Marketing Challenges of a Debut Author

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Writing a book was never on my post-retirement bucket list.  

In fact, when I decided to leave my wonderful job as a school Occupational Therapist in 2010, I was going to volunteer at the Humane Society.  As altruistic as that sounds, it probably wasn’t the best idea.  I’m a sucker for mewing kittens and sad puppy dog eyes and would have schlepped them home to the dismay of my husband and disservice to our four critters.

Retiring was quite fortuitous, though, as tragically my mother was in the midst of her rapid decline from dementia.  My once brilliant and kind mother eroded into an agitated, confused and severely compromised woman as Alzheimer’s advanced.

Just months before she passed away the following year in 2011, Mom was mostly non-verbal and completely dependent.  I was determined that she would not be remembered as the withering, mumbling old woman lying in the bed, but as the vivacious, intelligent patient Lady who was my mom.

Like the Phoenix, from my mother’s ashes arose I Will Never Forget – A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia.

Hers was a story that needed to be told, as it is everyone’s story!

As a debut author, I knew nothing about publishing and especially marketing.  The self-publishing part turned out to be simple enough; just write a big check!  (And I might add “anyone with a big enough check can get any piece of trash published” thus deluging the book market with millions of new releases every day).  However, recouping my ghastly out of pocket expenses through book sales proved frustrating.  I just thought Simon and Schuster would eventually show up at my house and write me a big check!  Ha! Wrong!

 I actually had a marketing consultant through the self-publishing company who provided a lengthy list of recommendations:

  1. Enter I Will Never Forget in Book Award Competitions.  In 2013, I won the prestigious Indie Excellence Award in Aging and seven others.

  2. Set up Facebook and Twitter author pages.

  3. Purchase a web site domain name.

  4. Design my web site www.IWillNeverForgetBook.com.

  5. Market.  Promote.  Network.  Contact.  Repeat.

 Great strategies but they all require more financial outlay, considerable internet help, volumes of time or all three.

 When the web site launched, I officially became a Small Business Owner!  Yeah!  Now what?

Self-Marketing is exhaustively time-consuming!

I was buoyed initially by purchases from family and friends, but they’re a finite source.  Finally, I acknowledged the need for a publicist.  And yes, cha-ching!  But it was an awesome six months as he generated considerable radio and television interviews, requests for articles, endorsements, book signings, etc. all of which gleaned great exposure for I Will Never Forget.

When the marketing campaign ended, though, there I was again, floundering in the murky waters of self-marketing.  Gradually I’ve learned about branding, blast marketing in 15 words, search engine optimization and Blah! Blah! Blah!

Social media is clearly a necessary promotional tool but it’s not without issues.  Facebook reaches “friends” and not necessarily a global market and I’ve been blocked several times by Facebook from using Facebook!  Linked-In has been the most successful in promoting I Will Never Forget especially nationally; however, I’ve been temporarily “restricted” there too!  Although Twitter is more expansive in global markets, trying to promote my book with only 140 characters initially stymied me.

Small Business Owners: Just Keep Juggling the Balls

 I would love to post the magic tricks to SBO success, but I haven’t a clue!  The reality is, the strategies that work for one type of business or owner probably won’t fit another.  Local restaurants mostly market to the surrounding community, whereas authors can promote their eBook anywhere in the world.

Through proverbial trial and error, I’ve learned what works best and what doesn’t in marketing I Will Never Forget.  For example, there are literally countless author groups on line intended to facilitate exposure for one’s book.  But being active in all of these energy gobbling, time-consuming groups is insane, so I’ve whittled it down to a few and discarded the rest.

I’m very good at multi-tasking which helps but marketing a small business is still exhausting and never ending.

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However I’m honored to have penned the:

Multi-Award Winning, Best-Selling Memoir I Will Never Forget – A Story So Incredible It Could NEVER Be A Work Of Fiction!

Now back to social media, cold calls, writing new articles, etc.

 Elaine C. Pereira, MA OTR/L CDP, CDC

Connect with Elaine through LinkedIn

Click HERE to purchase I Will Never Forget

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