Marketing is not something I have given much thought to before now. I published both my books without a marketing plan. I announced their publication on social media and that was about it. They weren't even on my website until a few months later and only because I was told to do that in the nicest possible way.
I had a newsletter which I gave up on before I published so I didn't even have that.
So what changed? Well just like with my website, my newsletter, my personal Facebook, my Facebook author page, my Instagram account, even my Twitter it was because of someone else. I love it when I do it, the thought just never occurs to me without someone suggesting it and I am usually resistant to begin with.
A few weeks ago Cheryl Burman had the idea of setting up the Indie Stars Bookshop on her website. I figured I had nothing to lose by joining in. So I am one of the #IndieBookStars and proud of it.
Of course the Indie Stars Bookshop had to be promoted. In the beginning I felt I didn't have the skills to do anything more than use other people's images and videos and add some words from me to Lily it up as I call it.
After a little while I realised that maybe I could do my own images and videos. I played with Bookbrush using images from a friend and adding text and or book covers and produced some okish photo ads.
Videos were another matter. My first attempts amused me but were nowhere near good enough to share on social media. Then I remembered accidentally making a video on my pc some time ago using my photo app. That's another thing about me I accidentally do things and they tend to end up somewhere unexpected. Once I got the hang of the video thing I think I did ok. I posted the second attempts but I have improved since then.
As poets Karen Honnor and I are delighted to have our own shelf in the Indie Stars Bookshop. I made a little video to celebrate that.
What have I learned?
Videos do well on social media as long as they are not too long. A catchy tune helps and clear visuals.
Marketing is like pitching in pitch parties. You need retweets; your own as well as other people's.
On Twitter things move so fast if someone doesn't see your tweet it can be very hard to find buried under Retweets, comments and whatever else you have tweeted since. Also there is a limit to how far back you can go so it may never be found again!
On Facebook you can scroll back (not sure how far) and it does come round again in memories on it's anniversary - sometimes you might wish it didn't. You can reshare stuff but unless that's in stories it doesn't really work unless there has been a long time in between shares.
On Instagram you can find it but sharing isn't as simple. You can add it to stories and that might get attention. Apparently reels are the way to go, not that I have explored that yet.
TikTok seems to be THE platform of the moment and yes I am hearing suggestions I try it.
Hashtags help with exposure. That is one of the things I will be discussing in this month's newsletter so that might be worth a look. Sign up is below and you also get an email when I post on my blog so you are always up to date right there in your inbox no searching required.
I felt that I had to be authorish if I was going to market - spend a lot of money on ads, do live readings, frequent fairs, be interviewed by all sorts of people on video, approach bookshops, newspapers etc. Some of this stuff scares me (I am getting braver with the encouragement of some lovely people) and some seem to be out of reach for a poet. Don't real authors write novels or at least novellas? In a previous life I did get events announced on TV, radio and in the local paper but this is another ball game and it needs a different approach.
There is a fine line between marketing and spamming and maybe I have crossed it. I see the feeds full of book covers and not much else and that is not me. I am working on finding out what works for me so I can put together a marketing plan that gives people something and still says this is my book, newsletter and blog and here are your links to access them.
This is my Amazon author page if you are interested in my books https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B08BKWYJC1 - I just couldn't help myself given the content of this post.
One last video for the road so to speak.
All the videos in this post were made by me and are some of my most recent attempts.
One last thing before I go - I mentioned some lovely people up there somewhere, I need to shout out some of them. The poetry image is by Rue Sparks, The Indie Stars Bookshop images are by Dreena Collins, My book covers - My Father's Daughter photo by Keith Roper, A Taste of What's to Come photo by Stuart Honnor both designed by Rue Sparks.
I am very lucky to have people in my life to encourage me, support me and help me out when I need it. My tribe, in their various locations around the world, individually and collectively keep me going. They are not all connected to each other. In some cases the only thing they have in common is that they accept me for who I am and that brings me more joy than making videos ever will, no matter how much fun I have doing that.