What the Fringe can teach indie authors about marketing

Fringe FlyersI spent a few days at the Edinburgh Fringe, a few days after I spent time at the World Science Fiction Convention, LONCON3. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Fringe; one of the immediate impressions you form is how intent the various shows are to drum up business. You can’t walk 200 yards (metres are also available) down The Royal Mile without having many dozens of flyers pressed upon you (pictured).

What’s the connection to LONCON3 and marketing?

Promoting your book

As I wrote in The seven postcard elements you should use there is an important need that postcards can fill for anyone who self-publishes or even in the widest sense for any published writer. What struck me in Edinburgh was the fact the the fringe is a microcosm and has many similarities to the environment a modern Indie Author finds themselves in. There are key differences such as the fringe being a finite experience but the analogies are worth pursuing.

The point of Fringe flyers is to attract attention and help close a sale by convincing the people on the city streets to go to their show (which may be free, a similarity to free kindle promotions beloved of many of us self-published writers). As the fringe progresses the flyers get adorned with little bits of paper – these are the reviews of the show. There are many reviewers, many shows and it is all about grabbing attention.

There are flyers that sell the individual – sometimes famous, sometimes not. There are an enormous range and they all crave attention.

Back to my science fiction example. At LONCON3 there were noticeboards and some freebie areas. The Fringe audience is part of  system – they expect flyers and shows expect to provide them. At LONCON3 there are some postcards used to promote books or authors but as many for events such as future conventions. As self-publishing progresses I expect this to grow and I for one will be getting some cards printed to both promote myself and a couple of titles I am working on or have already published. I just need to find some volunteers to hand them out!

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