Whatever you decide to do; promote a book, sell at-shirt or develop a new training program you are going to need people interested in what you are doing.
The first thing you need to do is to feel free to try out different things, and here probably the strongest reason not to work with a publishing house in first place, I really felt the need to “go back” to school and learn.
You need to start testing, trying different approaches, measuring what works and what doesn´t no matter what you think. You will find out very fast that what you want to believe might be very different from what your audience will.
In my case, I always thought that my book was targeting “global” people with a sense of modernity and absence of geographic and cultural barriers, meaning that English language should be an easy first option to publish.
Since this project was an author edition I took the opportunity to learn a lot about a lot of different things.
My strategy was to give away the first and second part of the book and see how things would develop before committing to further steps.
I understood that a crowdfunding campaign could only have a chance of success if the readers and supporters base was developed in first hand. My ultimate goal was actually to have an official printing edition.
What I initially thought was something like this:
(Click to Enlarge)
My first step was the creation of a website using WordPress (easier since I already use it in my classes) and commit to started publishing every week a post with a chapter from the book, initially I did it in Portuguese.
You can check the final result here : http://www.bookrosaliadecastro.wordpress.com
Next I created a facebook page (in Portuguese language) and later also a Pinterest page, a Youtube page and all the new posts I publish them in my Linkedin profile and also twitter.
With the platforms in place I officially started the ball rolling in mid November.
First I sent a message to all my Portuguese contacts in Facebook which I did one by one (that was hard but very rewarding) and ask personally three simple tasks; to like the page, to share it with friends and to give me feedback on the story.
Never forget, when you ask for help people usually do help.
Out of 400 Portuguese contacts I receive more or less 100 replies and on the very first day the Facebook page got 167 page likes, not bad for a start I thought, my initial objective was set, I wanted to get at least 500 followers by the end of the year, fortunately day after day the Facebook page gained traction and by the end of November I had 2,769 page likes.
(Click to Enlarge)
I was not sure if people would like to read the chapters on the WordPress website or in the Facebook so I tried different approaches, with more text, less text, full chapter included, just a link forwarding to the WordPress website ,etc.
I kept measuring the Facebook statistics and also the WordPress ones, comparing and analyzing comments, feedback, etc. The speed you can control and correct a campaign online today allows any person with some basic skills to enjoy fully the beauty of it and with totally independency.
By the end of November the WordPress Website had 1,085 visitors, meaning that only half of the people going to Facebook page were continuing into the WordPress website.
Interesting also to see that despite the fact I was mainly promoting and posting targeting Portugal and Portuguese, Brazilians were almost half of numbers when comparing to Portugal and I had no idea how to launch an author edition book in Brazil.
(Click to Enlarge)
At the same time I had an interesting growing number of people signing to follow the WordPress website which mean a stronger commitment to follow the story.
The project started moving and as a result I got my first considerable number of comments and finally started to understand a little better what was the profile of my readers, since it was not something I thought about it before.
Looking at the statistics it seems that this book was written for a majority female audience mainly between 25 y.o and 44 y.o, at least when looking at Portuguese readers.
So…by December 2014 I knew I needed to fine tune my communication looking at my audience.
(click to enlarge)
I kept publishing on a regular basis, everyday I started alternating chapters with pictures, chapters and music and since the story is strongly influenced by sounds, a playlist was created inside the WordPress website, at the same time I tried to publish the music videos in Facebook and Youtube channel.
With the numbers rising I decided to open the English version both in the WordPress website and also in Facebook in mid December, it was the time to test the original hypothesis about creating a product that could be interesting globally.
Above all I understood how hard it is to segment a book for online English-speaking customers, it is insane even to start, specially if you don’t have the big marketing budgets.
I immediately understood that my readers were spread out in different geographies and cultural realities, honestly…very hard to figure out a plan.
(Click to Enlarge)
But numbers are numbers and looking at the increasing number of Spanish readers I decided to translate the first part of the book in order to launch in January 2015 another language version.
I got carried away with the first feedback I received from readers asking for different languages, asking for more new chapters per week and suddenly I had a growing base of readers and followers but also a growing base of problems.
That was probably my first big mistake, by multiplying the number of idioms I end up multiplying the number of problems, costs, time, mistakes, complexity, etc.
By year-end I got 6,281 page likes in Portuguese Facebook version, 659 page likes in English Facebook version and finally 2,114 visitors in the WordPress website.
I had created in six weeks a “little community” of 7.000 people which made me very happy but I was not really sure what I was going to do next, so…I decided to continue to test new things.
I was ready to continue learning.
Do you want to know what happen in 2015? Well…dont miss my next post 🙂