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!