Joys and challenges lace the independent publishing landscape.
The joys come from seeing your work spring to fruition. No matter how imperfect it may be to others, to you it is the most incredible thing ever created, at least initially.
The biggest challenge for me centers around reaching my target audience—primarily girls between the ages 12-18. In an online article by Kimberley Grabas, “71 ways to Promote and Market Your Book,” Grabas influenced me to start thinking outside the proverbial box, “Identify your audience,” she writes. “Find out who your book appeals to, get to know those people well, and be where they are, both online and off.
I considered this aspect of promoting my work carefully and decided to make myself and my novel available online through my blog, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. But since I’m much older than my audience, I quickly discarded any notion of trying to be “Cool” in my approach. My books must stand on their own. I write them with as much sincerity and authenticity as I can muster. I have to maintain that same authenticity about who I am as the writer.
I decided to start this aspect of my marketing plan by taking my novel This Side of Forever, a cautionary tale about alcohol addiction, to my local library. Our wonderful librarian, Jillian Firth, sent it to a great community organization called Drug Free Divide. They agreed to use my book as part of October’s National Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign. Things unfolded from there.
Here’s the resulting promotional calendar.
- Saturday, October 19 – An Afternoon with Parents
Georgetown Public Library. 4:00 p.m. Pacific. I will be reading from and discussing my novel and suggesting ways parents can use the book to encourage open dialogue about alcohol abuse with their teens. The event will be video taped and placed on YouTube
KFOK FM 95.1, Georgetown 8:00 p.m. Seventh grader Goldie Morris will have me on her weekly program, Fusion, to discuss my novel and how it pertains to Red Ribbon Week.
- Wednesday, October 23 – Middle School and High School Presentations
I will be visiting middle school and high school classes in the Black Oak Mine School District to share readings from my book and to discuss the subject of teen drinking with students.
- November / December Creative Writing Workshops
As a result of my visits with the schools, I will be teaching creative writing classes at the local libraryto interested students. I will feature student writers’ work on this blog.
I hope this encourages others of you who are scratching your heads, looking for ways to reach your target audience, to consider unusual ideas and events as part of your overall marketing plan.
Love to hear your unique marketing ideas.