This week Maureen Boon tells us about her latest attempts at that bane of an author’s life: marketing the book once it’s been published.
“Steve Male recently gave Chudleigh Writers’ Circle a thought-provoking presentation on Marketing and Sales. He set us a few exercises, one of which was Know your Market. As a writer of children’s books, my market seems limited. Prior to the lockdown, I was running workshops in schools and libraries which went down well but actually resulted in very few sales. It is not possible to sell books in either venue but I gave out bookmarks to the children to encourage an interest. I was also planning to visit the types of shops which holiday makers might visit, to ask them if they would consider marketing my books. Lockdown effectively stopped both types of initiatives.
One of the problems with being an Indie children’s writer is that the market is flooded by celebrities such as David Walliams and royals like the Duchess of Sussex! On the TV chat programmes all I seem to see are celebrities promoting their children’s books.
One Lockdown success was reading one of my stories, Bearly Believable on Radio Devon, but again this did not result in sales.
Steve encouraged us to think of other options we could try, such as social media. I enjoyed reading stories aloud and as part of the King Lear Arts Club sent a recording of Furry Bear by A. A. Milne which was published on their website with a link to YouTube. As this had scored over 140 hits, I thought recording my stories on YouTube might be a possibility, whilst advertising on social media.
I am sure for some readers that this would be a comparatively simple task but for me it was headachingly difficult and time consuming!
First, I had to create a YouTube account which was relatively easy and free. Next, I had to top and tail my recordings and finally add a picture and text. There are many online apps which promise you that you can do this easily at no cost! I did not find it simple but persevered and eventually cropped the recordings. The next job was to post a picture on top of the recordings and achieve a video format. This was much more difficult and the free versions all seem to put a watermark through your picture. Eventually, I found an app with a small watermark which didn’t show very much.
Finally, I got the first recording on YouTube. Next, I tried to publicise it! I have set up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts linked to my writer’s email. I found it relatively easy to post links on Facebook and Twitter but still have not solved how to post on Instagram.
My plan is to video some of my children’s short stories and post them on my YouTube page. I am not confident that this will result in any sales of my books but I do enjoy reading stories to children. I hope that when I eventually return to running workshops that children will be encouraged to look me up on YouTube.”