Add Sparkle to Your Marketing

Author Kieren Fitzgibbon with his son reading to an enthusiastic audience at a local library.

Think outside the square to successfully market your book

The Magic Trampoline author, Kieren Fitzgibbon, knows that the path to being a successful author isn’t straight-forward. Along with writing an exceptional story, there are many marketing pathways to consider, some will add more sparkle than others. But which is the best?

Fitzgibbon has some valuable marketing advice for authors. He believes new and emerging writers need to think outside the box to get noticed, and he has a clever idea up his sleeve which has worked wonders for this innovative author.

All authors need to market themselves

Whether an author is traditionally or self-published, they are required to actively promote their own books and, in some cases, devise their own social media marketing strategies; especially true for self-published authors.

While the internet has made some traditional marketing and PR tasks easier, they’re not always the best promotional vehicles, Fitzgibbon says.

He believes that the secret to successfully selling self-published books lies in personal interactions.

Face-to-Face marketing success

Fitzgibbon, who has written and self-published two books, The Magic Trampoline and The Smelly Penguin Poop-house, has found face-to-face moments with potential customers to be the most powerful selling tool for him.

The author doesn’t dismiss the need to sell books into the usual outlets and distribution channels. His books appear in local bookstores, via a distributor on Booktopia, Angus and Robertson, QBD Books and Amazon. He says that seeing his book in-store is a real buzz.

But his experience has shown that exposing and selling books face-to-face with potential customers, particularly in the early stage of his authoring journey, has been more powerful than the traditional methods of selling books. 

Building relationships builds market share

‘The most important thing is to develop a personal relationship with potential customers by talking to them directly. I give them an insight into the story and how my own boys feature in it and because of this, how it speaks to other young readers,’ says Fitzgibbon.

 ‘Sometimes they take a real interest. Once, this led to a recommendation on Facebook where I sold 50 books in about 30 minutes!’

Fitzgibbon said he achieves these phenomenal sales by taking books to his workplace, selling door to door, and even taking his books with him when he goes camping, chatting to other parents about his books. 

‘Of course, I always take all or most of my boys with me. I think it’s great for them to talk to people in this way. I’ve never had an unfriendly person – mostly they’re keen to see the book,’ said Fitzgibbon.

‘You want to have as many super fans as you can possibly get, and what is better than knowing the author and stars of a book to fall in love with one,’ says Fitzgibbon. ‘You just can’t beat word-of-mouth recommendations.

Fitzgibbon plans to release a third book and build on the series over the next decade but he believes that it’s essential to conquer the local market because, ‘If you can’t conquer local, then you won’t conquer global.’ 

He admits the biggest mistake he made when starting out was, ‘assuming that marketing my own book wasn’t important. You must stay busy – mostly it’s fun to do anyway.’

Given the considerable size of the children’s book market, he believes it’s important not to be motivated by money alone. His intention was to turn his bedtime story for his kids into a real book, which he’s done, successfully.

‘If you have the motivation that makes you want to spend valuable time writing a book that is unlikely to make you a huge profit, then you can perhaps succeed.

I’m at the start of my journey after two years – I would love to still be sharing stories like The Magic Trampoline in 10-15 years.’

Overcoming your fears can lead to success

Fitzgibbon knows that selling face-to-face might be daunting for some authors but says the rewards make it worthwhile.

One of many moments came whilst reading to four and five-year-olds at a local childcare centre, which he said can be a challenge.

‘At the end of the reading, one of the kids hugged me and wouldn’t stop looking at the book. I had a tear in my eye that they had loved the story that much,’ he said.  

So there it is folks … cultivate an army of super fans locally to help take your message global.

Silvana Nagl

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