I'm excited to present to you Lori Calabrese, a fellow debut author! Her book, The Bug that Plagued the Third Grade, just launched from Dragonfly Publishing. Today Lori is going to talk about the marketing battle--one we are all quite familiar with.
You can find Lori on her blog here.
And here she is!
Fighting an Uphill Battle
By: Lori Calabrese
As authors, we’re required to devise a web marketing platform—website, blog, email marketing and social media—that will help spread our message, grow our reputation and hopefully sell books. But, sometimes, it can feel as though we’re fighting an uphill battle. That’s why many authors are forming their own armies, so they can take on the marketing machine in numbers.
The first army formed was the "Class of 2k…,” the brainstorm of debut novelist Greg R. Fishbone. He thought a group of debut children's novelists could grab more media and industry attention together than on their own and boy, was he right. The Class of 2K7 was the first group of authors who banded together to make their publication journey a pleasant one, and the group has evolved to The Class of 2k10. Along the way, many other authors have used Fishbone’s thinking to their advantage and formed their own niche groups to strengthen their marketing message.
In 2010, because of a failing economy, we saw the rise of the small press. The odds of getting published by a "major" publishing house have been dwindling, but the odds of attracting a small publisher have been improving. However, as many small press authors are able to see their books in print, they also find themselves without the marketing muscle or resources of the larger houses. So what are small press authors to do? Innovate their own strategies, that’s what.
Small press authors have created alliances with like-minded independent bookstores, and have taken advantage of online marketing platforms such as social media, e-mail blasts and blogs. But, they’ve also utilized the thinking of Greg R. Fishbone. Author Amy Cook realized that if a group of small press authors banded together, they too could grab more attention for their books through a collective blog, forum, facebook group and flyer. Cook put out a general call on as many places as she could - Verla Kay's Website for Children's Writers and Illustrators, her blog, etc… and within a few short weeks, Indie Debut was born.
Indie Debut can be called the first army for small press authors. Indie Debut 2010 is a group of debut authors whose books are published by a spectrum of small presses across America and range from picture books to middle grade to young adult. Each member is proud to support small presses that are championing new voices, focusing on niche markets, creating whole businesses by reissuing out-of-print classics, and maintaining the tradition of printing literary fiction. Within the first week of forming, they utilized each member’s artillery to produce a group website, logo, press release and discussion forum. Since then, this amazing group of dedicated children’s/ YA authors have put loads of time and effort into making their website a source of small press information, setting up speaking engagements, planning contests and giveaways, and developing a very close sense of community with each other.
Because of the tough economy, the whole industry has been forced to navigate a new route and utilize new tools to build and maintain momentum behind a book. Indie Debut has been able to make a small press author’s reach national by creating relationships with each author’s fan base, reach out to new ones, and utilize a group blog that keeps content fresh and allows one to develop their platform, what many editors and agents are looking for these days.
Rather than face it alone, it’s smart for an author to develop relationships with other authors and
brainstorm ways to market his or her book. Writers spend much of their time working alone, so to have a network of writers who are going through the same thing as you is a great way to garner information, and offer the much-needed support we sometimes need.
So as you devise your web marketing platform, remember that although marketing can sometimes seem like an uphill battle, with an army of troops on your side, you’ll find the courage you need to forge ahead.
Indie Debut is currently looking for authors who are interested in joining the 2011 group. If you’re a debut author with a children’s- YA book published with a small press in 2011, please use the contact form on their website.
About the author:
Lori Calabrese is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was awarded DFP’s Best Children’s Book Award. She writes
for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner at Examiner.com and enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her
website to learn more, www.loricalabrese.com.