Welcome to a new occasional feature I’m calling #MarketingMonday. This is a place for authors to learn about book marketing from each other and those in the industry. The feature will include helpful website links, interviews, and brainstorms.
Today, an interview with debut middle-grade author Ginger Johnson whose book The Splintered Light (Bloomsbury) just launched last week! If you missed the summary, check my last post here!
Ginger, welcome and thank you for visiting Creative Chaos! What surprised you about the publishing and book launch process?
I suppose what surprised me most (even though EVERYONE told me this) is how much time I spent on things other than writing. I learned so many new technologies and applications to support my marketing efforts. At times, I felt very much like an old dog trying to learn new tricks, but I have a slew of new skills that I hadn’t anticipated.
You’ve been Instagram-ing like crazy! Have your engagement and follow numbers changed?
I haven’t kept track of specific numbers, although I do know I’ve gained probably 100-150 new followers. I used to follow more than be followed, and that has reversed now.
That’s exciting! What was the best marketing advice you got from a fellow author?
One of my fellow 2018 debuts (I can’t remember who or I’d attribute) shared a spreadsheet she had made to keep track of what marketing she was doing and when she needed to do it. I made a similar spreadsheet about six months out to form a concrete plan and to keep track of what I needed to do. If I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have done much marketing at all, or else I would have turned into the Stress Queen while trying to do everything.
Another good piece of advice came from Julie Berry who told me that I only have one debut and that I should do as many events as possible.
I love the advice to keep track of all your marketing activities. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and duplicate efforts or drop something—especially with a debut. What was the best advice or help you got from the marketing team at Bloomsbury?
My publicist at Bloomsbury (Lizzy Mason) is incredibly wonderful. She’s always been a source of cheer and encouragement, and she’s arranged some great opportunities for me to meet with booksellers and schools across the country.
Did you give yourself a budget and if so, what did you spend it on?
I did all of my design work myself (website, book trailer, bookmarks, banner, etc) saving my budget for printing some high-quality swag—really nice bookmarks and large round stickers. I also had a banner printed for bookstore events.
The majority of my budget is being spent on travel. Even though Bloomsbury is generously sending me on a book tour and to NCTE this year, I booked some additional trips to reach audiences in other parts of the country.
I saw that you have a LONG list of venues you’ll visit on your tour. That banner will make it easier for book buyers to identify you as the author and not a store employee. (“Where’s the…adult nonfiction, bathroom. etc…”) How exciting for your new readers.
What aspect of your marketing plan are you most excited about?
I’m excited about my school visits planned during my book tour. I don’t think there’s anything quite like seeing your book in the hands of your intended audience.
Absolutely! Is there anything else you learned or that you discovered that I didn’t ask about?
Marketing is a beast that can consume all your creative energy. It’s ok to not do everything. Some people blog, some people have newsletters, some people tweet incessantly. Once I stopped looking at the marketing everyone else was doing and gave myself permission to do what felt comfortable for me, the marketing became manageable rather than overwhelming.
Thank you, Ginger! Enjoy your tour and readers, you can get Ginger’s book from your local Independent Book Seller
at Barnes & Noble
or on Amazon.