Marketing 101



Mountain Bookshop, Sonora CA, where I made my first organic sales, this time around



*Just found the following in a file. I thought I had posted it on my blog for June Wrong. Just goes to show how side-tracked marketing can take you. *



Tough, is not the best word for describing indie-publishing marketing. Good thing I love a challenge. But I never dreamed of such a challenge as this. Let me back up.

In January 2022, I discovered indie publishing. I hadn’t written in years, but I wanted to get back. Everything about indie called to me. So, typical me, I grabbed my nose and dove in. It has now been eight months since my first picture book was published. We are in June 2023. I have ten pretty darn good books published and illustrated just the way I envisioned and there are five more edited, illustrated, and ready to go. Everything is done pretty much the way ‘they’ say it should be. Are these books selling? No. Why? Herein lies the problem. If you don’t do it right from the beginning, you may as well be throwing water into the ocean. Can anyone see that a cup or two of water has been added? Probably not, unless you do something to make your waterdrops stand out from the rest. Welcome to the world of self-publishing, a zillion new books going up every day. Where will your books land? In my excitement and hurry, I did everything backward…or so ‘they’ say.

Am I sorry? Some days. And social media doesn’t help when you read posts about other ‘fools’ as dumb as you. Maybe not quite as dumb. They usually only have a book. Or two. But I have since learned there are many ways to go about getting noticed.  And like everything else in my life, I’ve decided I have to look for what works for me. My biggest mistake, as I see it, is not putting up my website before everything else. No website means no ‘home’ where you can invite people for a visit.

I finally introduced a website I can feel proud of in April. I’m writing a blog about my journey and actually being fairly regular about posting. My plan is to try everything suggested in marketing that appeals to my senses even a little, then write honestly about how I see (or saw) it working for me. I am now taking three marketing courses and will write about how they did, or didn’t, benefit me.  In the meantime, I will continue publishing my books because I love it and because I can do it. Many say if your books don’t get off to a great start you may as well kiss them off. Maybe I’m paraphrasing a bit here. But as I see it, I have neither the time nor the energy to spend book by book. This is the exact reason I didn’t try to get back into traditional publishing where I had published in the 90s. I no longer have the benefit of those many years stretching far out ahead. But what I do have are some good books and a drive to get them noticed by at least a few.

Here is what gives me hope. My online bookstore goes live today ( I’m working hard to build a mailing list. I now believe a mailing list may be one of the most important tools you can have. I’m offering giveaway coloring pages . An adult has to subscribe to my website, but their child gets the free coloring pages. Hope it works. Haven’t quite figured out this part yet. I’m also going to try coloring pages at family restaurants with all my contact information on them. (That idea I got from FB) I’ve started taking my books to bookshops in the area. And they are buying. Fingers crossed that some sell.  Here’s the sad part, one of the owners I met with said, “These are pretty good for independent.” Another hurdle.

My daughter keeps reminding me that last fall when my first book came out, I said I was going to give myself two to three years to make good. It’s been eight months and I’m already chomping at the bit. I find it very difficult to remember that some of those who seem to be doing everything I hope to do have been at it for years. I also forget that picture books are one of the toughest, and most expensive, books to produce. But what can I do? They are my passion.

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