For starters, thank you to all of you who visited as part of the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, and especially for your comments! I was out of town visiting my Dad the week of the festival and, luddite that I am, I’m incapable of responding to comments (or typing of pretty much any kind) on my phone. And then, slacker that I am, I’ve been lax in getting back to all of you once I returned home. Your comments meant so much to me, though, so please know that I read and relished every one!
Now to what you’re actually here for: the next post in the Crafting a Book series. In the last installment, I finally got to share with you the cover of my book. Since then, I’ve seen the designed pages of the book (they are beautiful! Many thanks to my design team!), and sent in my final corrections before the book goes to the printer! This month, I’m excited to be able to share a few more images of the book quilts!
This is not by chance, but rather because we’re well into the “marketing” period for my book. (Did you know that C&T Publishing posts images from all of their forthcoming books on their Flickr page? I’ve been having so much fun looking at everyone else’s projects!) I was lucky enough to attend a webinar by C & T’s director of marketing, Megan Scott, last week. As she pointed out, craft book authors are responsible for a lot of the marketing and publicity for their books. Which is not to say that the publishers aren’t right there behind them (in particular, when it comes to advertising and representing their work to third party buyers, such as book stores), but rather to stress that it is the author’s authentic, personal, efforts that seem to drive sales of books like this on the personal level of the individual consumer. So our work as authors certainly isn’t over when we send in the final package of quilts and instructions (as if you thought that was the case, reading through this series).
To be honest, publicity has been one of the things I’ve been most excited to participate in for this book, as well as one of the things I’ve been most nervous about. I’m impatient and eager to share, and so any activity where I get to talk about parts of the book has been a boon to me. This is exactly the type of posting that we authors were encouraged to do during the marketing webinar that Megan hosted.
And when I say posting, I mean POSTING. Social media and online promotion of every type were covered in the webinar, and we authors are encouraged to do all of it. I was especially interested to hear the breakdown of influencing sites: apparently, among quilters, Facebook is king, followed by Instagram and Pinterest, and then by Twitter and individual blogs. As someone whose been trying to build my blog following over the last year, this was a kick in the pants to get more active on Facebook and Instagram, as well as to finally figure out how I want to use Pinterest.
I was equally interested in how the feedback of readers will influence how well my book will sell. I always knew that reviews on Amazon were important to me for making decisions on which books to purchase, but I hadn’t been aware that the number of reviews a particular book has determines where it shows up in searches for that title. I know this makes me tremendously more inclined to leave reviews for the books that I enjoy. (And, if you’re ever inclined, please leave a review for my book when it comes out–now you know why authors ask for that!) The same goes for online mentions of a book in general–the more often it gets mentioned and linked to, the higher up in the Google search results a book appears. This is one reason why online blog hops and other promotional events are so popular.
And thus we come to blog hops. They’ve been the subject of a lot of attention in the blogging universe lately, especially due to Diane’s recent well-reasoned and well-written post on Craftypod.com. I can totally understand the frustration with taking the time and trouble to write a post that may seem cookie cutter, uniformly positive, and gives your audience the impression that they can enter a giveaway (even if that’s not actually part of your post). However, I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective on the blog hop, which requires me to admit that I seldom follow a book through every stop on its blog tour. (Let’s face it, if I’m that interested in a book, I’m probably was going to buy it regardless of the blog hop.) But I do see discovery of new books as a real strength of blog hops. Many times, I’ve been introduced to new books and products that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise when a blogger that I follow has hosted a stop on a blog tour. So that’s where I see the blog hop coming into play–not in the assumption that it will cause readers to visit every blog on the circuit, but rather in the assumption that each blog will bring a different group of readers to the book.
(And yes, this does involve admitting that blog writers are doing a favor for the book author; they may experience a boost in readership during the hop, but beyond that, asking someone to write a post for a blog hop strikes me as equivalent to asking someone to write an online review–it’s not necessarily possible to pay for that time and effort monetarily, but the gratitude is infinite. And I totally understand that it is not possible for everyone to work for gratitude rather than money–I would love to be able to better compensate the time and energy that people put into generating this type of content. But I also enjoy the impartiality that comes from a non-sponsored post, which to me seems to even things out a bit. To be honest, this is a bit of a thorny issue for me, and I’d love to hear your own thoughts in the comments!)
That said, the blog hop is no longer the be all and end all of online book marketing, and Megan encouraged us to be creative in our developing our online marketing strategies. One of the things that I’m planning on doing is writing a post on each quilt in my book and giving away a scrap bag of fabrics that I used in the making of that quilt. I’m also busy brainstorming additional ideas for organizing the book’s online publicity, and I’d *love* to hear ideas from you about what types of content you’d like to see from me and my collaborators! (Hint–please leave me a comment!)
Although this post is already pretty long, we covered a lot more in the webinar than I can even touch on here. If you’re interested in learning more about the process of publicizing a book, let me know–I’d be happy to answer your individual questions or even write a follow-up post.
In the meantime, I hope this info was interesting and helpful in expanding your understanding of how new books are marketed! Thank you so much for reading, and have a fantastic weekend!
I’m too small of a blogger to do book tours, but I did read elsewhere a criticism of them that I wanted to share. The author usually asks people to be on their blog tour, so they don’t want to hurt his or her feelings. Plus blog tour participants know the whole point is to promote the book. These factors mean the blog tour participant doesn’t give an honest review. It’s always glowing. So I have come to not really trust any reviews that come out of a blog tour. Also interesting that Facebook is the new place to interact! I am behind the times I guess!
Personally, I prefer reading reviews from someone who has actually made one–or more–of the patterns in the books. I have also bought books because of a sew-along with a blogger who I follow, which is generally a much longer time period than the initial release blog hop.
Agree with Lisa. Also I recommend looking at what Alexandra Winston did with her book Quilt Lab. She had a blog hop but it was different. She had over a couple of months different projects from one other person featured but that same week she posted how the quilt came to life, other options she tried etc before getting to that end post. It was great to see this from the author and she did a great job promoting her book without it being too much. http://www.asquaredw.com/
How fun! I love all your ideas on this, especially the scrap giveaway – that is genius!! Some other cool ideas I have seen are making charity quilts during the hop and offering tips about quilting in general during the hop. Best of luck with it!
Thanks so much for sharing these behind the scenes peeks… So much fun! I can’t wait for your book. The only problem with the peeks is that I have to wait! (So good job building anticipation, I guess… Go on, you marketing genius!)
Thanks for sharing more photos of the projects in the book. I can’t wait to see it whole…although obviously you can’t either :-) I usually know whether or not I will buy a book based on the projects in it and therefore don’t rely on the “glowing” blog hops; but will scan through the posts sometimes just to see if they include any photos I hadn’t seen before.
It really is all about being creative with your marketing, and I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
I am very glad to hear that things are slowly moving away from the generic blog hop. I think most of us readers are tired of the same old, same old glowing reports. I would like to ditto really enjoying the Quilt Lab blog posts. Seeing people actually making something instead of flicking through the book was great! Should that be something you decide to do, it would be good to see a range of skills represented so that a total beginner at applique like me won’t feel so daunted at the idea of the quilts! And you can definitely never go wrong with discussing the behind-the-scenes stuff for each quilt! We love the goss ;) Another option would be to have bloggers share their own personal tips for applique.
Can’t wait to actually learn how to do this stuff with you in February in 410B!!
This was fascinating, Casey. Any tips you have, you know I’ll welcome. I’ve been wanting to do some brainstorming and research on this subject myself. If you need anything from me too, please let me know. I’d be happy to help you out with promotion if you have an empty space to fill!
I’m catching up on long overdue reading. Love to learn more about publishing through your series. I didn’t know Facebook was the top media for quilters. I don’t go on FB too much. I do understand the opinion that all blog hops are full of glowing remarks. It’s a hard thing to negotiate. I recently finished reading a new quilting book that is getting lots of praise online only to find it is full of errors and poor quality writing not to mention I didn’t feel it gave that much useful information. Some chapters were very good and others weren’t worth the space. Yet I would be afraid to give an honest opinion on my blog.
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Hi!!!! I love your idea on the scrap give a way!!!!! That would be fun!!!! On the book blog tours…I would like to see the blogs authors version of at least part of a pattern from the book!!!! I did love Quilt Labs book tour!!!! I found my self sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next round!!!!! Best wishes!!!!
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