Jim Rubart

Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel ROOMS will be published by B&H Fiction in April. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at]comcast.net

Wanna Trade?

I started my career as radio personality, then moved into doing the Billy Crystal–City Slickers thing and sold “air” for eight years before starting my ad agency in ’94. I helped a lot of businesses grow significantly using David Marconi’s invention, so I know the power of a well-done radio ad.

But can it work for authors? To reach a decent-size audience, you’ll pay anywhere from $50 to $250 for each spot. You need frequency (fifteen to twenty-eight ads per week) to get results. And your commercial will need to run for at least a few weeks. In other words, you’ll need an extra $2,500+ to make a radio campaign work. Which means at 80 cents a book, that campaign had better sell 3,125 books just to break even. Probably ain’t going to happen.

But last month I ran $6,000 worth of radio ads on Seattle radio station Spirit 105.3, www.spirit1053.com, and Spirit reaches 500,000 people a week, so odds are my campaign will cause a few people to check out ROOMS.

And I’m going to be part of their book club.

And they’re giving away a weekend getaway to Canon Beach, Oregon (where my novel is set), along with a copy of ROOMS.

And they’re doing on-air contesting/giveaways of my book.

And they’re running banner ads for ROOMS on their Web site.

And their morning show is going to interview me.

The cash cost? $0.00

The book cost? Thirty-two copies of ROOMS. The time cost? Twelve hours.

I went to the general sales manager of the Spirit 105.3 station and said, “In this economy you don’t have the money to spend on sales training and marketing consultation. I don’t have the money to advertise on your station. How ’bout we trade?” She loved the idea and our barter agreement was born.

Some of you have seen my business card. On the front is my contact info, my signature, and a picture of Canon Beach. On the back is a picture of my book cover. It looks good. I paid $0.00 for it. But I did write Web, on-hold, and sales one-sheet copy for my printer.

What’s your skill?

What can you barter? Are you a speaker? Businesses need to know how to speak more effectively. Do you have financial skills? Businesses can always use new ways to improve cash flow. Do you have skill with a camera? Businesses need good head shots for everything from their Web sites to annual reports. Are you involved in a restaurant or catering business? Businesses are constantly having events that need food.

Radio stations, newspapers, TV stations, magazines, Web site developers, Web site owners (who can promote your books), printers, Book Trailer producers, etc., all need the services noted above.

If you’re like me, time is tight. But money is even tighter. So get creative. Use those other talents. Barter is a tremendous way to heat up your marketing coins and make them extremely pliable.

Stretch on.