British indie author Yvonne Payne, who divides her time between Crete and the UK, explains how identifying and focusing on her debut novel's specific target markets helped her make its launch a great success.
During a recent ALLi meeting in Bristol, I shared my delight with the launch of my novel Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa in the village on the Greek island of Crete where the story is set. When Debbie Young asked what I did beforehand to draw in guests I grinned; imagine her face when my answer was ‘I read your book!’
Around the time that I wrote ‘The End’ on my draft manuscript I asked myself why anyone would buy a book written by an unknown author. My answer was I had a good brand that I could develop prior to publication.
A brand is more than a name or a logo
A brand governs the way you do things, the way you interact with people and what people can expect from you. I’ve used the nickname ‘Kritsa Yvonne’ on Cretan based websites since 1998, and built a reputation based on my personal knowledge of East Crete and willingness to answer reader’s questions.
Having a clear view of my brand helped when I set up my website http://kritsayvonne.com/, as it influenced everything from colour to content, and now guides the way I do/do not interact via blog and Twitter.
I defined my pool of potential readers to focus my marketing activity
My idea was to cast many ‘pebbles’ into my pool to see where the ripples led, then build on the most effective. This has brought unexpected benefits with blog interview invitations from other authors, and I’ve already made some lovely ‘virtual’ friends.
After identifying similar ‘pools’ I contacted three authors to ask questions. One author was particularly helpful and subsequently provided a valuable commendation for use in my book; this provided credibility among her readers and directly led to sales.
Recognising my pool has three significant groups influenced my action:
Group 1. Holidaymakers seeking a souvenir.
- Silverwood Books, who helped me self-publish my book, used their magic to create a cover that is attractive as a souvenir of the area.
- I identified two bookshops as preferred retailers:
- Nikitakis, a gift shop in the centre of Kritsotopoula Street, Kritsa.
- Eklektos Bookshop, owned by a British couple in Elounda, a nearby resort.
The owners of Eklektos agreed to stock my book and act as distributor for onward sales to other retailers.
Pre publication I met with the reporter from the local daily Greek newspaper to explain about the book. He published a very favourable piece, and the owner of Nikitakis asked if he could sell my book. What a result!
Group 2. English speaking people living in East Crete, and those with aspirations to buy/rent a property in the area. If these people enjoy the book, they are likely to act as ambassadors for it.
- A local estate agent accepted the opportunity to place a free advert in the back of the book and we now have reciprocal links on our websites.
- I established a Facebook Group to notify people of cultural events in the area.
- I sent a press release to the editor of ‘Crete Today’ an English language emailed newsletter.
People in this group were my target attendees for the book launch held in a cafe directly opposite my Kritsa book stockist. I advertised the ‘open to all’ party with local food and traditional music via Facebook, local posters, plus personal invites, and Crete Today ran an editorial a month before the launch.
We catered for fifty people and over eighty came. Luckily, the wine didn’t run out!
My friendly estate agent made a generous contribution towards the party costs and invited potential house buyers in the area at the time. All guests had a free draw ticket and prizes were unique memorabilia of the launch.
I used my blog, Facebook groups/page for follow up reports with party photos, and posted photos of participants on their Facebook page to ensure their friends knew they’d attended the event.
Crete Today and the local Greek paper ran follow up articles.
Group 3. People who actively seek out books and websites set in Greece and often refer to themselves as Grecophiles.
- I set up a WordPress website and blog, http://kritsayvonne.com/ with the tag line ‘Kritsa, at the heart of it all’. I chose to pay for .com and to be advert free.
- I joined many Facebook groups and participated for 8–12 months prior to publication of Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa.
I’m widening the remit of my website to develop a resource about Kritsa and blogging on a wider range of related subjects resulting in increased search engine referrals.
Since completing the free WordPress #blogging 101 course, I follow more blogs, ‘like’ and comment frequently, and interact with other bloggers. However, I skew anything I do to maintain my brand.
To grow the number of website visitors I hosted a blog party in the lead up to the launch, http://kritsayvonne.com/2015/05/25/blog-party/
My participation in a range of Greek focused Facebook groups gave me legitimate places to advertise the book launch, run book giveaways and make occasional links to my blog. I tried to do similar in groups dedicated to historical fiction but quickly realised that my novel doesn’t meet their readers’ expectations of that genre. Although it was worth trying, I’ll stick with the Grecophiles!
- Identify more retailers in East Crete to approach once I’ve found a way to reduce the cost of books and transport.
- Identify potential partners to investigate mutually beneficial ways of promoting each other and/or marketing the book to their customers.
- Follow up more ideas from Sell Your Books by Debbie Young.
- Stop procrastinating and get on with my half-written sequel!
OVER TO YOU
If you've got a great case study of targeted marketing to share, please feel free to mention it briefly in the comments box – or if you're an ALLi author who'd like to write a separate guest post of your case study, please let us know!