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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Theall

Book-Marketing Animal

A million books are published every year, and most of the heavy-lifting to get the word out on a new novel falls to the author (and by extension, their loyal and long-suffering friends and family members). When my novel, The Wind Will Catch You, launched in September, I did my due diligence. I posted the cover, a link for readers to purchase it, a few lines on what it was about, stopping just one or two posts short of getting canceled or snoozed by my audience. Then, I called in favors...big ones. Kristin Hannah (yes, that Kristin Hannah) and Maggie Shipstead graciously put the cover of my novel in a "story" post on their Instagram the book cover 24-hours of exposure to their extensive fan base. I held my breath, watching my Amazon ranking. Nothing. Nada.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there, did it make a sound? Who the f-#$%(&^ knows? What I do know is that I believe in the story I wrote. I fell in love with Ben and Sky, two kids separated by a broken foster care system who must learn to survive in extremely disparate circumstances. I spent roughly 8 years trying to craft a page-turner that would inspire discussion among readers about family, identity, and social justice. So, while I know how to write, I have no idea what it takes to make something "go viral," unless we're talking about sneezing and coughing in small, enclosed spaces (which I don't recommend). So, I decided to have fun.

I'm a wildlife photographer with a portfolio of thousands of images from across the globe. I'm also pretty good at Photoshop. So, I used my photography skills to promote the novel by placing the book into the paws, wings, jaws, and talons of wild animals and posting the resulting images online. I wanted to exploit the "cute" factor, for sure, but also, I wanted the people who knew me (and had likely already purchased the book) to actually look forward to my posts and maybe even share them. And so seems to be working.

And, even if it didn't...I'm having a blast doing it. It doesn't feel greasy or dirty, like I'm begging people to buy the book. It feels authentic. So, I plan to keep doing it as long as I'm having fun and people are responding to it. Who knows? I may just turn into a book-marketing animal after all. #kristinhannah #maggieshipstead #clevermarketing #booktok #bookstagram #pageturner #bookmarketing #reesewitherspoon #hellosunshine #readwithjenna #bookclub #bookclubpick #lgbtq #fostercare #demoncopperhead

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