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Giving Your Book the Swiftie Treatment

I'm terrible with music. I rarely knows who sings what, the names of songs or the latest unlikely duets of two musical stars. I am not a Swiftie but, after attending college in the town where she was born and having several friends who are major Swifties, I know a few things.

I know I like the songs "Picture to Burn" and "Love Story". I watched her concert on TV and she changes outfits A LOT during the show. I lost count of how many changes. Some of the outfits are stunning. She's dating a football player. Some of her songs trash old boyfriends (watch your step, football player). But all that pales next to the most important thing about Taylor Swift: she has an insanely loyal and enthusiastic fan base. Cheers to you, Taylor.

This week I received a mailing from Longwood Gardens, an amazing garden I visit on a regular basis, with details about their summer events. One of their events is Festive Friday with each Friday having a different theme. Can you guess what the theme is for May 24?

That's right, "It's a Love Story" featuring the music of Taylor Swift. So here's the rundown:

  • Family Nature Strolls themed to tonight's theme

  • Organ Demos of Taylor Swift songs

  • Themed Concessions - This one has me perplexed and curious. How do you theme food to Taylor Swift? Swiftie Smoothies? Tortured Poet Pretzels? Evermore Salad?

  • Illuminated Fountain Performance called Shake It Off - not actual Taylor Swift, just her songs played with a coordinated fountain and light show.

I won't be going because it will be insanely crowded. But that's the whole point, isn't it? By jumping on the Swiftie bandwagon, it's likely that Longwood Gardens will attract hundreds (thousands?) of people that normally would not come for a visit. Chances are, Longwood Gardens will be turning people away.

From a marketing POV this is genius! An event they were already having, Festive Friday, suddenly became a must attend with just a few tweaks. And not just for their regular audience but for a whole new group.

So what does all this Taylor Swift mania have to do with being a writer? The key is the question Longwood Garden must have asked at some point: How do we appeal to a new audience? For them, the answer was Taylor Swift.

When marketing our books, maybe we should be stretching our imaginations. In addition to asking "Who is my audience?" we should be asking "Is there another ready made audience

that I can capture?"

A few months ago I stopped by a local tea shop to buy a gift for my tea loving, should have been born in England daughter. I ended up with tea and Steeped in Malice by Vicki Delaney. If it had been Murder in an Ice Cream Cone I never would have purchased it. If it had been in a bookstore, it would have been competing with dozens of other cozy mysteries. Maybe I would have chosen a cozy mystery themed to camping, hiking or gardening(other hobbies of hers). But it was the only book in the store, it was tea themed and it seemed like the perfect fit. I hope Vicki Delaney has contacted every tea shop she can find and floated the idea of them carrying her books, promoting a book giveaway on their social media or somehow reaching out to their ready made audience.

This is a fairly obvious example of latching onto an audience other than the "likes my genre" audience. But there are nuggets in so many books that can be promoted to help a new audience realize that your book might be a good fit for them. A character's hobby. A setting. A time period. A quirky character trait.

So what is the hook to connect your book to another audience? Is it something mentioned in your book that has an audience? A specialty shop or event where it could be sold?

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