Welcome to Episode 22 of Publish Your Purpose: An Author’s Journey.
In this episode we cover –
- The End Game
- Marketing Efforts
- Book Description
- Packing it All Up
- Accountability Partners
The Publish Your Purpose Podcast: An Author’s Journey features the unique relationship between an author and their publisher. This podcast follows author, Mark David Gibson, through the publishing process of his memoir “Served in Silence.” Alongside him you’ll hear from Publish Your Purpose Press Founder and CEO, Jenn T. Grace, as she navigates Mark through this journey. This authentic, empathetic, and at times comedic duo will take you on the journey from having an idea in your head to holding a book in your hands. You’ll go through all of the emotional ups and downs with Mark as this podcast covers his experience in real time. You’ll learn how to be better prepared when you set out to write your story. Whether you are writing a memoir or any non-fiction where a piece of your story is shared, you’ll be better equipped for success after having listened to this show.
Jenn and Mark have volunteered and donated their time. If you’d like to support the show on Patreon you can do so for just a couple of dollars a month, which is less than a cup of coffee! Your contribution will help with the hosting and transcription of the show. Support us on Patreon at Patreon.com/PublishYourPurpose.
Music provided in this episode was provided by www.bensound.com.
Publish Your Purpose Podcast
38:32 total time
Jenn: I’m Jenn Grace, the CEO of Publish Your Purpose Press. And you are?
Mark: Mark David Gibson, the author of Served in Silence.
Jenn: Today’s topic is marketing. We have talked about all of the process’ to date from you writing your book to you having your proof copy in hand to now talking about all of the marketing related activity that you’ve been doing in preparation for your launch which will be an entire episode.
Why don’t we go back? Marketing is my background so I could go in a thousand different directions with this. I’d love to hear your interpretation of marketing, in terms of what you felt like you had to do for a successful book launch. I want to keep the expectations realistic for people. You have gone way above and beyond any other author that we have worked with in terms of the amount of marketing that you’ve done.
You can do a little bit of marketing and be successful or you can do a ton of marketing to be successful. Let’s start with your interpretation of what you feel needs to be in place for you to successfully launch your book.
Mark: The AUTHOR’S ACADEMY does a good job on marketing though it is not the focus of the academy. First thing I’d like to tell listeners is “calm down.” Settle down, relax. Marketing is such a big, overarching word. It can be very daunting. It can be overwhelming. This should be the creative, fun part. If this is not your forte or don’t feel comfortable with this, you can always seek the assistance of friends. We all do it. We sit around and say “wouldn’t it be cool if…”, “what do you think about this idea?” and that begins your marketing strategy. Make it fun.
What does the end game look like? What is the desired effect that you are looking for from the results of your marketing efforts? With your background and what we learn in the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY, the overarching principle is that really the sky is the limit. We can talk for days and days on one aspect of marketing. We can tape a podcast just on that. With my background in communications, taking the two of those and everything I learned in the academy and button it up as far as a strategic or focused approach. Some of those words sound sterile and icky, but it is kinda fun.
With that in mind, I like to do the idea of working things backwards. I’m going to be thinking about: What is the brand? What is the marketing message when you see that brand? It’s actually easy to do when you start just drafting out something on a scratch pad. Just take it from the standpoint of the cover. I can make an event out of any step of this process. I made a party about the cover. That’s marketing folks. It was the build-up to the cover. It was personally rewarding for Mr. Wonderful and I because we worked really hard to get to that point, so why not celebrate?
This is not a science folks; I’m not professing that I’m an expert in any of this. I just started on a white board, just free flowing, brainstorming ideas. A lot of those did start from the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY. When I got to this phase I looked back to get a refresher and it toggled my mind of some ideas. “Oh yeah! I have a friend that works at the radio station, and was really interested when I told him I was writing a book.” And then, with an email “Hey, I’m about done.” The response was “Great! Let’s book you on a radio interview right before your launch.” And so it begins. Just keeping in mind your overall strategy…once you publish your book, how are you going to get your message out there (beyond your close circle of friends, associates and family?) That’s really with effective marketing strategies.
Jenn: How do we break this down? How did you know what that first thing to produce was? We’re talking about a combination of strategy and marketing tactics. The strategy is something that we cover extensively with our authors. From marketing strategy, business strategy, the speaker strategy… strategy all day long, every day. But then there’s the tactical thing. So how did you focus and say this is the first thing I want to produce as it relates to my book? What was your process for that?
Mark: In the very beginning when you interviewed me and were talking to me as a potential author you asked “what is your book about?” Now it’s time to impress, “it’s going to be about…” and it’s like 30 words long. You being the mentor that you are… “he’s craftable; he’s moldable. I can help him.” Because you’re going to get that down to about 10 words. Or get that down into a sizable chunk. I remember at one point in the podcast, after the fact of “My name is Mark Gibson and I’m the author of Served in Silence, the book is about… And you said “Look at you getting it down to a short bite!” Once I got that and I felt comfortable, let’s call that the elevator pitch. Then I decided, “Okay, I’m not quite done. I’m in the manuscript process. But I would like to start cultivating a relationship with people to let them know that I’m actually writing a book.” You gave us homework where we had to post it on Facebook. We had to go on LinkedIn and tell the world. At that moment I felt that didn’t hurt so bad – so what’s the first piece?
Just be careful here folks. You don’t have to spend gobs and gobs of money. You can do quick and effective things that are pretty inexpensive. I’m a coupon kind of guy, I love a coupon. I ran across Vistaprint. They had a coupon and I developed a post card. Very easy. After dinner I put a 3 bullet summary of the book, front and back and I think it was $20-$30 for a big stack of post cards. That was my first marketing tool. It’s funny now that I look back on it. I have been perfecting what the story is about. As you become more intimate with your manuscript that now the skeleton is the same on my postcard but I really honed and I really perfected the pitch and it doesn’t quite look like that original one, but that’s okay. That’s why we only ordered 200. That was the first piece that I could get out to people. The response was pretty good.
Then it came to the cover party. I did the same thing, not that much quantity, but kept the postcard idea going. Quick hit. Not that expensive.
The other thing I did was that they were having another sale, on business cards. I made a business card just for the book. So, I thought of it as a book marker and gave that away. I could put some branding. I could put some information about that on there with my website and book title, etc.
Jenn: That is such a perfect base, introductory level, of things that one needs. I find that post cards are so effective. You usually have the content already. You already have your author bio, you have the cover, you have the book description, so at the point where you’re creating that post card, you just have to reassemble it and put some brand colors on it. Of course you can hire a professional to do it (I always recommend) so your cards look nice. If you have the skills and the resources to do it that’s awesome.
I think that it was also wise of you to limit the amount that you purchased. Things change over time. You might be talking to someone and say “Damn it, I should have put a testimonial on this thing! How did I forget to put a testimonial on it?” And now you have 8000 to go through. Even though it costs more to buy less, in the long run it just makes more sense. We have authors that also do bookmarks. You talked about using your business cards as bookmarks. We have a handful of authors that have done bookmarks specifically. They’re cute. It’s in alignment with the brand. Makes perfect sense. You have contact information on it. Whatever it takes. I think that these are all very easy to do things. They don’t have to cost a lot of money. Then there’s that next layer of marketing.
So you had gone hog wild with the creation of banners. I would love to hear your rhyme and reason for the banners you had done. What made you do them? What your intended purposes are for them?
Mark: I kind of did go a little wild with them. Like a kid in a candy store. I think it was a buy one, get one or buy one, 50% off the second one or something like that. It’s all about marketing. It’s all about consistency in the message and the brand. So those are very effective for any opportunity that you get.
My cover party started in my hallway of my condo building. When you got off the elevator, I had a pop-up. You get off the elevator and it’s “I guess we’re going to Mark’s event because there he is! At the end of the hallway!” They’re quick, easy to set up, weigh under 20 pounds, throw it over your shoulder and away you go. You can literally set up a whole book signing from a duffle bag or briefcase. That was the idea of having the pop ups. I wanted a variety. Different events that we go to or one might be better for a restaurant if I’m going to be doing a book signing. The other one is for the bigger picture for my launch. It’s a very big space so I have lots of opportunity for branding and marketing. I want to take advantage of that when I can. It’s a roll up banner that just pops up. You can put yourself in a situation for selling or marketing your books on the go.
Jenn: All of our authors are busy professionals, on the go. We are always trying to think about how can this be portable? How can you just throw this in a suitcase, check your bag, and be on your way. I’m a huge fan of pop-up banners.com. I love their prices. You can also
go to Vistaprint. You can go to Overnightprints.com. There’s a million different places. You can get the 8’ banner. But there’s also a 2’ table top banner. There’s a 3’ table top banner option. Those are great too because then you can put the 3D image of your book on it. It pops up, it’s not big at all. You can be sitting side by side with it. If somebody is looking from afar, they can at least see the cover of your book from a distance. You can get them for like $60 or $40 for the size. It’s a good quality.
And then there’s the tablecloths. Those ranging from $100-$300 depending. You can have solid colors with your logo on them. For our authors, we have a lot of different examples that we provide when we’re working with somebody new. Or in the AUTHOR’S ACADEMY. It’s all about the complete package of you as a brand, as an author. I think that everything has to tie together. You want to use the same colors, the same font, the same imagery, the cover. Everything. So that when someone see’s something they’re like “that’s Mark” or “that’s Served in Silence” or that’s Publish Your Purpose Press. They know instantly because you have a cohesive nature in which that you’ve done this. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It might just be finding two colors and a font that you like and using them over and over again. You can start small. It doesn’t have to be a $10,000 brand strategy package that you purchase from somebody. It can be small and contained.
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