I have worked in marketing and promotions for a couple of decades now, but there is always something new to learn, especially in a new country and a new market. This experience was no different.
The book is in English, and my target market is more than fluent enough to read it (the levels is accessible rather than complex) so I chose to all my messaging in English. This was a mistake. Half way through I was advised to use more Dutch and the change in reaction was immediate.
I also realised after feedback from someone who attended a workshop, that my messaging was confused and confusing. I had gotten carried away with all the things the book COULD be and had missed focussing on what it actually IS!
Both can easily be classified as rookie errors, which is certainly how I feel about it. But in the spirit of not being too hard on myself, they certainly provided some great insights and reflections. I had forgotten how hard it is as a creator to separate yourself enough from your work to know HOW to speak about it to other people. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own enthusiasm instead of answering the simple questions: what is in it for your audience? What’s the benefit?
The way I chose to present the book at each event also elicited interesting feedback: I chose to do everything fairly off the cuff, using a slide show to keep me loosely on track. This was both praised and criticised, making it hard to decide how effective it was.
I met some amazing people, both on the organisational side and from the audiences that came along and already some unexpected conversations are taking place. Now that the book is out, I need to change gears and start thinking about other things, other ways to keep moving forward. That’s a challenge.
All this made me think about all the things I have said to bands, poets and authors over the years about how to go about marketing yourself, so I took a moment to distil the experience into 5 takeaways.
My 5 Takeaways from Launching your own book
1) Take the time and effort to distil a clear, easily digestible message out of your content. Don’t get carried away with all the options.
2) If you are marketing in a multi-cultural environment, it’s good to indicate that you can include all the cultures you are launching too
3) You can’t be all things to everyone, so don’t try. Let the product be what it is.
4) When you get up there, just be the real you. You’ll cop some flack, but that’s better than being discovered a fake
5) You never know where these things can go or lead, so don’t try and force it. Get out there, do your thing and be open to whatever happens next.
The book’s doing fine. I am busy looking for new avenues and collaborations and my mind is clearly racing. In short the launch did everything I had hoped, and more.