We get information on how to attract readers to our book from so many different places.
Blogs. Books. Seminars. Writer conferences.
Depending on the quality of the information, all of these places could indeed be valuable resources for us in getting our book into the very people we know will absolutely love our stuff.
But believe it or not, there is another place where we can find a marketing tip that could make or break our success as an author. The source?
A Disney movie.
Let me explain.
The Disney animated feature The Emperor’s New Groove can teach us something rather important about getting people to know about a book we’ve published. More than halfway through the movie, this scene takes place between the main antagonist and one of the protagonists’ family:
Yzma, the bad guy, first demands that they tell her where the talking llama is, AND she’ll burn their house to the ground. Then, she corrects herself, and demands they tell her where the talking llama is OR she’ll burn their house to the ground. Then the protagonist’s daughter asks which is it, because that “seems like a pretty crucial conjunction.”
And, of course, the daughter is right.
The conjunction—be it “and” or “or”—is absolutely essential to the outcome of this situation.
When we’ve put out a book, it’s of course our job to attract people to it. This might be in the form of emailing our list, guest posting, or joining Facebook parties. We hustle to make sure that everyone who would be interested in our particular non-fiction or fiction knows all about it—and hope that each of them buys five copies for their closest friends.
This is a fairly straightforward process for some authors, whether they have a non-fiction subject like a business book on hiring the right people, or they publish women’s fiction that is very similar to comparative authors.
But what happens when your book marries very particular interests or backgrounds into a single reading experience?
The truth is, sometimes we put out content that, while it has the potential to be enjoyed by many, it will really, REALLY be enjoyed by certain people of a certain age group and a certain gender and a very certain interest.
These are the people who absolutely need to know about our book.
These people are our target market.
These people, because they’re so specific, might be very hard to find.
But, because we live in the Digital Age, there is a way for this to be done.
The digital age = digital marketing.
Because of how 1’s and 0’s can be so easily manipulated, and because social media platforms have amassed exabytes of information about what people like, share, and are generally interested in, we now have an unparalleled opportunity to target our ideal audiences through social media advertising.
Let’s say that you write YA fiction that is specifically about Cosplay, the dressing up in characters from fiction. There are plenty of people who both read young adult fiction and also are into Cosplay—be they people who attend science fiction conventions or attend Renaissance reenactments. But how do we separate those who have both of those interests from those who don’t?
This is where the “pretty crucial conjunction” comes into play.
When you advertise on Facebook and other social media platforms, you can target people who have certain interests. Of course you can. If you write YA fiction, you can target those who are interested in other YA authors because they’ve liked the author’s page. If they are into Cosplay, you can target the millions of people who like Comic-Con International. Pretty straightforward.
But, what about those who like YA fiction as well as Cosplay?
Recently, Facebook initiated a new aspect of their advertising, where though they usually would allow you to target those who like YA fiction OR Cosplay, now they will allow you to target those who like YA fiction AND Cosplay. The people who like one OR the other may amount to 3 million Facebook users in the United States, but the users who like one AND the other only amounts to a bit over 200,000.
By adding the word “and”—by changing the conjunction—the entire targeting has become transformed.
See how crucial a conjunction can be?
Our success in finding the right people to read our book—be it fiction or non-fiction—is defined by how accurately we target them.
And the conjunctions that we use for our ads will play a crucial role in ensuring that we don’t blanket the whole Internet with our stuff.
Curious about whether to pursue a traditional deal or self-publish? Check out my cheat sheet here.