Bringing Your Story to Market—A Special SCBWI Event in Sydney and Auckland

Thursday July 20 and Saturday July 22

A casual evening and a delicious lunch with top US Marketing Specialist Susan Raab, President, Raab Associates, an agency specializing in marketing and branding books/products and art.

Susan Raab has been in the book, arts and education business for more than 25 years. She founded Raab Associates as the only agency dedicated to promoting and marketing children’s books and family products. Over the years, that has expanded to include marketing for associations, educational institutions and arts organizations.

You can find out more about Susan here:

In Auckland and Sydney, Susan generously shared with us her key marketing points in promoting your book. She firstly spoke about the changing nature of marketing, mostly notably the movement from TV to online with the added change that audiences can now talk back, thanks to many and various social media platforms.

Once upon a time, if you were chosen by a publisher, you would be treated royally and each book would be marketed until you were made a sensation.

Now, however, creators are expected to turn up not only with the work, but with a marketing plan. When Susan first spoke about this to clients, she was disdained as if marketing was a dirty word. She emphasized that creators don't have to do it, but that you may be at an extreme disadvantage if you don’t.

Now down to the nuts and bolts of what Susan covered.

The Brand is YOU

  • you need to craft your message
  • nurture contacts
  • build infrastructure eg data base of contacts
  • make it as easy as possible for yourself to manage
  • cultivate community. A good core community can make a big difference.

Many platforms can help-Here are some to consider.

  • Outlook Zoho – database management
  • Constant Contact/Mailchimp – newsletters eblasts
  • PRNewswire/PRWeb – press release distribution
  • Cision/Marketwired – media list development
  • Pitch Engine/24/7 Press Release - create social makes releases
  • Hootsuite/SproutSocial – Social media management
  • Feedly/GoogleNews/Pocket – news aggregation. Scoop up news and post it on your media.
  • Muck Rack newsorg that watches trends.
  • HARO – media calls for info. Help reporters find info. 
  • Crystal Knows

Marketing Priorities

  • You want the least cost and most value
  • Websites are easiest – lays everything out simply. Good for a snapshot.
  • Other things skew from there. Eg social media, blogs, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Press releases, newsletters.
  • School visits, events, festivals, conferences

Self-publishing Tips

The advantage is of course you control everything, but make sure you:

  • Compare platforms – Createspace, Amazon Kindle Direct, Lulu, Ingranspark)
  • deal with a legitimate publisher.
  • Hire a professional designer and editor.
  • Invest in great cover design.
  • Ensure production looks professional
  • Prepare a website, blog, marketing campaign.
  • Get social – FB, Instagram, Twitter etc
  • Connect with influencers – people who have the same interests as your book.
  • Explore crowd-funding options eg Kickstarter, Indiegogo
  • Consider becoming a publisher

Let’s Talk about Social

  • Where is your fan base?
  • Which formats do you prefer? Only choose ones that suit you.
  • Who has good social presence?
  • Make it efficient and fun.
  • Make sure it is consistent. Doing everything is not necessarily best. Choose your best platform, stick with that, use it consistently and often.

Email Marketing

  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp
  • Mad Mimi

Media Monitoring

  • Google Alerts
  • Alltop – search topics and it will give you the most recent blogs.

Content Creation Tools

  • Storify – cross platform stories
  • Biteable – video
  • Tiki-Toki Timelines
  • PowToon - animation
  • Piktochart – info graphics
  • Audacity – audio editing
  • Canva - design

Marketing Planning Advice

  • Self promotion goals
  • Outline your strategy
  • Decide on messaging (word and design)
  • Fine-tune as you go.

Promotional Goals

  • Get active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Increase blog presence, do guest posts.
  • Consider podcasting/Youtube
  • Book event/skype
  • Conferences/Festivals
  • Schools and libraries
  • Contact with press