@Celeste - Thank you! :D

@Nicky - *Waves* Another pub sister in the house! Thank you, Nicky. :)

@Jessie - Oh my goodness. By that point, I was grasping for things to say. Haha! Thank you. :)

@Andrew - Try to think of it in terms of gift wrap. You want to package your book in the best way possible. :)

@L.G. - It can be pretty intimidating, but it's fun once you get into it. :)

@Donna - Thank you so much! Yes, it's all about doing your story and you characters justice. You have to get them out there, so others can share the experience. :)

E. Arroyo said...

Awesome information. Congrats!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love what you've said here. It's what so many writers forget. We have to love our product. It's like when I get down in the dumps and feel insecure, yet--I pick up my book, read an excerpt, think "Wow, Brendell is so terrific," and then I know the book's good because the character still warms my heart after all this time.

Thanks for reminding me of that, Carrie.

Hi, Nancy!

Mark Koopmans said...

I *love* getting marketing tips from people who know what they're talking about :)

Cheers, Carrie (and thanks, Nancy :)

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Adding your advice to my arsenal! Thanks.

Nick Wilford said...

Great tips here. There's nothing like a bald "buy my book" tweet to put me right off. We're writers - we're supposed to have great command of the language, that should extend to marketing too!

Leigh Covington said...

WHOOT! This is AWESOME! So excited for Carrie!

Anonymous said...

Now I really want that pen;-) Great advice, and congrats again *squeeee*

LD Masterson said...

I like the concept. Great way to look at marketing.

Carrie Butler said...

@Liz - Thank you! :)

@Joylene - Yes! Exactly like that. You fell in love with your story for a reason, and others will too. :D Thanks, Joylene!

@Mark - Why thank you, Mr. Koopmans! :)

@Lee - Yay! Thank you. :D

@Nick - Exactly! Thank you so much. :)

@Leigh - Thank you! :)

@Jamie - Haha! In my mind, it was a pretty fancy pen. ;) Thanks, Jamie!

@LD - Thank you! :D