Feature Article by Shannon Aviles

- by Dara Girard

Shannon Aviles and her group from More Than Publicity and MTP Productions, works with Authors and Publishing Houses promoting and marketing books and author brands. www.morethanpublicity.com

A VIEW FROM OUTSIDE THE BOX

One might ask: What does “Outside The Box” mean?  Simply put, it means “Creative Thinking Beyond the Norm.” This is something romance authors do every day when writing their incredibly rich, unique and entertaining stories for every one of us to enjoy.  Some may find this process easy and natural; others gifted with the ability to put imagination onto paper may experience extreme frustration, uncertainty and then joy when the Muse finally “kicks in!”

Professionals in my industry find “Outside The Box” a primary state of mind and a survival necessity in the world of competitive markets. My name is Shannon Aviles and I am a Brand Marketing and Multi-Media Specialist working in romance. I’ve spent the past 30 years working in all lines of entertainment: feature film, television, theatre, music, travel & leisure, entertainment parks and now in literary – in the US and in Europe – for giants of the entertainment world.

It’s easy to see that I love my career choices – they have fed my own creative muse for the world of all things entertainment. While many do not consider literary fiction a form of entertainment, I consider it one of history’s oldest and highest regarded. Indeed, it is a mistake not to think of it as such in today’s growing markets, because it has influenced and changed the world throughout history and directly impacts how we live in our various sub-worlds today!

There can be no doubt that the existence of authors and the brilliant influence of their written words have indeed shaped our present-day lifestyles and mindsets. When we consider just two of our classic literary forefathers – Jules Verne and H. G. Wells – we can easily see that Outside The Box thinking has long been in play. What once was considered outlandish fantasy is now considered an essential part of our lives.

In today’s markets, you can see this trend continuing with screenwriters for television or feature films. As depicted in the world-building storylines of Castle, Star Trek, Caprica and Avatar – soon, you will be reading books not on eReaders, but on flat pieces of tape or paper-thin screens made of revolutionary new materials. These products are already being tested and used by a variety of industries and will ultimately reach consumer markets as well.  However, some believe the technology once inspired by the literary world is actually contributing to its demise. Is this irony, fantasy or truth? Or is it merely a time for “Outside The Box” strategies to come into play again and reach out to a new world of techno consumers who relate to the world around them in new and exciting ways?

In 21st Century mixed media marketing, the phrase “communication is the key” is an understatement. From High-Tech to High-Def, Broadcast to Broadband, iPod to iPad, Satellite TV to Sat-Phone and World-Wide-Everything, technology is now a way of life. The latest and greatest gadgets, software and portals are no longer created solely for our entertainment; we use them daily – often hourly – to socialize, to collaborate, to find and share information, to work, to eat, to shop, to watch, to listen, to see, to speak, to discover the world, to read books – eBooks – to own an entire library of books, from classics to contemporary in one portable electronic device!

Today, the availability and affordability of these new technologies creates the demand – and the options available to meet that demand – even more vast and overwhelming. When it comes to Marketing in this sea of rapidly advancing technology, how does one rise to the top?

There is a whole world out there populated with consumers seeking new and better avenues for their entertainment. We can no longer assume all these people are seeking their resources in the same way – just as we cannot assume that everyone chooses to read the same way or find their reading material in the same way. The world is clearly changing faster than most can comprehend. Studies show that all these high-end technologies sell… and sell HUGE! Someone out there is using them; the question then becomes “How do I grab their attention? How do I compete?”

This is where thinking Outside The Box becomes the most valuable tool you can possess and/or hire to gain that elusive edge!

Products, technologies and options may be vast – but as writers and readers, we all know it’s true: ideas are infinite. However, a great idea isn’t enough. Often, when an idea leads to profitable results, it’s easy to get comfortable, to depend on “what works” rather than using it as a springboard into so much more… that could work so much better. Soon, the very thing that once made a company, an individual, a series or a product successful can quickly become obsolete – all because the idea had been “closed off,” literally stuffed into a box.

Outside The Box Thinking is not just for new ideas; it’s also about finding new ways to express an “old” idea – one that is still valuable, but may be losing its shine. It is a uniquely imaginative creative process that keeps a product or a medium – an idea – constantly relevant, in motion and alive, adaptable and at the forefront of a rapidly changing environment.

This makes Outside The Box thinkers the movers and shakers… and sometimes the troublemakers! We are the creative minds that transform rather than conform; we challenge old movements and pioneer the new. At heart, Outside The Box Thinking is the past, present and future of ideas: study yesterday to learn, observe today to stay relevant, and open up to tomorrow – to become the future.

Mankind has proven many things, but in my opinion one of the most important revelations is this: “If we can imagine it, write it down and publish it – we can live it!”  There is no question that there will always be authors. But how do you, as an author and creator of ideas, desire to live your future in this world of high-paced multimedia technology? Marketers feel that it is the consumer and their buying power that ultimately shapes the direction of technological progress.

I’d love to hear from both Authors and Readers alike – the power belongs to you and me as consumers to shape our future reading experiences! In future blogs, I will explore our “Marketing Outside The Box” ideologies on how to: write it, sell it, purchase it, read it, market and promote it!

Click here for a sneak peak at a new Interactive, Multi-Media, Integrated Marketing and Promotional tool that goes everywhere online and soon will fly off the web and land onto hand-held technologies everywhere – big words to simply say, “It Will Go Where No Website Has Ever Gone Before!”  Imagine that: a moving and flying mini-website?  Enjoy!

Do you think that the world of published printed books will become a VINTAGE high cost product – or evolve into a whole new form?

As an author, are you rethinking the ways you promote your books in light of new multimedia opportunities? And if so, what “Outside The Box” methodologies do you think will work best for you?

Shannon will be available today to respond to questions/comments.

4 comments

  1. Shannon,

    Thanks for a fascinating perspective. New technologies are emerging fast and with them comes new challenges and new opportunites for reaching readers. I’ve been very interested to see the shift some literary agents are making into publishing, with direct-to-ebook deals with Amazon, and others. What do you think this is going to mean for the average author? Clearly, I think they’ll need to be more in charge of their own promotion, but what changes should authors (and those who promote them) be making right now to be ready for the new marketplace?

  2. Authors are standing on the premise of a new and evolving publishing world. Book trailers are becoming more sophisticated and popular. People are busy, running here and there, tethered to their mobile devices. The need for quick-hitting, attention-getting promotion is becoming crucial for authors, both established and new. The question is: Are authors prepared for the expense of advertising or for learning the technological ins and outs of producing their own advertising? Word of mouth is still the most successful form of advertising, and I believe always will be. But, we do need to think outside the box to produce that edge which draws readers, who then become our word of mouth marketers.
    I believe print books will always be around, and for that I’m grateful. I can’t imagine sitting on my child’s bed and reading them a story from a hand-held electronic device. We learn our love of books at an early age and it is cultivated through the years.

  3. We are living in exciting times. It’s getting difficult to keep abreast of the newest and best things to do. Also, unfortunately, right at this time the economy has taken a downturn. I guess the trick is to hook those who’ll go for anything new, like Apple does with their Iphone and Ipad.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel

  4. Hello Cissy – sorry for the delayed response – unfortunate early afternoon family emergency has kept me away!

    Your question is interesting on many levels – first and foremost: Authors should be positioning themselves to sell their own books via ebook format, even if it’s just their backlist.

    This of course, means that they must own the rights to these books. This leads into the second layer of this question: Mad dashes are happening every day to grab those rights – either by Agents/Agencies, Publishing Houses, Authors and/or ePub’s springing up everywhere – and more will be coming….

    Last but not least: Every Author will be forced to learn and do more self-marketing than they ever wanted to be involved in. Note: I said “Marketing” not “Publicity, Promotions, etc…” Marketing is tied to SALES – and sales as always, is the marker of success!

    Best solution to this future is to quickly find and align themselves with Marketing Firms/Individuals with “real” BRAND MARKETING experience from Corporate backgrounds from the onset.

    Earlier better than later – is key to the future!