How to Increase Your Book Sales: Product Partnering

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How to find fun ways to market books?

I love being an Indie author and having total control over marketing my stories, but I’m often at a loss as to how to find fun ways to share my books. Are you? Even if you published your book with a traditional publishing company aren’t you mostly responsible for marketing?

I was a business major in college, and one of my favorite classes was the entrepreneur class where we got to make up bogus companies and plan marketing campaigns. I had a blast looking for creative ideas. One of the things we studied was how film companies marketed products in movies, and in the process received sponsorship for their ads. I’d never noticed this before. What about you?

Showing brands in movies.

For instance, many times actors hold a Coke can, or a Budweiser beer during a scene. Other famous movies have a specific make and model of a car to generate interest. These aren’t random. They’re deliberate. There are blogs all about product placement in movies and brands. Here’s one about the most memorable product placements in 2013: BRANDS and FILMS.

It made me think about my books and how I could add a marketing element to them to help sell them and bring awareness to my mission. Why not? If it works for movies, wouldn’t it work for books?

One author’s successful idea.

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Melissa Foster, my mentor and contemporary romance author, created a character who is a jam maker and lives on Cape Cod. Melissa partnered with a jam maker on the Cape and developed a jam label with them. The jams are now being sold in stores, restaurants, and Amazon–Luscious Leanna’s Sweet Treats. Her book: Love in Bloom: The Remingtons, and the jam company, follow the character into the rest of the series: Seaside Dreams, Seaside Hearts, Seaside Sunsets, and Seaside Secrets (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers). Isn’t this brilliant? I haven’t read these books, but reviews are great and the exposure of her books is timeless. Both her brand and the jam company benefit. My guess is that she’s selling more books as a result.

My personal brand idea.

When I found out that geocachers have trackable swag they carry from one site to another I thought, why couldn’t I make my book, Cache a Predator, which is a geocaching mystery, a trackable? Do you know what a geocaching trackable is? It’s a tag number you attach to an item. Most trackables have a mission. You follow its mission at and the item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and you can follow its progress online.

Wait, do you know what geocaching is? Let me define it.  Here’s the definition from their website:  Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Since my novel was a geocaching mystery, I decided to ask FB friends at the site, “You know you’re a geoacher if…” if they would be interested in planting my book in geocaching sites in their states. Guess what? I received 650 responses. I never expected that! Out of those responses, I chose 50 people from varied states and provinces and mailed books to them. First, I purchased tracking codes to include  inside the book. And I gave them all a mission to help spread awareness of child abuse by carrying the book to ALL 50 states and Canadian provinces. Some books have traveled over 5000 miles. Others have been to six different states. (And the journey only began last month.) The best thing–sales have skyrocketed, and last week I sold close to 4000 ebooks.

What’s even better–the books are bringing awareness to how child abuse affects victims, families, and communities.

What’s your idea?

As you’re writing your next novel, think of a brand you can partner with to help you promote your book. Think of all the unlimited product possibilities. Make your character someone who works for Coca-Cola or a small duck farm in your city. Connect with that company, tour their facility, take an interest in what they do. Become the character you’re writing about. Help build the company brand and bring interest to your community. Meanwhile, spread the message your book wants to send. It’s a win-win for all parties.

If you have any ideas you’d like to bounce off of me leave a comment below. I am easily distracted by this fun approach!

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  1. wow, you are creative, Michelle! What awesome ideas–both yours and the jam products. Thanks for getting my brain ticking…

    • Hi Beth – I’m THRILLED that this sparked ideas for your work. Partnering with another company is such a win-win. It really helps with the marketing end of book-selling. I hope you and your family are doing well! Did you go to ACFW this year?

  2. I’ve got a new book coming out– WWII Legacies: Stories of NE IN Veterans. I’ll try to think of ways this could work. Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Michelle, you are amazing with your ideas and efforts! I am sure your example will inspire many writers to find ways to get the word out about their books! I wish I had time to do something like this. Wishing you much success! You could also promote Scattered Links, I’m thinking, by contacting large adoption agencies and seeing if they would like to give away your book as part of a package, especially agencies that deal with Russian adoptions.

    • Hi Suzanne! Wow, thanks for stopping by! I LOVE your suggestion. Why hadn’t I thought of that? You are so kind to leave that comment. THANKS! I’m going to have Danielle help me with that. (Thanks for recommending her too!)


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  2. […] can also collaborate with people, or as Michelle from Random Writing Rants calls it, “Product Partnering.” Her particular example was very innovative. She wrote a […]

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