Many writers have been reaching out to readers through social media for several years now. We hold Facebook parties, we use trending hashtags on Twitter and we upload photos to catch the eye of our demographic on Instagram.
All of these efforts are designed to build relationships with our readers. In today's world, we're used to being able to surf the web and find out stuff. When our readers do a search on us, we want them to discover a writer with whom they can connect.
I know I feel the same way when I click over to the Fans of Sam Heughan Facebook page. It's heavenly to watch this Scottish actor on Outlander -- but it's really fun to see photos of his treks up the mountains, or catch a glimpse of the kind of breakfasts that give the Highland hunk his washboard abs.
That's where the new media relationships are changing. We'd all like to imagine that the man who plays Jamie Fraser is naturally blessed with the physical shape we all admire -- but what does he share with us? Long, uphill hikes to stay in shape, and the protein-rich meals topped off with veggies and fruit to fuel them.
Part of us may not like the reminder that he didn't magically appear fully formed as Jamie Fraser. Yet, most viewers these days find it easier to relate to a 'hunk' who wouldn't stay that way very long if he was showing us a plate of pancakes dripping with syrup instead.
It takes work to be Jamie Fraser, and that makes the fans feel more 'in the know' -- and therefore closer to the show.
So what is the World Ballet Day thing, and how does that relate to marketing for writers?
This event represents a huge cultural shift in the relationship between the dancers and their audience.
Everything about dance is presenting an illusion -- the fantasy that a woman is lighter than air, so light that she's literally dancing on her toes. The illusion that it's really the emotion of a character that sends her floating into the air, and not the strength and timing of her dance partner. The dreamy idea that the character of Giselle hovers in midair like the spirit she is because of an intensely delicate dancer, rather than the rock-solid body strength required by the dancer to 'float' by the power of her own jumps.
With an event like World Ballet Day, audiences are invited inside company class and rehearsal, where we can see for ourselves the exacting, exhausting work required to prepare the performances in which we love to lose ourselves. As well, company representatives answered tweets explaining everything from where to get the exercise gear a dancer wears, to specifics on how the rehearsal was run.
The premiere dance companies of the world are reaching out to shatter the walls that once separated them from their audiences, recognizing that engaged ballet lovers are more likely to buy subscriptions to the upcoming season.
As writers, we can watch and learn from events like World Ballet Day.
What do our readers wonder about our process? About our research? About our characters? Settings?
Is there a similar event -- smaller in scope, of course -- that you or a group of similar authors could set up on Facebook or Twitter?
Marketing ideas are always out there. It's a good idea not to limit yourself to the ones you've already seen when you're coming up with new events for the year.