Exploring other marketing avenues – Etsy, Pinterest and YouTube

Self-published are always looking for effective ways to market their books. There are a multitude of sites that cater to readers or authors or both. But there are other options that authors may have not considered.

Here are a few of the more off-the-beaten path options for marketing or selling your book.

Etsy

Etsy is a world-wide, Internet marketplace for people to sell and buy unique goods. It is a place where people can sell vintage items or crafts or jewelry that they made. (I sell customized birthday invitation on my Etsy store – Another World Cards.) But it also can be a place to promote and sell your book – even if you only sell e-books.

Not a lot has been written about Etsy as a community and platform for authors. I ran across the suggestion of using Etsy on another blog, so I thought I would check it out.

A quick search brought up some books for sale – some were vintage or used books, but some were new. Quite of a few of new books were craft or how-to books. But there were some fiction novels – some that are print-on-demand and others that are instant download of e-books. (Limited to 20MB and it must be a PDF file.) And at 20 cents for a 4-month-long listing, Etsy is an inexpensive way to reach another market.

etsyEtsy is not just about selling merchandise. It is also a place to connect with others. Etsy has its own community There are teams to join that are full of people with common interests. A quick search brought up a handful of teams for author promoting authors. You don’t have to be a seller on Etsy to take part in the teams or forums.

In the forum section, you can ask questions about selling on Etsy, including how best to sell your novel. And best of all, if you can’t find your answer there, help is only an email away.

YouTube

I am sure all of you have seen a video on YouTube. Everything from crazy cat antics to scenes from your favorite movie or TV show to music videos appears on this site.

Anyone can set up a free account to upload video files for either public or private viewing. (I have often uploaded my kids’ yearly birthday videos on the site and then just shared the link with family and friends. No one but those with the actual link can see the videos.)

Once a video for public distribution has been posted on YouTube, others can share the link, which makes it a great platform for viral campaigns.

I posted a book trailer on YouTube for my first book, Summoned. Now I know some authors love book trailers, and others don’t see their benefit. A well-done book trailer can tantalize readers with details about your book and entice them to buy it. But it all depends on how many people view the trailer. YouTube’s algorithms allow users to stumble across your book when they search for similar books or authors of the same genre.

youtubeYou can also post your own videos as a video blog (also known as vlogging). Here you can post like you do on a regular blog, but instead it is a video of you answering questions or giving fans updates. If you keep your videos interesting and engaging, you will gain subscribers to your YouTube channel.

Though this may be a good marketing strategy, I have enough trouble keeping up with this blog that I am not considering vlogging any time soon.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media platform designed as a digital bulletin board where users can collect posts and website pages in one centralized place. Pinterest users create profiles, find and follow their friends and have the ability to tag these friends when “pinning” something that interests them. They can also “re-pin” their friends’ “pins.”

You can create multiple Pinterest “boards” or just have one. And you can make your boards private or public. Items that you or others have “pinned” appear in a visual feed. And no the site doesn’t just have recipes and craft projects. It boasts so much more. Basically, any website or blog can be “pinned” on the site. Once on the site, it will show up in other user’s searches.

pininterestSince Pinterest is a visual page, it makes sense to pin your book cover. You can also fill up a board with quotes from your book or even your book trailer. You can even pin contests and giveaways or offer Advance Reading Copies.

Beyond promoting your book, you can put together an “inspiration board” letting others know what inspired you to write. You might even consider creating a board of books that resonate with yours. Pin books of the same genre or feature a character similar to yours. The more links you create build connections that can result in more people finding you and your books.

So if you are a self-published author and haven’t taken the time to check out Etsy, YouTube or Pinterest as a method of promoting or selling your book, I encourage you to do so and find out if any of these venues will work for you.

 

Throwing a Christmas party for the kids

Two years ago, my friend threw a Christmas party for several of the kids in the neighborhood. She hoped to make it an annual event but the next year, no one could settle on a date for the party so it never happened. Rather than let that happen again I decided to take over and plan one for this year.

christmas invitation

Now, I have never thrown a kids’ party in my home. All birthday parties have been at a party location. But I am not a stranger to planning and throwing a party as I have done numerous ones at their schools. Of course there you have other parents helping and the teachers to keep the kids behaving.

This party next Monday will include 13 kids ranging from age 2 to age 8. So this will be an adventure. I am taking the main activity from my friend’s party and then adding a few games. This means we will start off with decorating gingerbread houses. For Jase’s kindergarten Christmas party, another friend, Stacey, and I had the kids decorate these cute little houses that Stacey built out of

DSCN2045graham crackers. She actually put the ones together for first neighborhood party too and has agreed to build them for this year’s party.

Now my original idea was to keep snacks simple – popcorn and brownies. And then I made the mistake of looking on Pinterest. There are too many cute ideas out there! But I don’t want to spend a lot of time making unique but time consuming snacks, so I am making donut snowmen and snowmen popcorn cups. I may still have brownies and Texas Gold bars (look for the recipe as my January Recipe of the Month). And of course, we will have hot chocolate,  juice boxes, and my daughter’s favorite – Sparkle Water (sugar-free sparkling flavored water).

Of course, decorating gingerbread houses and treats aren’t enough. We will be exchanging ornaments, which is another activity I have taken from the original party. My friend also did a second craft, but my kids have opted for games instead of an additional craft. Now as I said, I have run many preschool parties but my kids are just a bit older now. I felt the need to look for some better games. Again, I turned to Pinterest. And here is what the kids chose.

Game 1 involves dividing the kids into teams of two. One of them will be the decorator and make the other kid into a snowman using toilet paper, paper “buttons,” scarves and hats. The first team done wins. It should be hilarious.

Game 2 is to have an indoor snowball fight. Here in South Texas we don’t see snow too often. Most of these kids have only seen snow once or twice and then it was but a light dusting on the ground. The kids and I made these fake snowballs that are perfect for an indoor fight.

P1020986And that should wrap up the party. We bought little reindeers from Oriental Trading Company to hand out as well as made these cute reindeers that have Nestle Crunch mini candy bars inside. Overall, I think it should be a fun time, and if it goes well, I might be planning next year’s party too!