Hi! I’m Stacy, mother of 2, teacher of 17 years, self published author of two book series’ and soon-to-be 15 books and owner of Hop Off the Press, LLC. I have been doing the whole self publishing gig for about 3 1/2 years now. About half of my author career was pre-Covid, half after, so I thought I’d write a blog post comparing my self publishing life before and after the pandemic and offering tips and advice for you!
MARKETING STRATEGY: School visits
Before COVID: I visited schools in person, charging for my time, bringing books with me to sign at schools. My presentations would be about an hour long and I would stay as long as the school wanted me to. This would often take an entire day.
Now: I visit schools virtually. I do free school visits for a few weeks in September, a week in December and another week in February. The rest I charge for. The purpose of the free visits is to spread the word about my books, to sell books, to make it affordable to all schools, and to establish relationships with schools and teachers. I also get email subscribers from the order forms I send home.
MARKETING STRATEGY: Local events
Before COVID: I did about 25-30 events every year including: farmers markets in the summer, craft fairs in the fall/winter, author signings at local book stores etc.
Now: I’m in Minnesota, and we have opened up somewhat. After not doing any events for about six months, I have started to get back out there a bit. Last summer, I did two events. This fall/winter I did five. My husband and daughter got COVID, so I haven’t done any events in a couple of weeks and I’m happy to be home with my family. Traffic at the events this year has been crazy. Most people were wearing masks and I sold more books than ever. Before booking an event, I check on the amount of traffic I think they’ll get, their fee and the time commitment.
MARKETING STRATEGY: Social media
Before COVID: I spent an hour or two each day building up Instagram and Facebook, engaging with other people, and running ads.
Now: Same. This hasn’t changed. In fact, now that I’m not doing as much in-person marketing, I have more time to do virtual marketing. I’m posting in local FB groups and directing people to my website to get signed books.
See what I’m doing on Instagram and Facebook. Check out my brand new webinar All About Instagram!
MARKETING STRATEGY: My website
Before COVID: Didn’t do much with it- wrote some blog posts.
Now: I built a shop and am now selling books from my website. I’m also sending more emails and building up my email list. Subscribe to receive my free self publishing emails every month! Read old newsletters here.
MARKETING STRATEGY: Local stores
Before: My books were available in about 25 local shops. I would just stop in as I was running errands and ask if they wanted to sell my books.
Now: Some of the shops closed their doors because of COVID. I also learned to do a lot more of the work virtually. I post in local FB groups asking which shops people recommend I sell books at. I then contact their manager via email, social media or phone to ask if they’re interested. I’ve learned that is a better strategy than just dropping in- a better use of my time and gas money. I also really try to sell my books wholesale only- 40% off. I now have my books in 45 local shops!
MARKETING STRATEGY: Amazon ads
Before COVID: Running ads for each book. Spending a lot of money on ads to get my book up there in ranking.
Now: Still running ads, but I’ve taken tons and tons of courses and done a lot of coaching since then. I’ve learned a lot and now I’m making more money from Amazon, not just feeding Amazon money.
Summary: I’ve had to be more flexible and adjust my business to less in-person and more virtual, like a lot of people. It has it’s pros and cons, but I’ve still made it work for me. I’ve saved some time since I’m doing less in-person events, and I’ve been able to allocate those hours into figuring out more virtual ways of marketing.
Something else I’ve managed to do more of is coaching other authors! I now have an online author school that offers self-paced classes (use blackfriday40 at checkout to get 40% off for a limited time), I have hosted many webinars and have the recordings for sale in my shop and I offer one-on-one consulting. I forgot to turn off my discount, so if you purchase from my shop now you can still get 25% off my webinars with the coupon blackfriday25.
I love hearing from authors! How has the pandemic changed your marketing plan? How has it changed your self publishing business? Remember: be flexible, be patient and go with the flow! There are some things you can’t control!! And this means YOU, Stacy! (yes, I’m talking to myself, don’t judge me.)
Want to chat? Schedule a consult with Stacy here.