Introducing the Mitten Blog's newest, ongoing feature: Painless Self-Promotion. Debbie Gonzales will share quick tips for reluctant marketeers every month. Here's Debbie to explain her journey, her first tip, and what you can expect in the months ahead.
Over the past year or so I’ve made it a priority to learn all I can about book promotion. I’ve studied the techniques of some of the most prominent marketers in the business. Micheal Hyatt. Jeff Walker. Derek Sivers. Tim Grahl. Paul Jarvis. Carol Cox. Maria Dismondy. You see, my debut picture book is coming out in May and I want to give it every bit of boost I can. Yet, I do not want to over-play my hand by appearing to be self-absorbed, irritating, or one-dimensional. Actually, calling attention to myself feels unnatural to me. I’d much rather stand in the wings and cheer others on than to step into the white hot spotlight. That being said, in order to serve my story well, I’m determined to find out how to promote myself and raise my book’s visibility. I’ve learned some valuable tips that I’m eager to share with you.
It should go without saying that, first of all, it is imperative to have a website. If you possess a glimmer of a hope to be published, you must have one. Think of it as your mailbox on the World Wide Web. I hate to say this, but without a website, publishing professionals won’t take you seriously. It’s not necessary to sink a whole lot of money into the project and websites don’t have to be super-fancy, either. There are a number of intuitive and affordable template-based products such as Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy that will take care of the job just fine. I built mine on Squarespace in a weekend back in 2008. It’s been serving me well ever since.
Your website is the foundation for what will become known as your platform. The word platform means a stage, a stand, or a podium. It’s a place designated for people to be heard and noticed, even those who prefer to keep out of the limelight. Your platform reflects who you are as an artist and an individual. I’ve learned that it is never too early to begin developing your platform. (I’m talking to the pre-published folks out there.) Start constructing your platform today by adding content to your website. “Content is king!” That’s what they say in the publicity world. And, believe it or not, creating content is relatively painless to do.
Back in the Ice Age, when I first became serious about my writing, I attended a Writers ’League of Texas conference where I heard a speaker talk about content. He said to find a topic that feels genuine and authentic, and then create blog posts on a regular basis. He said that it didn’t matter if anyone stops by and reads it. Just create good content. Get it out there. The key to success is the phrase on a regular basis. You get to decide what schedule you’d like to follow. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Whatever. Back then, I decided to post once weekly about simple, inexpensive kid crafts and lesson ideas that I’ve used throughout my teaching career, many of which have found their way into some of my teacher guides. Lucky for me, after a year of dedicated posting, opportunity came knocking on my door. A prominent Texas librarian found my content. Bingo!
I’m also learning that there are other really fascinating ways to create content on platforms such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Once I wrap my head around the ins and outs of such wonders, I’ll return with a full report. For now, get busy and create some fabulous content that celebrates the wonder that is YOU!
Debbie Gonzales is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, and once served as the SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. She's the author of six “transitional” readers for New Zealand publisher, Giltedge, and the forthcoming non-fiction picture book Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records (Charlesbridge, 2019). Deb creates teacher guides for new releases and is the host of The Debcast, a podcast dedicated to the tenacious spirit of the female athlete. Deb earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Subscribe to her podcast on iTunes and/or stop by www.debbiegonzales.com or www.guidesbydeb.com to check out her painlessly promotable content.