A guest blog post from Romi Sharp, founder of Books On Tour PR & Marketing:
Here’s the honest truth – I don’t have a book published…yet. I’ve been immersed in the children’s literature world for six years now, writing and entering stories into competitions. So why haven’t I had ‘publishing success’? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve submitted to publishers, I’ve been to professional conferences, I’ve done a bit of writing study, I’ve had work assessed and critiqued, but all this isn’t enough. Committing to authorship takes strong focus and dedication. So, what have my efforts gone in to?
Well, I figured out early on that building a platform, engaging networks and possessing a great understanding of the industry will lead me down the publication path all in good time. Whilst doing so, I’ve found complete happiness in learning from and celebrating the successes of others. This is my journey.
Stemming from the amazing kidlit community created in the online support group, Just Write For Kids, came a passion for assisting others, whom often face the challenging task of running a small business – that is, the marketing side to authoring a book. I established Books On Tour PR & Marketing in 2017 as a means of engaging online tribes with original, varied and entertaining content that raises book and author profiles. Having a background in early childhood and primary teaching, and some previous digital design work helped with the ability to create relevant, educational and interesting material. But learning the ins and outs of PR, advertising, social media and running a business is still a progressive curve I’m climbing today.
I studied online courses, I researched, and wrote a series of Book Marketing articles. These cover everything from the basics to the more in-depth of setting up and maintaining a website, engaging subscribers, choosing social media niches, approaching the media, creating digital and educational content, and preparing for author visits.
I love this quote – it beautifully sums up that book marketing is about connecting with others and simply being YOU: ‘Marketing is sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it.’ – Joanna Penn.
However, I have made a few of my own mistakes. So, I’ll give you some tips. Hope these points help authors avoid some common traps with their marketing efforts…
- I’ve let fear hinder my confidence in taking risks – when I could have been more persistent, or tried another tactic. Pitching your feature request to media sources takes courage and a strong case as to why they should take on a job. ‘Cold’ pitching (to someone unknown) is the scariest and most likely to fail in receiving a response. Should that stop you from trying?!
- I’ve marketed to too small an audience. Thinking outside the box when it comes to the target audience can pay off big-time. I will be endeavouring to find groups with a common interest in the subject matter, not just our familiar community.
- I’ve used social media sparingly. I know my way around several social media platforms now, so it’s time to branch out and explore other popular sites where more audiences can be found. I know a few book review/recommendation sites I’ll be keeping my eyes on!
- Speaking of audiences, I’ve not always monitored where the spikes and falls in user engagement have come from. I tend to stick to the strategies that work, but what about changing up the ones that don’t? Let’s just try one at a time, shall we?
I’m learning, I’m developing my skillset, and I’m taking on the business of books. I love promoting others on their journey, and I’m proud of the 30 successful book campaigns we’ve achieved together. This is my journey.
About Romi Sharp
Romi Sharp is a qualified Early Childhood and Primary School teacher turned picture book writer and reviewer, freelance digital marketer, acting publicist and copywriter who works with children’s creators and publishers… and loving it! In 2014, she established the online support group for Australian writers and illustrators, Just Write For Kids, as a means of connecting with like-minded people. Out of this growing community, she found her place with the thrill of helping to spread the word about others’ successes. In 2017, Books On Tour PR & Marketing was born – Romi began building a specialised publicity service for the children’s book market, being able to provide multi-media cross-promotion of new release titles and assisting authors to develop their own brand.
Romi lives in Melbourne with her husband, two daughters and adorable puppy.
Connect with Romi Sharp
Just Write For Kids Australia Website
Facebook Just Write For Kids
Facebook Books on Tour