Tag Archives: advertising

Creative Advertising

Years ago and for over 20 years I owned my own Belly Gram business. That was before the Internet, and service based businesses were traditionally advertised in the Yellow Pages of the phone directory or local newspapers, or even on restaurant paper place mats.

My business was mainly like a telegram service. Someone would phone and ask if I would help them celebrate someone’s birthday or anniversary, farewell, or get-well, at their business, a home, restaurant, or hospital. I had a ten-minute belly dance routine, my Middle Eastern music on a boom box, and I traveled to wherever the party was, met that person in charge, who told me what my guest-of-honor looked like, where he (or she) was located, and I showed them which button to press on my music when they had their guest-of-honor in place. When I heard my music start, that was my cue to enter the room.

The first part of my routine was fun and lively and I circled the room set aside for me to dance in and zoomed in on my “victim”-er guest-of-honor. Then I had a lovely slow section of music in which I wrapped my veil around his head and presented him with a red velvet banner with his name and “Happy Birthday” (or whatever the occasion was), and the last part was fast again and I used my tambourine which ended up on my “victim’s” head on top of the veil so he appeared Middle Eastern. My aim was to make my guest-of-honor feel special that someone valued them enough to arrange a party and to hire me to help them celebrate the occasion. Although I didn’t take myself too seriously, I certainly did take my job seriously and enjoyed it until I retired from dance. I also did longer shows for groups like the Shriner’s, Greek nights, trade shows, etc.

I said all that to give you, dear reader, an idea what the service was about. The advertising that was most successful over the years was “word of mouth” with the Yellow Pages ad coming in second. But occasionally, I had to think outside the box, so to speak. I approached restaurant owners/managers to do party room birthdays for groups as well as individual birthday events. I spoke with an outdoor amphitheater management about my work and also our local Shakespeare Theatre, a football stadium for tailgate parties, night clubs for special entertainment nights. An events coordinator hired me to perform in national trade shows at  different resorts. The Leukemia Society asked me to become a fund raiser for their Celebrity Waiter’s Luncheons, which I did for ten years. I did military parties and shows on military bases and even a few Scottish céilidh events in a tartan costume. And, one of the Scottish events turned into a performance for the Finance Minister of Saudi Arabia. Several movie companies came to our town and I was hired for actor’s and producer’s birthdays. I could go on and on, but the idea I’m trying to get across is thinking outside the box for whatever it is you are interested in promoting.

I remember shortly before I retired from dance, my husband came home and told me he was in a local drug store looking at the greeting cards and he left my business card in several of the categories. I had to laugh. Apparently, I had him thinking outside the box, too!

Now I’m an author and advertising is different. And it isn’t. For one thing we have the Internet, but we still need to think outside the box. I’ve blogged and guest blogged, networked at conferences and conventions, made wearable book-cover pins, given talks and signings at libraries, etc. Authors, do you have some ideas to share on thinking-out-of-the-box advertising?

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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Thinking of Pins and Badges, by Sheila Deeth

Coco Isle’s latest post showed us how to make pins from our book covers, so now I’m wondering how to justify buying a laminator to my husband. If only the kids were still at home, it would be a perfect accompaniment to all sorts of crafts, but they’re all grown. So I’ll either have to work with imaginary pins and badges – or else I’ll just feel old.

I got a nice imaginary badge from Goodreads recently!

Top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads

Does this make me a successful book reviewer?

If only I were in the top 1% of authors too!

Meanwhile there are all those cool images we can make on Canva and Twitter, like this one.

I’m even learning how to insert them into blogposts!

But the best news of all is that Infinite Sum really is coming soon from Indigo Sea. So maybe I’ll just have to shell out for a laminator and make a red and black pin from the cover when it’s done. After all, who could resist asking what that image means if they saw me wearing it?

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Thank you Coco for inspiring me!

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero and its companion novel, Infinite Sum, coming soon from Indigo Sea Press.

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How to Make Book Cover Pins

Want to try a super easy method of advertising your book? Make a book-cover pin to wear everywhere you go. It’s amazing how many people will ask you about it! Just be ready to have a clever one-sentence answer that will make them want to read your book. That may take you longer than actually making the pins, but will be worth the time spent.

I have a PC, so if you have a Mac, the instructions may vary. Before my book was published I got a photo of the cover from my publisher which I keep on file in my computer for guest blogging and other promotions. I made my pins 1 ¾” by 2 ¾” but you can make them any size you prefer.

So, go to Microsoft Word (I have Word 10) and click Insert. Find the picture of your book cover in your files, select it and insert it in Word. Resize it to 1 ¾” by 2 ¾”. Click on the picture and you will see Picture Tools at the top right-center of page. Click on that and directly below that will be Picture Border where you can select the thickness and color of your border. I picked a 4 ½ pt. border in black.

Go back to Word’s Home Page  (set the Page Orientation to Landscape) and right-click on your bordered picture and left-click on Copy. Go to a space to the right of the photo and click Paste. Then reposition it to line up with previous photo. Continue to paste across the page to total 5 covers. If you’d like, you can make a second row below this row, giving you ten book cover photos.  Now that you have your book covers all on one page, save it and print it on Glossy Photo paper.

I purchased a 9” thermal laminator at a local box store for around $30 and laminated the sheet of photo paper (just follow the instructions enclosed with the laminator) and then cut out each book cover pin. After a trip to the local craft store to get pin-backs the right size to glue to the back of the covers, I was all done!

I’ve had people ask me about my pin at the grocery store, while dining out, at book signings and talks, all sorts of places. If you wear a plain top in a complimentary color, the book cover will stand out better. Have fun wearing your new pin and give some away to fans, friends and family. If you have a contest for a give-away of your print book, include a book cover pin.

After you’ve made your pins, you can use the laminator for other purposes: for recipe cards to send as gifts, or announcements, special photos to keep in your wallet, etc. I’d love to hear some of your ideas how this project can be used! Enjoy!

Coco with Book Pin

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

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Virginia Slims and the Kool-Aid Man by Claire Collins

Oil of Olay’s ads in the late 70’s were so effective that I as a 7 or 8-year-old, thought I needed to use their product. From the commercials, women must all succumb to this horrible tragedy called “wrinkles” which made them look old. My mom got a sample size of the amazing beauty fluid and I used it until it was gone. She wouldn’t buy me a full bottle and over time I forgot to worry about wrinkles.

I was about 5 when my parents quit smoking. It’s hard to believe I remember so much of it so well since I was so young but it was pretty traumatic for me.  I remember lying on the floorboard of the car. Yes – seatbelts were optional back then, and I was very young since I could fit on the floorboard. Yet I remember clearly lying on the floorboard because I was trying to breathe. It was winter and both of my parents were smoking with the windows rolled up. Yuck. But I do remember that my mother smoked Virginia Slims.

I remember so well because they would include these totally cool and amazing Book of Days calendars with each carton of cigarettes. My mother always ended up with lots of extras and I was a voracious reader so she would give them to me. I think I memorized most of them. To me, it was just like getting a prize in a cereal box. That was strong advertising.

I began smoking at 15 and  smoked for 22 years. It’s been 3 years now since I quit.  I always did like that slogan: “You’ve come a long way baby”. Thankfully, all of that Oil of Olay has kept my skin very youthful looking and wrinkle free despite all of that smoking.

What advertising really impacted your life? Not just the ones that you remember, because we all know about the Kool-Aid man, OH YEAH! and that our bologna has a first name (It’s O-S-C-A-R), but the ads that really sunk in to your habits and life? What do you think about the images that children today are exposed to?

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal  and Fate and Destiny

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My Book Trailer Experience by Coco Ihle

My son, Rob, was visiting recently and I asked him if he would like to help me put together the trailer for my book, SHE HAD TO KNOW. He was enthusiastic, but busy with work, so I did the preliminaries. I watched dozens of book trailers on the Internet and came to two conclusions. The perfect length seemed to be a little over one minute, and eerie music and a British voice over would really help set the mood for the Gothic feel I wanted.

At my piano I experimented with notes that would create an eerie tune. When satisfied with the music, I developed a script. The hard part was keeping both simple.

Many of the trailers I’d seen had too much unnecessary information in the overall content, too much text per frame, hard to read text, too many pictures or ones that moved too fast. I needed: the one sentence TV Guide version of my book, in video.

The basic elements of my book contain a premonitory dream, one sister searching for her birth family, a castle, secrets, an ancient treasure, danger, a murderer.

Now to decide what pictures to use. First, I needed a title page and a background graphic. I had painted a faux rock wall in my sunroom a couple of years ago and thought that would make a perfect backdrop for the text of my book title, so I took a photo of a portion of the wall.

The next would logically be from the dream—a hand coming from a grave. On a night with a full moon, Rob, and I went out in the front yard and set up a floor lamp in front of a gnarled tree. The lamp highlighted his arm, but was hidden from view as I positioned my camera in front of Rob. Just as the camera started shooting, he blew cigarette smoke toward his hand and the resulting video looked like a hand reaching upward on a foggy night with the gnarled tree silhouetted in the background.

We didn’t count on my neighbor walking his dog about this time. Can you believe we scared him? He uttered a strange nonverbal sound, and to cover it, said, “What is this? Halloween?” Rob and I were still laughing when we went back inside.

The next pictures needed were of a man in a kilt and a picture of a young woman (family). That was easy enough. I used photos on hand.

Then, we needed a castle at night. I went searching on istockphoto.com and Fotolia.com and finally found a black and white video that was perfect. I purchased it and downloaded it to my computer.

For the “secrets” shot, I went hunting again on the Internet and found the tunnel video.

For the “treasure” shot, I gathered all the things around my house that could possibly be used to represent a treasure and took a photo.

For the “danger” shot, I went to the Internet again and found the wonderful eyeball. For the last shot, Rob and I videoed my arm falling. Next was the book cover and credits.

Using a program I had on my computer for doing family slide shows called, Magix PhotosStory on CD & DVD 9 deluxe, we lined up the photos and videos in order and added the music I had composed and recorded on an organ at my son’s store (complete with sound effects embedded.) The next step was adding the text to some of the frames.

I convinced a British friend of mine to do the voice over. That comprised the second sound track. All I had to do then was add the credits and send the video to Youtube. I also made a DVD of it, just for me, and I asked my web maven to put it on my website.

Some of you may want to hire a professional to do your book trailer, but I really wanted to try one on my own. It gave me a wonderful bonding experience with my son and memories I’ll never forget. If anyone has questions about how to put a trailer together yourself, I’d be glad to help if I can. If you’d like to see my trailer, go to  www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS_L0wQ7Zws  note: that’s a zero after the L. Any comments? Your own ideas?

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Dead Darling

“Darlings” are those bits of our rhetoric we love but that serve no purpose in our novels. This speech, orated by the verbose character Harrison, is another of my darlings from More Deaths Than One. By the time I got rid of all his unnecessary speeches, he went from being a major character to a minor one. 

“All through history, people made clothes to fit their bodies, but with the advent of ready-to-wear in the twentieth century, people now make their bodies to fit their clothes. This aberrant behavior has become so ingrained that everyone takes it for granted, as if it has always been so. In fact, women take great pride in being a perfect size zero or four or whatever.

“I was strolling down a street in mid-town Manhattan not too long ago, watching the power-suited, whippet-thin young men and women hurry by, and it occurred to me that the sign of a prosperous and pampered nation is this fashionable gauntness rather than corpulence, as is commonly believed. Only in a country assured of an ample and continuous food supply can its citizens starve themselves to the point of emaciation simply to serve the fickle gods of fashion.

“But perhaps it’s not their fault. Advertising is a powerful behavior modification tool. Take the story of the match king.

“In the early part of the twentieth century, Ivar Kreuger, a match manufacturer, managed to corner the match market. Through various deals, he ended up with the exclusive rights to sell matches in many countries, including most of Europe, but this monopoly was not enough for him. Back then, it was a common practice for two or three people to light their cigarettes from the same match. Ivar realized that if he could somehow keep that third person from using the match, he could greatly increase his sales, so he had his advertising department start the rumor that it was unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match. Tales were told of dreadful things happening to the third person who used a match, like the bride who had been left at the altar and the soldier who was killed after each had lit a cigarette from a match which two others had already used. Even today, though most people use lighters, the superstition that it’s unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match still persists. That’s the power of advertising: the ability to control the behavior of vast numbers of people.”

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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A completely new life!

As a writer, there are many things you will find difficult.

Reading a book without editing as you go.

I now hate finding a typo or font change in a book, of course, I also now sympathize with them, I’d cringe if I found one in my own at this point. I even edit newspapers and magazines as I go.

Pass by a new author’s book.

Nope I can’t do this anymore either. I can’t go straight for my favorite author without at least giving the new guy/girl on the shelf a look. Simply because I do believe in karma.

Free time.

So, you like to sleep. I remember what that was like. Oh and how I miss enjoying a night of peace. A clean house. A clean car. A long hot bubble bath verses a quick shower. I also remember breathing.

Instead, I use my time for advertising, blogging, and occasionally writing.

Anything you want to add to the list as I run off again?

Suzette Vaughn is the author of “Mortals, Gods, and a Muse” and “Badeaux Knights”

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