Tag Archives: marketing

First look at Business Class Tarot!

COMING FALL 2018

Are you a business person, entrepreneur, or maker?

Do you work where product meets brand? Where data and money become one?

BUSINESS CLASS TAROT™
See the Present — Change the Future

Tarot cards have centuries of wisdom about human nature and power dynamics, hidden behind obscure symbols and outdated worldviews.
BUSINESS CLASS TAROT brings the Tarot’s deep knowledge and interactive format into our world of global connection, massive scale, and brutal competition.
Artist Jamin Hoyle’s beautiful, surreal images evoke the rush, despair, and joy that inform and derail life’s major decisions.
Designed and with guide by author Anthony Dobranski.

Hello Connecticon 2017 – and thanks!

Tonight I fly north to Hartford, CT, to join the Bard’s Tower booth opening Friday at Connecticon. It’s the first of three cons I’m doing in July at Bard’s Tower, with other fantastic writers.
Cons are intense, by design, and they’re also long days standing on concrete. Three cons in four weekends is a heavy schedule, personally tiring and hard on my family. Still, #livingthedream . These are my last big cons this calendar year. I want to connect with every interested reader during my hours in these big convention halls.
How immediate these connections can be! People know their tastes, even if naming them with difficulty, but they feel. Once in a while I get a visual clue that a convention-goer might be my audience – cosplaying Sandman‘s Death, or wearing an Unknown Pleasures t-shirt – but more often, the readers find me and click. I’ll see an hour of people glancing away, then a delighted voice reads my title aloud and everything brightens.
Connecticon 2016 was my first con behind the table, learning to connect with readers in person and find their interests, before my launch in Cincinnati. Seeing how little time one gets in the hugeness of a con convinced me to market overtly to a niche sensibility.
I am excited to come back with my book – and new trading cards!

New Demon trading cards!

As a promotion on social media for The Demon in Business Class, I created a virtual trading card deck. For cons, I printed card versions of the nine character pictures. They were done as a last-minute inspiration, made by shoving the cards’ original Instagram proportions into a business card template on Moo.com, the excellent online printer. The cards turned out to be popular at cons and events, and at a better cost-per-item than postcards.
I updated the info on the back and resent the cards to print a larger order – seven this time, of the original nine, because nine is unwieldy at a con; and extra Zarabeths.
This time, Moo said the uneven border made for unsatisfactory results, and offered me the chance to do the cards over with new images. They were right of course, and I took the opportunity.
At my upcoming cons in Hartford, Raleigh, and Ft Lauderdale, I’ll be sharing the good word about Demon with new promotional trading cards!

Hello CapClave – Trading cards now REAL!

I’m paneling and reading starting today at CapClave in Rockville MD. It’s a very different kind of personal appearance than my work at convention booths, with panel discussions of literary topics, and a half-hour Saturday morning to read my work.
In celebration, my social media promotion has slipped the surly bounds of cyberspace and achieved card form!
The nine Demon picture cards
It’s only the 9 picture cards, not the complete set of 55, which is still being published one a day on my social media: Instagram & Twitter @adobranski, Facebook @adobranskiauthor
It’s also a small test run of this promotional idea!
Any intrepid and review-minded readers who buy an Advance Reader Proof from me at CapClave get a card along with the posters I also gave buyers in Cincinnati. (And if you bought a book in Cincinnati, get in touch on Facebook or by email to dobranski outlook com and I’ll send you one!)
Here’s my CapClave schedule – for full details, see CapClave.org and find me under “Participants.” See you there!
Fri 6p – Whatever Happened to the Standalone Novel?
Fri 8p – Who’s the Bad Guy in a World Without Absolutes?
Fri 11p – How Graphic is Your Novel?
Sat 10:30-10:55a – Reading
Sat 11:00-11:25a – Author’s Table
Sat 4p Politics in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Sat 5p – Global Climate Change in Science Fiction
 
 

Thanks, Cincinnati! – my successful advance release

My debut selling advance proof copies of The Demon in Business Class at the Cincinnati Comic Expo was a smashing success – I completely sold out!
It was great to be part of the WordFire Press booth and have their amazing support. My posters and banner clearly caught people’s eyes. And of course, thanks to the many brave readers who took a chance on an unknown author!
I am still under-slept, and I have work ahead of me to be ready for reader reviews – and for my next pre-release appearance, October 7-9, at CapClave in Rockville, MD, where I’ll be on several literary panels, and doing my first public reading. Cincinnati gave me a lot of good energy, and I look forward to putting it to use.
Thanks Cincinnati for my warm welcome!
 

Fun with marketing – book teaser trading cards

The image-driven firehose that is social media challenges the modern writer. I see some managing to do clever things with it, releasing aphorisms and motivational notes, and others just stupefied. Count me more often among the latter.
Not long ago, writer, blogger and ace self-marketer Shannon A Thompson  posted about her book teasers, single-image character bios she puts out well in advance of her book’s release. I can do that, I thought.
But I couldn’t. My efforts seemed both too much and not enough, and in retrospect I think Thompson’s style wasn’t playing to my strengths. I needed a way to put forward not just characters but the breadth of my story, and my own writing style, in bits and snippets – in a spirit of play.
I did have a great cover, thanks to artist Julie Duong, and my banner showed me that I could make an unusual concept work. Early one morning three weeks ago, trying to get back to sleep after waking too early, I suddenly saw these in my head.
Star Wars trading cards 1977
These are my own Star Wars trading cards from 1977 (I have the first three sets of 66, complete). What’s funny about them is that they only make sense if you’ve seen the movie – even in numerical order, they’re more like a trailer blown up into individual frames and fallen all anyhow onto the floor. I imagined what it would be like to read them without having first seen the movie…
The result debuts today on Instagram, and come out one a day between now and my mid-November book launch – 56 in total (7 x 8, a union of Western and Eastern lucky numbers). Here’s a sample:
Three Demon trading cards
I’m no artist, but I can run an image editor enough to add borders and fonts. I took Thompson’s great idea to use stock art for my character images – it helps that they’re mostly business people, and stock art sites are full of those – but I ran them through Prisma, the smartphone app that makes people look painted, which let me image the character’s personality, not just their looks.
For now they’re on my own Instagram account adobranski. Follow it and get a little literary oddness in your daily feed!

Fun with marketing – my convention banner

I am so pleased to show off my first major marketing tool since the book got its cover – my banner for convention booths and signing tables. Artist Andrea Klores created a fantastic twilit look that complements the book’s edginess and theme. See it below in detail, and the final product at the end of this article – with a 6’4″ human for scale!
Demon banner detail
This is not the usual book marketing banner, and I thought it worth discussing.
My marketing education this summer included a weekend working at my publisher’s booth at Hartford’s Connecticon. Continue reading

My first interview!

I got to talk about my upcoming novel The Demon in Business Class with the great guys at B&M Baked Podcast. We discuss the story, the background, the editing process, support from other writers, and even the convention-sales business model.
My five-minute interview starts at timecode 30:21 – or listen to the whole thing, to hear from many other great authors too!
http://bandmbakedpodcast.podbean.com/e/ep-376-connecticon-2016/
 

Make time for new work

My main creative work since my book contract has either been editing my manuscript or developing my (approach to) social media. By any commercial measure, that’s what I should have done. Polishing and sharing best honors my creative expression.
One has creative intention too, and each success makes one’s ground more fertile. Recently my editor Vivian Caethe, fresh off her first Kickstarter success, turned a Tumblr post into a new anthology on Kickstarter, which shows how quickly ideas can bloom.
I need to be there for my finished work. I also need new work to do.
These last two weeks I’ve been making myself make things up, just opening blank text screens and letting words fly. It’s not exactly automatic writing but it’s my least self-judgmental form of creativity. Nothing that will go further in this form. Nothing anyone’s waiting for yet. It can be stupid and playful. I even wrote the outline of a wordless ten-minute play, mostly on my smartphone, in a car.
Most of these ideas will go nowhere. A few return in funny ways. A jokey conceit I never developed for my blog became a Russian propaganda television serial in my NaNoWriMo manuscript. That manuscript was once a dream, hastily written down and played with for weeks thereafter. In another year it could be a book.
It’s important to make new things, especially if it feels unimportant. Something takes root if you keep seeding.

Books at AwesomeCon need flair

AwesomeCon‘s sales and promotional floor is so big that guides and maps never refer to it as a unit bound by walls, only to its subsections. All of it is dense with visual stimulus and novelty. Vendors sell comics, books, movies, posters, toys, models, clothing and accessories, even niche products like leather bondage wear or rings that serve as dice for gaming. Cosplay abounds, and well done.

awesomecon floor

Stand out here!


Still, you can find the printed word. A handsome cover is an attractor here. One printer sells new restyled editions of public-domain classics. Sellers have curiosities like high-end reprints or special editions of the most popular books of our day. And there are presses and solo creators.
I don’t have a lot of fine-grain insight. I saw signings, drawings, gimmicks aplenty. Whatever else, one has to look like one gives a damn and like others do too; like this is a privilege, a summit, not the end of a long and dreary line.
Soho Press has a well-dressed urbane young marketer standing between a simple logo backdrop and a skirted table of original novels. She cheerfully tells me that she’s here to support an author on a panel, but it’s a good chance to market other titles, including a new YA. She hints it was a new effort for them to come this far south.
The booth is in a side alley, without much natural crowd flow, but the display catches enough attention that she sells books while telling me about how releases get marketed. When I buy two books, she tells me one comes with a poster. She unrolls it. It’s far cartoonier than the novel’s bold graphic cover. I kindly decline.
“I’m not surprised,” she tells me. There’s a savvy in the remark that seems of a piece with the product line. A marketing meditation: how deep can brand and identity go?
Soon after, I walk past an independent writer on a busier alley. She has no backdrop, no table-skirt, just short stacks of books on naked fake-woodgrain tabletop. It looks like it’s being set up.
She calls out, seeing my glance. “Do you read books?” she asks plaintively, as if her greater hopes for connection have been dashed.
Little more to see on a closer look. She has printed glossy promotional bookmarks for each book, but no display. No description other than the cover text. It is not enough. I feel like I have to infer everything. She asks me tentative questions as if to find a hook that will attach her book to me.
Once it is clear I am less audience than sympathetic peer, we chat. She tells me of other venues where she sells books, of how a venue this size is still too much for her child. She is connected through fandom to a star of a vampire television show. Behind a bowl of candies, a framed page of small text describes donations to the star’s non-profit foundation.
I wonder how she got the idea to come to AwesomeCon. Perhaps she thought her show and star would connect her. Perhaps the size impressed her. It feels like a Hail Mary. It can’t be a cheap rental but she has failed in her research and come unprepared.
It is harsh to compare an individual to a small press, but they both took similar space in an enormous con. It does no good to be ignored by tens of thousands of people.