So you've written and/or published a book. Now what?
Publishing a book is just the beginning, my friend. Now you have to, you know, put it out into the world. But, yikes, right?
Who has the time and the ENERGY, after sweating out a work of art, to drag it around the internet and the real world? Day after day? Year after YEAR?
Since 2010, I've been writing and publishing books - and helping others do the same. I started this blog to document my continuing publishing and book marketing journey.
What happens when you want to not only publish and market your books...but actually build a long-lasting publishing brand? Here's my journey so far.
How I started selling my books...
In 2013, I had published three young adult fiction novels. At the behest of a friend, I decided to start exhibiting and selling them at local comic conventions across Canada.
Turns out, I was pretty good at selling books. I gained repeat customers. I invested in better displays, banners, and learned little tricks to help me sell even more books, to make more money.
Sure, I did some online marketing too...
...but it wasn't my focus. I didn't care about it at all. Why would I, when I was connecting with readers in person?
In 2016, I upped my show count from 3-4 a year to 10-15 a year across the country. And that's where I started to see traction.
My freelance business had exploded and I was juggling travelling across the country and helping other creative entrepreneurs. I was making some money, but I was also investing in larger and larger shows. People were starting to recognize the brand.
But something was eating away at me.
What happens when you reach a ceiling?
I'd more or less perfected in-person selling. My next-level problems were logistical and manageable. I just had to write more books and do more shows or more expensive shows...right...?
My life had become a never-ending cycle of making books and selling them at events. It was working, but at great cost: I was tired. Burnt out. Money came in and money went out.
Then, COVID happened.
Now, like it or not, I must optimize my virtual presence and grow the brand in an online world that has never been more crowded....and hungry for new content.
Publishing is hard. Book marketing is harder.
Is publishing easy or hard - a real question I've been asked on more than one occasion.
It's not just that "publishing is hard" - publishing has never been more easy, compared to decades ago. What's hard is maintaining a writing/publishing schedule, making a book marketing plan, and committing to getting better and better with each launch or appearance.
Since 2013, I’ve written about and shared my experiences selling my young adult fantasy and science fiction books at in-person events such as craft shows, comic conventions, book festivals, and even a farmers market! I learned an incredible amount about branding, marketing, and selling books, which in turn, helped me grow my humble press. You can read about those adventures here.
Now, I’ve turned my focus to improving and carrying out online marketing strategies for books. Each month, I’ll share the process and the results of my attempts to market my YA fantasy and science fiction novels online.
my ultimate mission: build a direct-to-consumer publishing brand.
People were coming to me at craft shows and comic conventions for my books. I have something here that is more than just a financial transaction. I'm interested in building a long-term, sustainable brand that is bigger than myself.
I know how to sell my books...to a flesh-and-blood human being. But can I replicate this success online without having to lug thousands of pounds and my weary body across the country?
A frequent question I'm asked: will I ever publish other people? If I can build an audience that will buy from me directly, that's a step in the direction of transforming into a traditional publisher.
But why blog about it?
To document process, projects, and progress on my creative entrepreneurial pursuits
I started writing my post-mortem "reviews" of the various events I sold books at so I would a) remember what I'd learned and b) record what I could improve upon for the next show. This self-reflection allowed me to make continued improvements to my branding and marketing, which allowed me to show up in a bigger and better way for my audience. Now, I want to apply the same principle to my online book marketing efforts - and all the surrounding activities.
To educate and inform about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating, marketing, and selling your work.
Once you create a work of art, you aren't done. Assuming you want to make a career of it, you have to put yourself - and your work - out into the world. This is not something you do once, but continuously. It's hard. You don't always know what marketing strategies are going to work until you try them. I want to forge the path and report back on what works and doesn't work for marketing my novels.
I'm Clare! I...
- Wrote 10 books in 9 years and published them through my publishing brand, Faery Ink Press
- Got nominated for a 2019 YA Book Aurora Award & a 2016 Whistler Independent Book Award (Honorable Mention)
- Travelled across the country selling thousands of books at comic cons, craft shows, and festivals.
- Worked as a freelance editor, book designer, podcast editor, website manager...the list goes on.
- Have a combined honors degree in journalism & psychology from the University of King's College, and a publishing certificate from Humber College.
- Grew up in rural Nova Scotia; currently lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband & two cats
Follow me on my publishing journey!
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