Mili Fay: "After 5 years of toiling, my book, 'Animals In My Hair', has finally been published. I am at the top of the world! The hard part is over. All that is left is to let everyone know that this brand new marvel of literature exists!
Mili Fay: "It is not only hard, it feels impossible!"
I know I have a great product. I know this, because "Animals In My Hair" has been flying off shelves at markets, and the people who have not bought the book have actually apologised that they did not have the money to purchase it, or that they do not have children in their lives to gift it to.
So, the book is not the reason why I am struggling. The reason is that I have no clue how to get my book in front of parents and teachers who are my target audience: Marketing.
I have done my research. The problem is not that there is no information on marketing--there is TOO MUCH information!
A month ago, I felt crushed by piles and piles of information (most of it useless.) I wallowed in it. I was buried in it. I was slowly being flattened by it.
I've been crying for help for what felt like forever and no one has been able to hear me.
Now at the very end of the challenge, I have a clear path (with supportive signposts) that will lead me to the kind of success I have always dreamed I'd achieve.
I cannot share just one thing I have learned; it is not who I am. What I will share with you is the tools I have found most applicable to the picture-book/fantasy author like me.
The first week of the Challenge we were supposed to create our author's platform. Well, in my case, my book is just a tiny part of a greater entity called Mili Fay Art. Last year, I have finally established Mili Fay Art's platform and have supported it with the vision statement: "Together we support the world one artwork at a time."
Instead of creating a platform, I have learned about creating effective blogs, have decided to really get involved with Amazon and Goodreads, and have also discovered something called a Facebook Fan Party--which I think is the best way to get more Likes for my Facebook Page.
The second week was all about becoming friends with our audience. I am intrigued by list building through giveaways (I have been giving stuff away since the beginning, but have not asked anything in return). I have created my first giveaway, a PDF Colouring Book from the outline scans of some of my most popular pieces of artwork. At my last market I have let people know that they will be getting this book if they sign up for my newsletter and the signup sheet was 200% longer.
You can download the picture book here.
Cathy Demers gave me a great idea for creating a show showcasing my very talented friends once a week as part of my "Art: Help!" blog. Thank you, Cathy! I may not be able to connect with "Animals In My Hair" audience in that way, but I will reach a lot of artists and fantasy lovers who I know will love my novel, "Warriors of Virtue". Besides, I will chat with some of the artists I have admired for years. What could be better?
Third week was not my week. I do not want to teach the subjects and themes that I use for books. My books are fantasy, and there are people out there more qualified than I to teach on the real subjects I touch upon. However, I did have a major brainstorm as I listened to the Kindle Ninja (I find Kristen Eckstein a bit scary to be honest).
"Warriors of Virtue" is my masterpiece. A massive fantasy story about a reluctant princess who learns to be a Queen. It really is massive. The first book out of the planned five-book series (and one novella) is 600 pages (slightly over 100 000 words, which is not an unusual length for a fantasy novel). I have envisioned the whole book illustrated with sketchy ink illustrations, and one beautiful, full-colour illustration for every chapter. Just thinking of the amount of work that will take makes me slightly ill.
After listening to the Kindle Ninja, I have decided to publish the whole book in individual chapters. My plan is to offer the first chapter for free, then to raise the price when the second chapter is published and offered for free. I hope in this way to create a loyal following who may eventually help me achieve best-seller status with the printed version of the book. My future fans may even help me Crowdfund the project.
Crowdfunding is what we have discussed in week four. A week where we learned the importance of press releases and book reviews. Both of which I will be working on as soon as the Challenge is through.
This last week we have been learning about Virtual Book Tours. As someone who loves to write and share what I know, a VBT is what I am looking forward to the most. Somehow, I will have to figure out how to get in touch with relevant mommy-blogs, and teacher sites (or I may spend this year doing actual tour of Toronto schools and Libraries--if they'll have me). I did have this idea to contact haircut blogs for children, and share funny haircuts I have had throughout the years. I also love, LOVE, Once Upon A Sketch blog run by Norman Grock. I would dearly love to write them an article about my watercolour technique. People marvel at the clarity of my colours and the secret is all in the...
I am also intrigued by a Review Crew, and will be setting mine up soon.
I'm also planning on starting a review blog as a result of being part of this fantastic Children's Picture Books group on Goodreads, with a weekly article about outdoor games that will keep the kids active and away from TV. If you know of any old games that may be fun and are willing to share an article for this new blog, please let me know.
The Book Marketing Challenge sparked so many ideas that I am not sure where to start first, but the above are some that are bouncing around my scull more frequently than others.
Lastly, I want to give a big virtual hug to everyone reading this blog, and to all the participants of the Book Marketing Challenge Group who have welcomed me with open arms. I hope we will stay in touch for years to come. If you are ever in Toronto I would love to meet you all in person and share with you my favourite haunts.
My June 2014 Challenge is to fully illustrate my "Dream, Little Dreamer" lullaby (you can hear me singing the full version on a YouTube video here). If you have kids, or if you just like children's art, you can follow my progress on Pinterest for a chance to win original sketches and a watercolour painting.
If you'd like to keep in touch, and get more artistic freebies (such as greeting cards, art prints, colouring books, Kindle Books, etc.) and discounts on portraiture and Mili Fay Art products, become a member of the Mili Fay Art Fan Club. You can also join Mili Fay Art's brand new Review Crew where you may get all of her future books for free. Details coming soon!
Good luck with all your endeavours!
"Together we support the world one artwork at a time."
P. S. I will go into more detail as I follow each marketing step, so make sure to tune in from time to time. :-)
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