Friday, October 25, 2013

Character Marketing: yeah or nay?

When it comes to marketing your book, authors are always looking for the new and different that can set them, and their work, apart from the masses. Something I'm seeing more of is character marketing.

Have you seen these new commercials for Anchorman 2 and the Dodge Durango? The character Ron Burgundy (played by Will Ferrel) is the star of the show. What do you think? Is this effective marketing?

The recent YouTube hit "The Lizzie Bennett Diaries" utilized character marketing by having each major character set up a Twitter account. They commented on the weekly video and interacted with fans about what was going on.

In books, Julie Kagawa included a character interview between two of her main characters at the end of the third and final book of her Iron Fey series, The Iron Queen.

The question is, can this work for your novel?

Some of the recent trends in character marketing are:
  • Character Interviews
  • Twitter Accounts
  • Facebook Fan pages
  • Character hosted events
I've even heard of authors dressing up as their characters at conferences. Not too sure about that one.

I think the big question of if this type of marketing works, depends on your audience. Obviously this is more likely to be a hit with a beloved children's book character appearing at a school visit than with a classic adult literary character hosting a Twitter chat.

What do you think? Is character marketing cheesy or genius? Can it work for certain genres or ages? Have you seen it work? Have you seen it fail?

If you want to know more, here's a recent article about setting up character Twitter accounts. Also, in case you missed it yesterday, here's the link to a new, free Storytelling class that starts today.


  1. I am doing a series of before-the-plot-starts character interviews at prior to the release of my first book. Will be interesting to see if that has an effect - just a few comments so far but few more key characters left. Useful exercise prior to starting sequel as well.

  2. You must read The Iron Knight. That is the true final book in the Iron Fey series! And it's so so good. (I realize this is not what your post is about but I had to let you know).

  3. I think if you get a huge star to portray your character (like Will Ferrel), it's going to work. And some people are more fun-loving than others and like that sort of thing. But personally, I want to read the author's honest, heartfelt feelings about creating and working. I want to read writing tips. I want to hear about unusual hobbies, things they've learned about life, or stranger-than-fiction anecdotes. I want the info to be REAL. If I want fictional, I'll go read a book.

  4. I'm not a big fan of character interviews for blog tours and things like that. I just ... don't care what the characters have to say outside the book -- is that weird? I'd rather know more about the author. I don't get to learn much about her/him when I'm reading the book. I get to know the characters when I do that.


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