by Christine Tabaka
Please welcome prolific poet, Christine Tabaka with her experience in marketing!
My Take on Marketing
What I am about to share is my own view point on marketing, and not based on any hard-core research on my part.
As much as anyone may enjoy writing stories and poetry, writing a book is hard work. You have a lot of spell-checking, editing, formatting, and getting everything ‘just right’ before you send it off to a publisher, or a self-publishing site.
Once you have the book published and in print, getting someone to buy it and read it is even harder still; unless you are one of the well-known writers of our time, or a famous deceased writer. And, to top that off, if you are trying to sell poetry books, it is even harder than fiction or short stories. Among my family and friends, many people I know will even tell me to my face that they have never liked poetry. I guess being forced to memorize poems that they never understood in grammar school didn’t help that any.
The good news is, there seems to be a slight shift in that trend, as reported in NPR: WHYY:
“The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, a collaboration between the NEA and the Census Bureau, found that 11.7 percent of the U.S. adult population in 2017 — or about 28 million people — had read poetry in the last year. Which admittedly may not seem like much on the surface — until it's compared with the 6.7 percent found during the last survey period, in 2012.”
That is where good marketing comes in. Don’t get me wrong, I am still struggling with the marketing part, but I have agreed to share what little success that I have with you.
I have tried buying ads in e-mags and print journals, but cannot say if they ever sold any books. And because I am very uncomfortable with my voice, and I stumble when reading my own work, I have not done many live interviews or readings. I am told by others that interviews and readings are the best way to sell books. They give the listener a taste of your work and draw them in.
Recently there was an article that was shared in many mainstream news media. It was about a woman who put a video on TikTok. She said she had a dream about some obscure out-of-print poetry book. The next thing you know, that book was back in print and selling off the shelves everywhere.
Here is one of the articles about the Tik Tok post:
So, I started asking people who use TikTok for advice. I was told by many writers that they sell a lot of books using TikTok, but also, they sell tons of books with Instagram ads. So I asked HOW? The trick seemed to be to make animated ads with sound to catch people’s eyes!
I am not tech-savvy at all, in fact, I am quite the opposite. I panic at the thought of trying to learn something new on the computer and refuse to use my phone for Internet stuff (I do not have any apps on my phone). So, this was all very scary to me.
That got me thinking. I put up ads for my books on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. I make the ads by pasting an image into PowerPoint, then pasting images of my book covers on top of that. Then I insert a text box and type in whatever I want the ad to say. When it looks like something I am happy with, I save the PowerPoint as a PNG file, trim it, and sharpen it with the photo program that I have (it came with my MS Office).
And VOILA … an ad is born:
I announce when a new book comes out, and I make fun ads for holidays and special events to hawk my books. I cannot really say how often they are successful. I do know that a lot of my Facebook friends regularly purchase my new books when they come out, with or without an ad. As to how many new readers I picked up by advertising on other social media sites, I have no way of knowing. I still have a lot of fun making the memes and ads.
Anyway, with a lot of nerve (on my part) and a little searching, I found several sites that actually allow you to create simple animated posts for different social media platforms. They have different templates for size and shape content. And they are relatively easy to navigate, [HEY, I learned how to use them]. You can custom make your posts and even add music. After you are happy with all the animation & music, etc., you just download them as an MP4 file to add to any social media site.
Here is one of the ads that I made (you can click the link to see the animation and hear the music. Once on the site, click the arrow in the bottom left corner to animate it):
Here is one of the design sites that I found (it is the one that I use the most):
Here is another example: https://www.facebook.com/1118464497/videos/382491240545896/
So, there you have it. If you want to advertise like a pro, but are not tech savvy, and do not want to spend a fortune to pay someone else to do it for you. Now you have the tools to make basic animated ads for social media. I cannot promise you that you will get a ton more sales, I am too new at this to know how it will end up working out for me. But I can promise you that it is easy and fun [at least I think it is].
Ann Christine Tabaka / poet & author
To View all of Christine's work click below for her Amazon Author's Page.
BIO: Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020,” and “2021” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 15 books. She has recently been published in several micro-fiction anthologies and short story publications. Christine lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: The American Writers Review; The Phoenix; Burningword Literary Journal; Muddy River Poetry Review; The Write Connection; Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Foliate Oak Review, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)