elfhunterI can’t say I ever expected I’d run into independent publishing marketing in the wild, but there I was this afternoon, coming down from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument viewing tower in Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis when I noticed a colorfully-vinyl-wrapped van pull onto the circle and drive around a few times. It had a logo on it saying “Elfhunter.”

I had my cell phone on me, so I snapped some pictures, and I posted one with a tweet saying as how if I were hunting elves, I probably wouldn’t let them know I was coming like that.  But when I got home I took a closer look, noticed it said “C.S. Marks” above “Elfhunter,” and did a quick Google, and there she was: C.S. Marks, author and illustrator, writer of the Alterra series, published at Parthian Press.

So there you have it. Advertising your books on vinyl car wraps works! At least, it worked on me. It made me curious enough to hunt up the writer’s web site, and poke around some once I got there. It looks like an interesting fantasy series. Perhaps if I had more reading time, I’d get into it. Maybe I will get into it yet? Who knows. But even if I don’t buy the book, it’s also succeeded in getting her a little more exposure through me both tweeting a picture of the car and blogging about her site here, so mission accomplished. Clever idea, and certainly less annoying than having an ad pop up in front of a random website for it.

The even funnier thing is, a quick check of my records reveals that C.S. Marks was one of the independent authors whom I interviewed at last year’s GenCon, and whose interview I haven’t gotten around to transcribing yet. (I’m a terrible procrastinator.) Well, I think I know which one I’m going to do next.

Update: And it seems to be working better than even I had expected, because this post has been reblogged (in French) by French book news site Actualitté. and it’s on The Passive Voice, too. All that because I happened to spot and snap a photo of a car as it drove by me one day.

Of course, to a certain extent it works so well because it’s unusual. If everyone was doing it, we might just be overwhelmed with all these brightly-colored book cars, and every parking lot would look like a bookstore! (Though I have a hard time imagining that being a bad thing.)


  1. Hi, Chris M.:

    Yep–you spotted the Elfmobile. I’ve been driving one for over six years now. It’s one of the most fun “marketing methods” I’ve ever come up with, and it does attract attention. I just enjoy having art all over my car, anyway. Of course, I have to be very careful to observe all applicable traffic laws and on-the-road courtesies.

    I hand out a lot of postcards at drive-up windows…

    –Chris M. 😉

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