Growing Pains: Part VIII

We all know how bombarding the marketplace can be. Ads are constantly smacking us in the face every time we open a webpage or app on our phones, computers, iPads, Kindles, turn on the TV, drive down the road, attend an event, etc. etc. Some ads just hit us and go in one ear and out the other, but some ads really stick out (for better or worse), and those are the ones we remember. In a world where you have a few seconds to make an impression, you need to embrace being different and standing out, because the first impression may be the only one you get to make before you blend into the white noise of the everyday marketing buzz.

This week, I’d like to talk about how being different can help you grow your business as a self-published author. You want to be able to hook customers off of more than just a random purchase based on your book cover. Yes, do stand out and hook customers with a unique book cover, but don’t be a one-hit wonder. Being “different” (whatever that really means) is something that you need to aim for in the long term, on a bigger scale. You want your readers to feel like they are consuming a product that also makes them different via consumption. We all know those niche, cult-classics that those really “hip” and “in tune” readers flock to just so they can say they read it, and when they do people will nod and say “oh yeah, I’ve heard about that!”. The kind of books people read in busy coffee shops so that everyone knows they’re reading it. You want to be produce that book.

Think in terms of 80s and 90s Apple ads, where Apple stressed how different they were from other companies, and how using Apple products would make you different too. Was this marketing effective? Take a look at everyone in your immediate vicinity and see if they aren’t staring into an iPhone, iPad or MacBook and you tell me. Is it possible for books to have this same effect? Think Fight Club, Infinite Jest, V for Vendetta, On the Road. People want to say they’ve read these books and they want to tell you how these books transformed them when they read them in highschool, college, on a road trip, etc.

How do you become a book like that? Well, it’s not easy, to be perfectly honest. But those authors probably didn’t know they were writing a cult classic when they wrote it, they just wanted to try something different. If you have a creative instinct that doesn’t follow the normal plot line, character structure, story structure, format, etc. — follow it. It could give you that “different” edge that will set you apart from the slew of book titles that people are bombarded with at bookstores and on Amazon every day. Be the different you want to see in the marketplace…to distastefully appropriate a Ghandi quote.

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

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