Monday, March 2, 2015

Publicizing Your Books: Using Psychology

Are these activities advertisements? Blogs and websites, reviews of others’ books, and talks on book-related topics.

According to Michael Turney, advertising and publicity are two very different communication tools, even though both employ the mass media as a vehicle for reaching large audiences… Advertising buys its way into the media… Publicity is presented by the media because it's "newsworthy." (Online Readings in Public Relations at ~turney/prclass/readings/ads.html).

So the activities listed at the start of this blog are not advertisements, but if done right and you’re lucky, they increase sales.

Can I use advertising tools to my advantage?
I thought if I understood the psychology of advertising, I might do a better job at publicizing my novels. I’m guessing (if you’re still reading), you might think so, too.

Emotional & bright visual
Experts agree #emotions sell products. About three-quarters of the time, researchers found surrounding a product with other things shoppers liked, sold products better than advertising the desirable traits of the product (Dempsey & Mitchell, Journal of Consumer Research [Dec 4, 2010] Vol. 37). I understand the concept as it applies to shoes and beer, but what about books?

Perhaps, it means as authors we should emphasize the humor, romance, and thrills in our novels. That’s why I named on medical mystery Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight rather than Death of a Diet Doctor. I thought the former title was more humorous and consumers like the words “lose weight” better than “diet.”

Humorous title
Experts think #ads should appeal to as many senses as possible. This makes sense to authors. We know book covers and websites (visual cues) are important. That's why I chose a brightly colored image for the cover of Ignore the Pain. I thought it would arouse emotion (shock) and was easy to remember, but I'm not sure readers found the photo as interesting as I did.

I think it is less clear how to provide sound, smell, and taste clues for novels. I’m wondering if I should serve brownies at my next book signing. They appeal to the sense of smell and taste and arouse favorable emotions in most of us. What do you think? Do you think any bookstore owner would allow it?

Don’t be discouraged if all your promotions don’t work. Experts estimate as much as seventy-five per cent of all advertisements aren’t effective ( interpretation of this information is: Try. Try again.

Nest week I’ll have more ideas gleaned from experts on the psychology of advertising.