Trisha Georgiou, fellow Midwest Writing Center board member, is set to release her latest poetry collection, A Bizarre Sentence, on December 9th at Read Local at 7 p.m. at the Bettendorf Public Library. A Bizarre Sentence is the latest title published by literary publisher 918studio, soon to be known as the selective subsidized publisher, 918studio Press, which incidentally, I have partnered with Lori Perkins to run. Independent of those relationships (though not unrelated), I asked Trisha to provide her insights about book marketing for this Author Spotlight edition.
Trisha has not had a formal, written marketing plan, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t given deliberate thought to book marketing. About her marketing, Trisha said, “Before A New Life was released, I had the opportunity to attend a writing workshop given by Hay House. It was through this workshop that I learned the difference between marketing your book and marketing your name. This has been my focus since. Instead of focusing on marketing my individual book titles, I shifted my energies to market my career as an author and poet. The goal for this shift in energy is to create a name or brand. Because my name remains a constant, it is easier to market as my titles increase. In essence, I am building a reader base so the sale of each title remains constant. In turn, with each new title released, this marketing approach provides more ‘news’ to help market myself.” This is a great point. Often, after our first book, we are just excited to get that out into the world and don’t stop to think about our long term branding goals.
Trisha believes that every writer of every genre must market their books. She said, “There are thousands of titles being published yearly from a variety of publishers and self-publishers. How do you entice people to buy your work, pick your book? Marketing is the key to selling books. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to have enough confidence in my work to get it out into the public. After a few successes and finding a niche, it became much easier. Writing is my passion. I am excited about the written word and promoting literary arts. It is through this excitement that begins conversations and opens doors to new opportunities.”
When asked if she has had any surprises while book marketing, Trisha said, “Every new experience, success and failure, is a learning opportunity. I have learned a great deal through my experiences and being a part of the writing community through the Midwest Writing Center. Marketing for me certainly has not been an exact science and I can’t say I have a natural talent. What has helped me is word of mouth. That has been my best advertising. When your readers are excited about your next title and you share their excitement, it is a great thing.”
Trisha hasn’t focused on marketing strategies or tactics other than attending a marketing workshop. Instead, she focuses on getting out in the public and sharing her passion. “I am not saying wear a neon sign with your book cover. When an opportunity naturally happens, take advantage of the moment. As an example, I volunteered to speak at book clubs. This has been a huge success for me. I not only sell the book we discuss but it also helps to build a readership.” Trisha has followed this passion-based approach to book marketing in her paid advertising as well, “I donated money for an ad benefiting a music program my children were involved in. The ad was placed within the concert notes which announced the release of Quartered Enlightenment. I received a lot of positive feedback and publicity, not only for the contribution to the children’s concert but advertising my career and upcoming book.” She warns that paid advertising is tricky and she isn’t sure she’ll ever solve the math proof to warrant it. “I believe there are advertising opportunities that exceptionally target your reader base. That is a very individual, case by case situation considering most books have a zero or limited advertising budget.”
In addition to building relationships and very selective advertising, Trisha uses social media to market herself as an author. She said, “I am just shocked how it has helped me and the contacts that I have made throughout the world for my books and freelance opportunities. In a cyber-second, hundreds of people can be reached globally with a snippet of insight about your latest work and upcoming events. Book titles are not frequent. Somehow the momentum needs to keep steaming ahead. Readers need to get excited about your upcoming work. I think social media, freelance publishing, and blogs are essential to maintain a following. I use most of the big social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
I asked Trisha what advice she had for authors who are just embarking on the book marketing journey. She said, “This is a great question. I certainly do not consider myself an authority. What did take me time to discover is not everyone is going to like your work. In fact, some will really hate it. The sooner you can honestly be ok with that concept and gravitate to the niche you are writing about, it saves a lot of wheel spinning. If you are writing about knitting, target knitters, not necessarily readers. For example, a few years ago author Jennifer Chiaverini spoke at an MWC luncheon. She has a huge following with multiple books on best-selling lists. She writes stories relating to quilting. Who bought the most tickets to that luncheon? Was it writers or readers? Nope, it was quilters. Quartered Enlightenment and A New Life both have garden themes, targeting middle-aged women who like plants. It is this category where I focused my time and energy. I was invited to speak at garden clubs and books clubs, which again helped build my readership.” Trisha explained that marketing is essential and an author’s books are the extension of the author and advises that if authors find marketing difficult, they should invest in marketing services to help them get on the right track.
On the writing life in general, Trisha said, “Writing for me is a lot like breathing. You just have to do it. Writers look at the world so much differently. I am really thankful that I have been cursed with these writing glasses. Yet at the same time, it is difficult, heart-wrenching, soul searching, and absolutely chaotic. If it is a part of you, you do it.” Well said.
Trisha’s body of work includes My Name is A (1999), Quartered Enlightenment (PbPublishing, 2013), A New Life and other poems of Living Passion (918studio, 2014), and A Bizarre Sentence (918studio, December 2015). Learn more about Trisha and her books on her website at www.TrishaGeorgiou.com or read her TrishaGeorgiouHerWritingLife blog. Reserve your copy of A Bizarre Sentence at http://bit.ly/bizarresentence.