These days you have to do something different in order to stand out in the marketplace. In his email newsletter Jonathan Fields featured an interview with an author who did something innovative, Cynthia Morris.
A novelist who is also an artist, Morris created a limited edition of her novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach, that would be accompanied by a piece of art. She calls it a Novel Shrine. It's a pleated four-panel card illustrated, with a question that unfolds along the panels. The drawings relate to the setting of the novel (Paris) and the characters. She put them into a library card pocket attached to the back cover.
No, we shouldn't make shrines--that's her thing--but it behooves us to pay attention to her strategy:
When planning the launch, I looked at what other people were doing to help distinguish their books in the marketplace. There are the standard free chapters, giveaways and webinars. I had to do something that was both creative and an expression of my unique talents.I think that's the real challenge for authors - to know the current best practices and to go beyond that in ways only you can.
You may not be an artist, but I'm sure you have some skill you can combine with your writing--or that you can come up with a way to have someone else produce whatever you need.
It's too late to buy the limited edition of Chasing Sylvia Beach but you can find out more about it at ChasingSylviaBeach.com. You can see pictures of her Shrines and find our more about Jonathan Fields here.