Summer Promotion for Disappearing in Plain Sight

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Soon after Disappearing in Plain Sight was published, I decided that I wanted to pay for one quality ad. I chose BC Book World. Founded in 1987, this magazine has over 900 distribution outlets. The quarterly magazine can be found in bookstores, libraries, schools, and is given away free of charge on the BC Ferries. It reaches 100,000 readers per issue. BC Bookworld is Canada’s largest circulation independent publication about books.

The magazine recently opened up what they call  Quickie Ads – A Community Bulletin Board for Independents. These ads are small but priced right for independents. The ad designers are awesome. I gave them the info and they went to work to create a beautiful ad for me.

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On my recent trip over to Vancouver on a BC Ferry, I picked up a free copy of BC Bookworld and flipped to the last page. There larger than life was my ad. The experience was totally thrilling. It made me feel like I had arrived as a BC author.

Post Publication–One Month and Counting

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Disappearing in Plain Sight has been romping free in the world for a month. Taking in that bit of excitement is an ongoing process. My publishing agreement with Friesen Press means I access sales information through my author account with them. The reports for outside venues are slow to arrive – 2nd week of the month for sales in the previous month for most places and closer to the end of the month before I get any information on Amazon Kindle sales. It is a waiting game on that front.

I try to satisfy my curiosity by constantly checking my Amazon ranking, which is so silly I cannot even imagine why I’m broadcasting the news. The numbers are meaningless from a statistical point of view. No one seems to have any idea how Amazon calculates rankings. Ah well, I am as guilty as anyone of clinging to straws in the absence of actual data.

The month has not been totally taken up with nail-biting ranking checks. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time building my social media platform, researching and learning about the marketing /promotion options that will work for me, and writing. I’ve logged about 10,000 words on The Light Never Lies.

Promotion and Marketing Update

Three of the things I decided to pay for:

  • One advertisement – I chose BC Bookworld – this publication is distributed free of charge to multiple venues in the province and has a large circulation – if you have ever ridden a BC Ferry you may have picked up a copy from the ship’s gift shop.
  • Join one professional organization. I chose the Alliance of Independent Authors. The annual membership paid for itself in knowledge and contacts almost immediately. Access to discussions on the members’ only Facebook page is priceless.
  • Enter one contest. After quite a bit of internet research, I chose the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award. An expensive gamble after entry fee, providing them with a copy of a real book, and mailing it to the US – but it was something I wanted to do.

That dreaded word – budget

I’m working from a limited marketing/promotion budget. We spent a good deal of it on the above items and purchasing books for local sales,which, by the way, are going exceptionally well. Bruce has turned out to be an enthusiastic promoter and salesman. I’m planning to attend a few local events where book selling will be my goal. I’ve got a couple of launch events in the works. I’m also working to have the book made available on a consignment basis through two local book stores.

Making community work for me

Vancouver Island loves its local artists, and I want to tap into that love. I’m working on a couple of different press releases – one for local papers and one for venues where my name would not be familiar, always emphasizing that I am a long-time Vancouver Island resident. Every little bit helps. I’ve recently put up posters on community bulletin boards and hope to get a few into the staff rooms and lunch areas at various places.

Using my academic connections to my advantage

I believe Disappearing in Plain Sight will have an appeal to mental health care workers (counselling themes, counsellor as a main character, youth who struggle with real-life issues). I have provided some key people with a copy of the book. I am hoping this can create buzz in what is often a tight-knit community and perhaps lead to an endorsement of the book for this group.

Social media

I’ve been promoting my Facebook author page. Feel free to click and check it out. I’m taking the advice of many who say that the author page had better be about more than me promoting my book in update after update. I put up links to my blog posts, intriguing quotes and pictures.

Book reviews

I’ve been quite fortunate on this front. In the first month that Disappearing in Plain Sight has been out, it has garnered six 5-star reviews on Amazon. A few of these reviews also appear on Goodreads, which in turn allows its reviews to be picked up by the Kobo Store. Huge thanks go out to all of these people for taking the time to read and review!

Best Advice to Date

I asked a question on the Alliance of Independent Authors Facebook page about how one goes about getting early reviews. I had read that the first days out on Amazon were crucial. A few experienced self-published authors were kind enough to respond at length. One spoke of how self-publishing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Building a loyal fan base is the goal. Focus on writing and producing a good sequel novel and the rest will fall into place.

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The journey continues . . . .

If you are a newly self-published author – any tips you would like to share are more than welcome. If you are considering or working toward self-publishing, is any of this helpful? Please let me know what you think.