Guest Post by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A
I’m gearing up to self-publish my first book, Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go. It’s about our turbulent journey through the international adoption, and subsequent relinquishment, of our son who struggled with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
It is a memoir, and I am aware that I have to be especially smart in its marketing and promotion because publishers consistently told me, “Memoirs don’t sell.”
I think the hardest thing about selling any book is to make sure it’s well written. I sent mine through two major edits, with two different, but talented, editors. Currently, I’m waiting for my proof copy before I submit to Amazon’s Create Space.
In the meantime, I’m building my platform so the book competes well against the many others in the memoir genre. I’ve consulted with several people for help and guidance, and read books including, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer. It’s a huge resource, and I’m realizing I should have started months ago, but, better now than never!
Here are the strategies I’m using:
I followed Denise’s suggestions in her articles on The Twitter Experiment and I am adding 200 followers per day. I use Tweepi.com to add 1000, then wait a day and keep those who followed me back. I delete the rest. I’m trying to find people who will actually read what I’ve written, so I searched “adoption, adoptive families, Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD, Trauma,” etc. I click on “top results,” then begin following their followers. Many follow back, and they are the audience I’m looking for.
Using the same principle, I searched the keywords above on Facebook and found several pages to follow.
I started a Podcast in January and invited an attachment-disorder specialist as a guest. I posted the video on YouTube, and the audio on ITunes. You can find it by searching “Broken and Brilliant.” Both are linked to my website.
My son is a filmmaker, so we created some short films . They are all very different, but all have to do with relationships, God’s love for us, growth, healing, etc.
- Combining Podcasts and Films with Twitter and Facebook
After we had several podcasts and short films, I started posting on the Facebook pages and Twitter. Doing this for just two days brought over 150 views and several shares. We’ve now topped 500 views in 16 countries. People have started contacting me asking for resources.
- Guest Blogging
I’ve asked friends and acquaintances if I could guest blog for them. Many said yes, and I’m preparing a few different posts to help spread news about the book.
- Book Trailer
We used royalty-free music, a voice-over of me, reading selected passages, and video from our trip to Vietnam. See it here.
- Church Bookstores and Adoption Agencies
I’m purchasing 100 books to give away for marketing. I’ll hand deliver to church bookstore managers, etc., and ask them to read it. If they like it, they may decide to carry it.
I’m now contacting local newspapers. I ask for journalists who cover local stories. Five communities in my area have a significant number of adoptive families, so my story is relevant to these communities. I’ll be able to offer a compelling story for the journalists, who may decide to write about my story and promote my book. Because I am an expert on attachment issues, my information is helpful to newspapers and local news agencies.
I’m finding my audience through this process. With work and follow-through, I hope to sell many more books than I would otherwise. I’ve put a lot of work into this project, so I want it to succeed and have the ministry impact that I believe it can.
About my book:
This wasn’t a book I wanted to write, but found it to be therapeutic after our difficult journey.
I actually wrote the book three years ago. Then, it sat in my computer until this past January. During that time, I worked with a publisher and a coach trying to figure out how to turn this story into a self-help book. As I said in the introduction of this article, I kept hearing “Memoirs don’t sell.” Yet, each time I took a stab at something else, I found myself uninspired and overwhelmed.
Other people had already written what I was attempting to write. They did it well, and I couldn’t find my voice. I didn’t have the desire to write a book just to write a book. I truly wanted to write something that uniquely mattered. As I prayed about the New Year, I kept hearing, “Finish the book.”
So I did.
And now I hope my promotional journey helps you when you finish and publish your book! If you know of anyone that can benefit from the info in this guest post, or my book Relinquished, please pass along this blog link to them!
Carrie O’Toole is a Board-Certified Christian Life Coach by the American Association of Christian Counselors (A.A.C.C.), and holds a master’s degree in Human Services, specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University. She practices in Colorado. You can pre-order Relinquished here on her website.