Romi Sharp, Publicist, is the founder of Just Write For Kids (JWFK) – a rapidly growing online support group for writers and illustrators of children’s books.
Romi, what do you consider a successful book in Australia?
‘Successful’ in my eyes means a book (and its author/illustrator) that have created emotion, or a feeling of resonance with their audience on either a small or universal scale. Take Lord of the Rings for example. That appeals to audiences on a universal scale. It’s so universal, in fact, that it has its very own Wiki which you can see if you click here. It’s spawned hugely profitable films and games and has a global audience despite being written decades ago. Smaller-scale success stories also have the same attributes as books like Lord of the Rings – they have well-developed characters that the reader can relate to. They just need a bit more time to build momentum.
Top 3 tips for authors doing their own marketing:
- Make your presence as an author known both online and offline. Contribute to discussions, share your passions, and connect with your readership.
- Have an active and well-presented website with all your author and book information.
- Build your mailing list so you can share your upcoming news, events, literary activities and links back to your website and sales channels.
Romi’s first article in her Book Marketing Secrets series can be found here.
3 most common mistakes authors make?
- Being sporadic in their marketing efforts, or giving up too quickly. It’s tricky to focus on writing and marketing at the same time, but what’s the point of having a book out there if no-one knows about? Especially when you can find help when it comes to marketing by clicking here and learning about companies like Victorious, who can work with you to, hopefully, give you the kind of online presence you are looking for.
- Quick Tip: Plan and schedule your social media / blog posts in advance and aim for at least once a week.
- Being too ‘salesy’. It can be off-putting to the audience to see a constant barrage of ‘here’s a link to buy my book’. Quick Tip: Gear your content to relevant topics / activities involving your book, media features, etc.
- Having no website, or a messy one, with no ease for audience engagement and nowhere to find your information.
Books being a low margin return. Why would authors hire a publicist?
Self-published authors, in particular, have to juggle between writing and marketing (and often times another day job, too!).
Authors face competing pressures in getting their work seen on a larger scale.
I’ve taken on the role of publicist, or ‘publicist to the stars’ as I like to call it, to provide the behind-the-scenes platform to making publicity happen for those who simply don’t have the time, confidence or know-how to market their books.
What services can authors expect from a publicist?
Book trailers and promotional videos.
Blog tours with reputable bloggers.
Facebook event parties.
Media releases and interviews.
Facebook event parties.
Video content (such as author interviews).
What references do you recommend?
Hazel Edwards’ ‘Authorpreneurship: The Business of Creativity’, and ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ by Stephen King.
Lately I’ve found the convenience of listening to podcasts, and I recommend the brilliant Tania McCartney’s The Happy Book, and So You Want to Be a Writer Podcast, as well as Jen Storer’s Girl & Duck Q and Q tutorials on YouTube, and Middle Grade Mavens Podcast for all things middle grade.
Romi & Just Write for Kids:
Romi is a qualified Early Childhood and Primary School teacher turned picture book writer and reviewer, freelance digital marketer, publicist and copywriter who works with children’s creators and publishers… and she’s loving it!
In 2017, Romi launched Books On Tour PR & Marketing – a specialised publicity service for the children’s book market, with multi-media cross-promotion and brand development.
Karen Hughes, author of Kalika Magic, said working with Romi ‘surpassed all her expectations’. Other authors Romi has represented include Debra Tidball, Anne Helen Donnelly, Nicole Madigan, Elizabeth Cummings, Carolyn Denman, and Cameron MacIntosh. Boomerang Books feature Romi’s blog tours.
Romi’s currently featured author is the 2017 recipient of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship, Allison Marlow Paterson, who is published with Big Sky Publishing. Her latest book – Follow After Me – targeted at young adults, blends historical detail, modern social issues and young love in a rural Australian setting. There’s an interesting Q&A with Allison Paterson on Nadia King’s site.
If you’re an Indie or Self-Published author, utilise Hawkeye Book’s quality vetting service and superior search engine optimisation to raise your book’s profile. List with Hawkeye Bookstore.