Learn How to Become a Guerrilla Marketer - article

Marketing your book doesn’t require you to become a high-powered salesperson, advertising executive, or seasoned promoter. Your personal involvement and commitment to the process are the most important factors for a successful book-marketing campaign. Your creativity, imagination, and energy will also contribute to the success of your marketing efforts. Use the low-cost and unexpected ideas outlined below as a launching point for crafting your own guerrilla marketing campaign.

Becoming a Guerrilla Marketer

The term guerrilla marketing is used to describe a broad variety of non-traditional, low-cost, and effective techniques for promoting a product or service. Authors are among the champions of this marketing movement; with a keen understanding and commitment to their product, authors are uniquely suited to devise new, interesting, and successful techniques for reaching their book’s target audience.

After you’ve spent time identifying and profiling your book’s target audience, and reviewing the successful marketing techniques used to promote other books in its genre, you’ll be well-prepared to come up with your own unique marketing ideas. Here are some guerrilla marketing ideas you can use for inspiration as you brainstorm:

Promotional Items

-Offer promotional items as door prizes or giveaways at your author appearances; examples include T-shirts, calendars, baseball caps, or coffee mugs, printed with the name and cover of your book, and the address of your web site or online sales portal.

-Hold raffles or contests at local fairs and events, where the prizes are free copies of your book or promotional items.

-Print small chapbook excerpts from your book (perhaps a ten-page preview) and distribute them to members of the media and potential buyers. Alternatively, you can create electronic versions of the chapbook and distribute them via e-mail. In either case, be sure that the last page of the chapbook tells readers how to order your book.


-Place an ad with your local movie theater, to appear during the slide show that plays before each movie begins.

-Run advertised specials on your books, such as buy one, get one free or referral discounts.


-Publish an e-newsletter pertaining to your book's main themes, for example cooking, gardening, genealogy, or local history; advertise your book within the newsletter.

-Make handbills and hand them out to passersby in shopping areas or during lunchtime or after-work hours near business centers.

-Insert marketing materials in your correspondence, such as your invoices and your own bill payments.

Community Outreach

-Offer to speak before local organizations. Contact the area chamber of commerce to find out about the organizations in your region, then send the organizations information that describes you and your book and what you might offer as a speaker.

-Became a sponsor for community events, such as theatrical performances, fund drives, farmer’s markets, youth-related events, and state/county fairs. Run an ad in the printed program or other material that accompanies each event. Be sure to attend the event, and work the crowd, distributing bookmarks or other promotional materials. If possible, set up a booth for book sales and meet the author opportunities.

-Host a monthly reading group to get in front of book buyers. Although you shouldn’t feature your book as the book of the month, you will have drawn together a group of attentive readers who you can tell about your book (and who are likely to tell others).

-Host a writer’s workshop and schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly workshop events where local writers get together and critique each other’s work. These meetings offer great word-of-mouth publicity, as well as an opportunity to network with other writers in your community.

-Do a regional book tour to promote your work. Extensive book tours are costly, but you needn’t plan a globe-hopping, international blowout. If you can schedule appearances or events in a few key markets, such as in major cities or regional centers, you can really boost public awareness of your book.

-Host your own events such as whodunit mystery dinner theaters, poetry readings, square dances, or parties linked to any day or event that ties into the topic of your book (consider special days such as Halloween, Columbus Day, Boxing Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or even Take Your Daughter to Work Day).

-Consider setting up a calendar that will target your guerrilla marketing activities to specific dates and events throughout the year, such as holidays and large community events.

Be Innovative, but Plan Wisely

Once you begin brainstorming, you might be surprised at how many creative and non-traditional methods and opportunities you can come up with for marketing your book. Guerrilla marketers need to plan carefully, however, to be sure that their promotional techniques will be effective and well received.

Plan your marketing activities well to be certain that you are able to carry them off without disappointing or annoying participants, business owners, event organizers, and so on. Here are just a few of the ways you can be sure that your marketing efforts will be effective:

-Have promotional items ready for distribution, and put together a working plan for holding giveaways or raffling off items.

-Check with retailers or business owners before you distribute marketing materials within their space.

-Don’t put posters or other notices in the windows of restaurants, retailers, or other businesses without first getting the permission of the owner.

-Target your speeches or other appearances to offer real value to the groups you’re addressing.

You can be proud of your book, and you should draw upon your creativity when determining effective ways to market it. Just be certain that your marketing tactics are carefully planned, organized, and carried out so that you get the full benefit of the time, effort, and money that you invest in them.

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