Lorraine Allman shares her guide to self-publishing, the business, the launch and social media – Lorraine has mastered them all for her successful book Enterprising Child and now you can too…
Where to start?
Getting social – My social media of choice is Twitter. I’d already been using Twitter for some time and had built a following interested in my tweets, predominantly about business and entrepreneurship, so was happy to continue using that. The key is to use it regularly to inform, educate and inspire those you interact with.
Building a website – Have your site up and running well in advance of the launch. Include as much information on there as possible such as your biography, short extracts from the book, and a ‘sign-up box’ to collect email addresses of people interested in being kept informed about the launch. That worked really well for me and I had a ready-made database of
Writing PR – With support from my publisher we had a press release ready to go just before the launch. Good PR is topical and ‘newsworthy’. We went with the topic of the moment about high levels of youth unemployment and a decreasing number of job vacancies being available to school leavers and graduates, linking this to the importance of developing children’s entrepreneurial potential to create rather than take a job. The releases were circulated widely to secure coverage and invite journalists to the launch.
Amazon reviews – The last thing I wanted was to make a song and dance about the book only for there to be no reviews on Amazon. I contacted colleagues and friends I could rely on to provide an honest review of my book. There are now 13 reviews on the UK site – not all from people I know!
Organising a launch event – There were moments during this pre-launch phase when I wondered what on earth I was thinking of holding a public launch event in London – five hours away from where I live! Organising a book launch event is time consuming, exasperating, but incredibly exciting. It’s not necessary to spend a huge amount of money on a launch event, but it is important that whatever kind of event you have, it works well for both you and your guests and that it’s publicised as widely as possible.
Back to earth…
There’s no denying the exhaustion on arriving back home. It would have been easy to think “well, it’s out there now” and sit back to see what happened. The bad news is, that’s a sure fire way to make your book sink without trace. So, I built on the goodwill and PR from the launch to take things forward by:
Engaging with and building my followers on Twitter, plus using Facebook more regularly as many people interested in my work are active there.
Updating the Enterprising Child website weekly bringing in new features, resources, and news items.
Identifying news topics to contribute to and/or have an opinion on.
Securing a book publicist to work with on a month long PR campaign.
Top tips back on earth:
Keep your online presence (social media, website, blog) up to date and interesting. Set up and maintain your Amazon Author Central page – it’s free and easy to use and shows potential buyers that you are active and engaged in your subject matter.
Develop a clear strategy for your PR and set a realistic budget – sometimes it’s necessary to accept that contacts and know-how have to be paid for. Find a PR specialist who really ‘gets’ your subject area/theme and agree a plan. The results from my sustained PR activity over a month were, and continue to be, impressive. I’ve been interviewed live on national radio, received coverage in national and regional newspapers, and been commissioned to write features for magazines and online blogs.
Look through newspapers, blogs, and news channels regularly, locating hot topics and/or latest research relevant to your work – this has yielded great results for me in terms of making good connections and securing coverage in different media. Look out for speaking opportunities too – I’ve been fortunate to secure several (delivering a seminar at the Education Show, and in May I spoke at an event in Alexandra Palace) which provide great exposure for both me and my book.
Remember the indies – visit your local bookshop and ask them to stock your book.
Finally, stay focused on your goals and be patient. I’ve sent review copies of my book out and not heard anything back despite following up. I’ve written articles for magazines that are still to be published though they were scheduled for publication two months ago.
I’ve had to learn the art of patience and diplomatic follow-up but in return have had some wonderful surprises – just the other week I received an email telling me “Enterprising Child is being featured tomorrow” – it turns out that review copy I sent months ago was worth it after all!
Lorraine Allman is author of Enterprising Child– developing your child’s entrepreneurial potential, a practical guide for parents of children aged four to 14 years. You can find out more by visiting the website at www.enterprisingchild.com or get involved on Twitter @EnterpriseChild.