LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS has been out for a month, and the reception has truly amazed me.
I’m a firm believer in running my own race. I measure my success only upon my expectations, and my expectations were—well—nothing! I wrote this book for me, and even one person reading and liking it was a 100% bonus!
I never thought I’d sell more than a couple of copies to kind Twitter friends, but the response has been very exciting for me, and really inspired me to keep going and write more!
It seemed like a blog-worthy side note to me that quite a few people seem to have commented on my marketing rather than the book itself! First and foremost, let me be completely transparent about my marketing strategy and knowledge; I have no idea what I’m doing.
That said, I thought it may be fun to run through my process and maybe share some thoughts and ideas on the subject for anyone that was interested.
Before the six week mark, I revealed basically NOTHING.
No cover reveal, no title reveal, no preview chapter - nothing.
I’d like to say it was because I wanted to generate more buzz when the pre-order link was up, but in reality it’s because (again) I had no idea what I was doing. The book didn’t feel real to me until it was properly released, and I was cautious about showing my unfinished hand too soon. I retrospect, I would do more in the future. More time sitting with pre-order clicks, a proper cover reveal, more buzz to add on goodreads etc. Knowing that I wanted a Halloween release for my spoopy book, I had a few months to plan the six week per-release. This planning took the form of a slap-dash text document that I dipped in and out of on my phone during my commute to my day job. I have long since learned to set myself only realistic objectives, so I planned only for one mid-week pitch, and a couple over the weekend. I made a few notes on the form these would take- images, videos, pictures- but didn’t really prepare anything or get into the nitty gritty. Time is a big issue for me, I have many demands on it, and tasks such as setting up my website right took my untrained brain days, if not weeks.
I did decide I wanted to offer pre-order goodies. I know this is a rarity for indie books, but I think my insecurity dictated that I wanted my release to feel like an event. I used a couple of different websites to find bookmark, button badge, and postcard makers at reasonable prices, and got these in early so I was ready to go. When I realised that international post was an issue due to COVID safety issues, I then decided to write some short stories to provide internationally as a digital pre-order goody. This put a lot of pressure on me at a really difficult time, but I have to say I think I wrote some good things in this little collection and am keen to find how best to use them in the future. The uptake of pre-order goodies was not huge and for that I may be more grateful than disappointed! I’m not quite sure how I would have coped with a huge influx of requests on my limited free time, but the response from the people that joined in has been fantastic and made it so worthwhile doing.
Okay you’re going to have to bear with me here. As much as I had a loose plan with regards to providing content on certain days in the month leading up to release, I had no real PLAN plan. I didn’t really know what I would post on each day. This was good and bad. It put some pressure on me (something I never need more of), but the results have been highly well received! From the infamous ‘bookake’ post, to the single afternoon whipped up book trailer, engagement has been really positive. Most things came to me on the fly. Bookake came into my head when I suddenly had several copies and wondered about how a picture with all of them would be best taken, my brain constantly lives on the edge of a pun. In fact, as usually happens, my thoughts on adverts all drifted toward the silly side. When I had removed the background from another photo of me, for a very ‘professional’ advert, I decided it would be fun if I put that picture in silly places like under the sea, in a tornado, or a birds nest. I started adapting popular memes to include my book. I was just having fun. Literally anything that made me chuckle I spammed you with. What I hadn’t thought of, was that as is often the case when people see you having fun- they want to join in too.
Tools for Fools
I am not a very good person at managing different things, and as my terrible visual editing will attest, I have little to no computer or graphics skills. I relied heavily on Canva for almost all my image based adverts, Helloprint for my pre-order goodies, and iMovie for by book trailer. My gifs took me a couple of minutes each on Procreate Pocket!
What I learned
I’ve seen people with much bigger followings than me with multiple books under their belts seemingly fumble the release of their book, with little to no engagement in their posts. That’s not to say I did a great job. I think I did some things well, and probably for it being my debut, I might even say I did some things REALLY well. From what I can tell, the difference is how much what you put out interests people in a unique way. When people buy your book having never heard of you or read your writing before, it’s because in some respect you have managed in some respect to sell them on YOU. They are interested in what you think, feel, and what you have to say. People might connect with you through humour, shared ideals, or some other connection that gives them just enough belief in your product to click that button. Marketing is, in many cases, your first impression so it has to be something that gets people’s attention. People aren’t engaged by soulless and formulaic campaigns- so enjoy yourself, be yourself, do something different! Most importantly, have fun, and readers may well want to join the party too!
You can pick up your copy of LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS here, or check out bookdepository, Barnes & Noble, or other providers.