A friend of mine suggested I re-write a previous post I made here on my blog about marketing and publicizing a book. He told me that very few people understand that, while a major a coup, publishing a book is winning only half the battle. He suggested I write about what I have been doing, specifically, to get the word out about my picture book app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, particularly since I’ve taken a somewhat unique and varied marketing approach to the matter. Taking into account my almost twenty years of marketing experience, owning and running a promotional marketing company, Tagsource, perhaps I do have something to contribute in helping others on marketing and brand messaging a children’s picture book, or any book for that matter. I don’t know. But believe me, even with my professional background, even I am still feeling my way. All that said, in just three months, I do feel I’ve made significant progress, and hopefully, if you are a writer, you can benefit from my experiences. So what did I do?
I hired a Publicity Agency:
I knew that I needed to get the word out exponentially to the masses, and the best way to do that was for me to hire a publicity agency, right off the bat. After thorough research, I selected Smith Publicity, a global publicity firm, and contracted with them on an initial, six-week publicity campaign. Special thanks to Lauren Covello, Publicist, at Smith Publicity for her work on publicizing, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. With the help of Smith Publicity, I’m happy to announce we are off to a great start! During and after the campaign, Smith continues to deliver some interesting results. The most notable: InformationWeek asked me to be a contributing, bi-monthly writer covering the educational and mobility segments on their online digital publication. As a busy executive, I have to look at the investment of time and weigh the ROI on the writing obligation. For me, this was a no-brainer. InformationWeek is one of the world’s largest information technology publications. They have over 220,000 subscribers and receive something like 2.4 unique visitors to their website each month. My profile picture and bio will be positioned on their website with each article they publish, which will link back to my businesses and my book. Publicity turned marketing. I like it. Not to mention, this “writing gig” is a pretty major bio booster.
In addition, Smith Publicity lined-up numerous radio and print article interviews for me. iMedia interviewed me about approaching technology use for children. Recently, I wrote a bi-line article for Today’s Parent, “Coming Soon to an Electronic Device Near You.” Today’s Parent boasts a readership of over 100,000 site visitors a month, and the article included a blurb about me and the book. I have also enjoyed being on various talk radio programs. I really enjoyed this particular radio interview on Tots and Technology on IMI Tech Talk with Tom D’Auria. (Move ahead to about the twelve-minute mark to bypass all the tech news at the start of the show.) I am in the process of putting all my radio interviews up on SoundCloud, so stay tuned for links to all of those. This interview with Derrell Connor on 620 WTMJ Wisconsin Talks was another one of my favorites, if you haven’t heard it yet. In addition, I’ve been interviewed on the Kim Pagano Show, Manchester University’s radio program, and several other programs throughout the country and Canada. The goal is, with each interview, people will act and download my book.
I Collaborated with Connected and Celebritized People Who Helped Me Produce My Book:
Aristo Media, the publicity agency who represents Robby Armstrong, the Nashville star who wrote and produced my book app’s original Americana-style musical score, pressed news about Robby’s involvement with Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. That press release went out to many country radio news outlets, and the release has cropped up all over the web! It was pretty neat to see Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore mentioned on a CMT site! Country Pulse also wrote up a nice story called, “Catch a Rising Star,” about Robby and mentioned his collaboration on my book. You can read about Robby on his website, here. In addition to Robby Armstrong, I selected Mr. Steve McCoy, a renowned radio broadcaster to narrate the book. Steve boasts a huge fan base and has a lot of clout in the world of broadcasting. Mr. Doug Lawrence and Mark Ceccarelli, both notorious illustrators, and former original storyboard directors for SpongeBob SquarePants, co-illustrated my book. When I produced my book, I knew that each of these unique collaborators would have vast networks of their own. I wanted to cast my personal net out as far as it reached through my own network, but I knew that having networked, connected people working on my book would do nothing but bring more recognition to my project.
Something Interesting Happened, I Became Perceived as a Bit of an Expert:
Being an author who produced an animated book straight-to-digital through my publisher (Skies America)brought me some publicity I didn’t expect. All of my work garnered me a bit of attention as a tech expert. Recently, I was asked to write a bi-line article on app development : http://www.beginningiosdev.com/app-case-studies/children-book-app. Circle back to the radio interview on Tots and Technology, being interviewed for the iMedia article on kids and technology, and then being asked to write on mobility topics for InformationWeek. It’s all connected, and was an outcome I wasn’t expecting.
I Put My Experiences to Work:
I’m a marketing entrepreneur, a conversationalist and a networker, and I put all that experience to work for me. I set up a Facebook page where I dialogue with my fans, and tweet about my book and experiences on Twitter via @toniaallengould. I converted my existing blog to an author’s page and changed the domain to www.toniaallengould.com, to brand myself. There, I continuously pressed new articles about my road to publishing and authorship.
I take pictures of kids who are engaged while reading the app:
I’m producing swag and giving it out to various contributors and people who have become book evangelists. I produced coloring t-shirts with washable markers and posting pictures of kids coloring the t-shirts. I produced magnets, and microfiber cleaning cloths for electronic devices. I deployed the services of the promotional company, at www.tagsource.com, for the swag.
I’m in the throes of being scheduled to speak at an elementary school that has recently moved to an iPad only curriculum (notable since I have an iPad only book), and really do hope to start working with children on writing and going after their dreams, and will invite the press to be there whenever I have a speaking engagement. I can’t wait to spend more time in the classroom with kids engaging them about reading!
I created several videos featuring kids who enjoy the book while showcasing the music and the narration:
Through all this marketing effort, the book made it to the 2nd Best App in the App of the Week Contest at iHeartThisApp. This is a parent/teacher/peer voting opportunity and you can help by voting anytime for the book by clicking the link above. Sam also reached the Top 100 Books in the App Store list for iPad, which in my elated and humble opinion is a major feat, given the legions of books out there! Recently I saw that we are at #100, if those stats are even accurate. But, oh what it would be like to reach #1!
Even better, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore just got a 5-Star Video Review at Give Me Apps where also the reviewer mentions the great functionality and the collaborative efforts that went into the book. At one point in the review, he describes the animation as “something that almost looks like a Hollywood movie!” Here’s their Blog Review as well. Right after the review, Best Preschool Books, put Sam on their list! That’s some really great news and hopefully will continue to help me reach my target demographic, children ages 4-8.
As you can see, I have a lot of great things in the works after just three months since my book app went live in the App Store on iTunes. Writing a book is one thing, getting it published is another, and marketing and publicizing a book is still another. I can honestly say—it’s all hard work. I can’t tell you if I’m doing it right. I can only firmly say, at this juncture, that I’m laying down some important groundwork for the future success of my book.
Finally, I’m Still Marketing:
If you don’t have an iPad, and want to hear the book, you can download the full, narrated book with music here. If you do have an iPad, you can download my book in the App Store at iTunes. Next up? I hope to have a hard copy, conventionally printed book published by early 2014.