Thursday, February 13, 2014

This Little Piggy Went to Market

I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t written a blog since just after Insects in the Infield came out.  A good deal of it has been procrastinating; some of it has been spent doing edits for a new book; then there was the Christmas holidays...  But since it’s now past Valentines Day, that’s not going to work for an excuse. In my defense, a good share of time has been spent marketing--fattening the pig, so to speak.

I’m not sure if this makes me hungry or tired.  But like many writers, trying to break the marketing code is a constant, never-ending task. 

Many of the marketing "to dos" are standard.  A typical list would look a little like this:  Social Media blurbs, ordering or creating book marks or postcards, getting information to the local newspapers, line up book signings…

For my traditionally published books, I had help, but this self-published pig squealed for more. I needed to work harder for exposure and to get the word out.

A big question for me was who does reviews for independently published books? I spent one full day (at least) combing the internet for review sites.  There are plenty out there, but I was specifically interested in children’s book reviewers--a niche of its own.  Most reviewers I contacted required an email request.  Some of them asked for a synopsis, ISBN, cover photo, or other specific information, but it varied, so it took time to customize each email. 

Out of my "queries"  I received two positive responses.  One reviewer from Long and Short Reviews did a lovely post on the site with permission for me to clip and re-post.  Here’s the link:

This may not seem like a great result for hours spent on an internet search, but I was thrilled.  Not only was it a good review, but I mined a great line from the review:  “Insects in the Infield is Animal Planet meets ESPN.” A phrase I’ve repeated often and used as a pitch. It definitely fattened the pig.

Next I spent some time thinking about niche markets for my book.  Both baseball and nature came to mind. After an internet search for nature-related museums in Colorado, I phoned and/or sent emails to the gift shop managers.  Butterfly Pavilion in Denver-- --said they’d buy.  This was a small step for an insect, and a giant leap for a pig. Although the payment I will receive via this market is small, the opportunity to get the book in front of hundreds of museum visitors is priceless. 

Last but not least, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did a book launch at a local community center.  The fun this event provided far out-weighed the angst of organizing and setting it up.  It was wonderful to see friends and community members, share cake, punch and conversations.  AND it served as a healthy reminder that while reaching out for reviews, markets, and exposure in the world at large, the love and support from those close to home cannot be replaced or appreciated more.  

I'm sure I haven't exhausted all the marketing possibilities that exist, but I'm not the pig that "had none" and so far I haven't started crying.