Platform-Building and Marketing a Travel Memoir: A Guest Post by Sonia Marsh
“Traveling is like falling in love;the world is made new.” Jan Myrdal
I am pleased to feature Memoirist/Motivational Speaker, Sonia Marsh in this guest post. Sonia will share her expertise and experience developing her author platform and marketing her upcoming travel memoir,Freeway to Flipflops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island. I think you’ll agree, she has a very ambitious and engaging author platform and marketing plan.
I started blogging in 2008 because I hoped to become successful like Catherine Sanderson, an English expat living in Paris, who wrote a “gossipy” blog which landed her a book deal.
I soon discovered that blogging can play havoc with your emotions; it’s a bit like a love/hate relationship. I loved receiving comments and praise from my readers, but hated not knowing what to write about when it was time to post something.
It wasn’t until I discovered my brand: “Gutsy Living,” and how I could link it to the message of my travel memoir, that I finally found my focus. My next step was to build a community, but how?
I came up with the idea of starting a contest, which I called the “My Gutsy Story” contest. I then created a video which I promoted on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn groups asking writers to share their own stories about something “Gutsy” they have done that either changed them, the way they think about things, or made their life take a different direction.
My blogger friend, Shirley Showalter, who writes a blog “100 memoirs,” offered to promote the contest on her site. Writers started submitting their own stories, and since I offered to promote them, and link back to their website, the “My Gutsy Story” contest took off. Here are a few suggestions on how you can build your own community.
Tips on how you can build your own community
- Ask others to participate in something you’ve created.
- Make writers feel safe to “open” up and tell their story.
- Help writers promote their work on other sites.
- Get readers involved in your project.
As you know, Dan Blank wrote an excellent guest post, “The first steps to building your author platform.” Dan is an expert on building your author platform and talks about the importance of focusing on your goals, defining your brand, and targeting your audience.
Here are some ideas that I keep in mind when I’m blogging or interacting with my audience on social media.
- Always try to help others.
- Entertain, inform or educate your readers.
- Try something new.
- Keep learning.
- Add video to your website.
- Add podcasts. Dave The Podcast guy is more than willing to help you. He helped me.
- Show enthusiasm, it’s contagious.
- Start a FaceBook Group. I started the “Gutsy Indie Publishers Group.”
- Hire experts when needed. I hired a website designer to get a professional website.
Blogging taught me about branding and marketing, and how important it is for readers to know who you are, and what your blog is about within the first few seconds of landing on your website. Your brand and tag-line must be easy for the reader to discover right away, hence I developed my own, “Gutsy Living: Life is too short to play it safe.”
“Any writer who wants a readership must work to cultivate one.” Christina Katz, the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal.
Another helpful link: “42 timeless ideas to attract more visitors to your website.”
Sonia’s Marketing Plan
I am in the process of setting up my own publishing company which is why I started the Gutsy Indie Publishers FB group.
Here is a list of marketing tips I’ve gathered from various sources and plan on using them for my book launch.
- Pre-sell your book at a discounted rate prior to publication.
- Offer free chapters, essays, blogs, articles or any other format that provides a glimpse into your style and storytelling ability. I plan on reading a couple of chapters and turning them into podcasts.
- Create your own event. You can create your own event and submit it in Chase’s Directory. Just set a date, send your payment prior to April 15th, 2012, and you might be contacted by the media.
- Speak to audiences at universities, churches, public libraries, nonprofit organizations and other groups that have an indirect affiliation and interest with the content. If the audience is willing to book an author the list of potential book tour locations are limitless.
- Contact your local indie book stores ahead of time and form relationships with the store managers. Ask about doing a book signing and invite guests, bring food, and try to get other local businesses involved so you can alert your local press about the event.
- Blog Tours, ask your blogger friends to host a Q &A session about you and your book on specific dates.
- Book tours are terrific and meeting an audience face to face is often the best way to sell books. Stay with family and friends in different parts of the U.S. to cut costs.
- Use video to meet your audience via book clubs, Skype.
- Contact your local media and local radio stations.
- Make a Book trailer.
- Hire a publicist if you can afford it, 3-6 months ahead of your launch date.
Thank you Sonia for sharing your travel and publishing adventures with us! There are some fabulous conversations and links over at Sonia’s new Facebook page: Gutsy Indie Publishers Group so hope to see you there.
Sonia Marsh Bio
Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s a motivational speaker who inspires her audiences to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a “My Gutsy Story”; some just need a little help to uncover theirs. Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family to reconnect on an island in Belize. Download the first chapter for free. Sign up to be notified when her upcoming travel memoir is available. Sonia welcomes new friends, bloggers, writers and readers at Soniamarsh.com (http://soniamarsh.com) You can contact her at: email@example.com.
We’d love to hear from you. Please join in the discussion by leaving your comments below~
Next Week: My new website design will be launched with “Sacred Transitions in the Season of Hope.”
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