Marketing Support for New England Bookstores
The first Silent Lee series title was launched with a PR campaign from Smith Publicity that generated numerous reviews and kickstarted an author Instagram platform. Goodreads and two Instagram book tours created awareness among readers in the category. Positive reviews in the San Francisco Book Review (“readers are held in lasting suspense”), Insatiable Readers (“I loved the characters, both lead and supporting”), Books for Kids Blog (“Two unlikely but intrepid characters bond in a time-traveling fight against a dark enemy in a style reminiscent of Hermione Granger’s and Harry Potter’s adventures between the muggle and magical worlds”), Beth’s Book-nook (“Such a fun read!”), Midwest Book Review (“An original and delightfuly entertaining read from first page to last”).
Alex Hiam has begun a fascinating, fun, and original new series for middle grade readers featuring a smart and sassy 15 year old protagonist who is sure to appeal. The time travel and school of magic concepts aren’t new, but Hiam breathes fresh life into them here with the Girls’ Academy. Sie’s relationship with her mother adds needed tension to the story, and her relationship with Aunt Gen is one we all wish for. I look forward to sharing more adventures with Silent Lee and the Girls’ Academy students.
– It’s All About The Book, April 30, 2019, Children’s, Magical
Each title in the Silent Lee series will be the subject of a publicity campaign starting prior to the pub date to insure editorial coverage of the book and topical interviews with and guest blogs by the author.
The goal is to build the visibility and reputation of the series with annual or semi-annual new title launches over several years.
- Social Media
The first book’s publicity campaign included the creation of a business Instagram account initially managed by Smith Publicity and now managed through daily posts by the author (see @alexhiamauthor on Instagram). Instagram serves this role well because of its large number of readers and book enthusiasts (including hte bookstagram community) and because it reaches both adult readers/influencers (such as parents, librarians and teachers), and a great many younger readers of both middle grade and YA fiction. Many of the posts are dominated by actual prospective readers in the 13-17 year old category and the majorioty of followers are in the correct demographics for influencers and/or readers.
The Wattpad community is also young and reading-oriented, and a new campaign to generate visibility for the series is anticipated on Wattpad in the coming months. The goal is to create a critical mass of young readers who are famiiar with Silent Lee and her adventures, so that word of mouth brand building supports bookstore sales by making the titles recognizable to younger readers.
Facebook news feed is used to publicize Instagram and Wattpad postings.
The promotional activities have included Goodreads and Instagram based book tours, which generated considerable exposure but are hard to quantify, as well as regular (often daily) postings on Instagram and Facebook. Those too can be hard to quantify. The promotional placement of Instagram posts is quantifiable and to date, has produced 3.6 million exposures.
A new book series takes time and effort to make it known to potential readers. Conventional advertising media do not reach interested young fantasy readers specifically enough to be economical, but Instagram drills down to very specific audiences, making for high impact at relatively low cost. The Silent Lee series is being promoted continuously through IG.
Some of this advertising is national and international given Instagram’s broad reach. Building platform-wide interest in the series makes sense because IG users communicate with each other across geographic boundaries.
The main campaign targets readers in the author’s regional market, where the initial bookstores are most likely to be located. (The books are available for order or reorder returnable through IngramSpark.)
A mix of promotional targets are in use, from Boston-specific (since the first book takes place there), to (in most cases) the six New England states. Because there are so many social media users in California and Texas, these states will dominate any promotion that is automatically targeted by IG. The SIlent Lee promotions are therefore usually targeted by hand to the New Englad region to insure high exposure there.
In addition to geographic focus, promotions target those with expressed interests in fiction, fantasy, and middle grade and young adult book series. Some posts have also included readers with an expressed interest in diversity (because Silent and her friend Raahi are nontraditional lead characters that diverse readers may identify with).
And while indiivdual posts attract their own demographics, generally the campaign has reached readers from 13 to later teens or early twenties, reflecting the intended age range for target readers of the series. (Possible younger readers are not in theory on Instagram, but may incidentally be exposed to the program under the radar.)
Most of the posts show a slight tilt toward female versus male, reflecting the female lead character and also the similar skew in readers overall.
Posts can be promoted upon request to specific bookstore markets by town, with call-outs to visit the bookstore/s.
IG posts to NE States, fantasy, YA/middle-grade readers:
|Post date & Description||Impressions|
|10/20/19 autumn leaves||1,102|
|10/17/19 book, pumpkin, mums, painting||11,819|
|10/16/19 second book teaser (both covers shown)||1,792|
|10/12/19 review repost with both covers||1,600|
|10/11/19 book in autumn harvest still life||8,945|
|10/10/19 book in Little Free Library||38,121|
|10/6/19 dogs looking out windows||28,653|
|10/5/19 book with pumpkins/seasonal||20,233|
|10/4/19 maple leaves morning walk||33,922|
|10/3/19 Raahi from Silent Lee books||9,768|
|9/29/19 IG book review repost||80,069|
|9/29/19 Book with second book’s cover and review quotes||24,142|
|9/27/19 Silent Lee giveaway contest||4,024|
|9/27/19 book with antique ‘station hack’||5,915|
|9/27/19 book with antique car||10,452|
|9/26/19 Book in autumn foliage bookstgram style||33,967|
|9/21/19 bookstagram post with autumn foliage||4,255|
|9/20/19 second book cover reveal 2||149,606|
|9/17/19 books in stack in front of old painting||47,081|
|9/17/19 Book cover plus open chapter teaser read||16,714|
|9/15/19 favorite YA/middlegrade books 1||28,249|
|9/15/19 author in studio||9,671|
|9/15/19 author’s garden||12,653|
|9/13/19 landscape general||18,364|
|9/12/19 cover with teaser mystery puzzle||19,168|
|9/12/19 Book in elegant setting||8,280|
|9/12/19 author’s pets||7,495|
|9/8/19 magical landscape||1823|
|9/8/19 in the author’s garden w/bee (teaser for 2nd book)||18,229|
|9/5/19 author’s garden photo||20,917|
|9/4/19 author’s family||7,201|
|9/4/19 teaser for second book||137,661|
|9/4/19 author’s family||2,795|
|8/31/19 book portrait||5,160|
|8/31/19 book with coffee and donut||3,381|
|8/30/19 Book review repost||8,184|
|8/30/19 repost from book tour||64,895|
|8/30/19 repost from book tour||64,895|
|8/28/19 in the author’s garden||32,141|
|8/28/19 cover on author’s mantle||23,826|
|8/28/19 still life composition with book||24,480|
|8/27/19 repost from book tour||13,427|
|8/27/19 author, general||18,865|
|8/25/19 author, general||7,238|
|8/25/19 bookstagram photo with flowers and china||91,835|
|8/25/19 author’s pets||17,580|
|8/25/19 repost from book tour||1,574|
|8/25/19 repost from book tour||2,405|
|8/23/19 author, general||8,609|
|8/22/19 repost from book tour||1,863|
|8/18/19 repost from book tour||3,334|
|8/17/19 repost from book tour||5,628|
|8/16/19 repost from book tour||3,042|
|8/16/19 repost from book tour||12,651|
|8/15/19 repost from book tour||15,029|
|8/8/19 book giveaway promo announcement||34,923|
|8/8/19 books, topical||3,457|
|8/7/19 author’s dog||36,963|
|8/6/19 dog napping on book||21,170|
|8/1/19 book with quill and ink pot||55,538|
|7/30/19 Book in author’s studio window||19,001|
|7/30/19 Book with mabled cover notebook and statue||78,343|
|7/29/19 book on model boat in pool||5,840|
|7/25/19 book with middle / YA classics||40,155|
|7/22/19 repost from book tour||37,290|
|7/22/19 Silent Lee portrait by author||173,770|
|7/22/19 San Francisco Book Review repost||data lost|
|7/17/19 cover and review quotes||135,612|
|7/17/19 girls holding keys over book cover||13,471|
|7/17/19 side door key club teaser||38,987|
|7/16/19 book and author’s antique typewriter||23,671|
|7/16/19 Midwest Book Review quote||27,603|
|7/15/19 book cover and antique tyewriter v 1||15,877|
|7/13/19 Harry Potter series new covers discussion||111,006|
|7/10/19 Book with author’s inspiration titles||32,512|
|7/8/19 books by author||33,881|
|7/8/19 Book open to chapter header in library/witchcraft||179,290|
|7/6/19 cover and manuscript||15,541|
|7/5/19 Unlikely friends||67,587|
|7/2/19 book and historical novel source materials||19,783|
|6/29/19 book and author’s studio||15,149|
|6/28/19 summer theme w/cover||59,335|
|6/28/19 Pup with author’s book/s||19,864|
|6/25/19 Author’s inspirations||1,568|
|6/24/19 author’s studio and Silent Lee portrait||8,126|
|6/24/19 Book and antique telephone||103,528|
|6/24/19 Book in library with flowers||151,197|
|6/23/19 Reading the book (Sadie)||78,936|
|6/20/19 Author’s pup with book||43,965|
|6/19/19 Book and magical academy gate||18,815|
|6/19/19 cover and magical door (Parker House)||19,081|
|6/19/19 Magical gates to Silent’s school of alchemy||61,194|
|6/17/19 Sadie Hiam with antique key (Silent Lee model)||30,638|
|6/16/19 Sadie / reader with book||47,619|
|6/14/19 pup with mannuscript||56,686|
|6/13/19Book in library with rose||54,227|
|6/11/19 book, Sadie reading||93,904|
|6/7/19 Tea and mystery?||182,011|
|5/30/19 book tour repost||33,150|
|5/21/19 repost from book tour||2,865|
|5/17/19 cover with antique keys||3,345|
|5/7/19 magic quote||3,197|
|4/29/19 open book with keys||18,601|
|4/24/19 Back Bay teaser||1,751|
|4/19/19 Silent Lee portrait||5,668|
|4/10/19 book and magic keys||4,364|
|4/1/19 book and magical keys advance tease||2,248|
|3/22/19 puppy and book||4,663|
|Total impressions TD (10/22/19 snapshot) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||3,623,888|
Excludes impressions from regular non-promoted posts because impressions are not reported for them. Excludes impressions from book tours and IG reviewers because the data is only available to the poster.
Following are several examples of IG posts that have attracted viewers and likes on their own, and also proven to be productive when periodically promoted.
IG Promo Example #1, “Tea time for Silent Lee and her Great Aunt Generous in their (very old fashioned) library”. 151,195 impressions, 92,218 reach (unique individuals), 14,316 likes, Northern New England states, ages 13-34, 61% women, ongoing (stats from Oct. 22, 2019)
IG Promo Example #2, “Tea and a mystery?” 182,010 impressions, 112,729 reach (unique individuals), 7,465 likes, Northern New England states, ages 13-17, 55% women, ongoing (stats from Oct. 22, 2019)
IG Promo Example #3, “Imagine a hidden world where everything is old fashioned—
and brimming with magic!” 55,538 impressions, 38,761 reach (unique individuals), 8,294 likes, Northern New England states, ages 13-24, 60% women, ongoing (stats from Oct. 22, 2019)
IG Promo Example #4, “Imagine a hidden world where everything is old fashioned—
and brimming with magic!” 78,341 impressions, 53,625 reach (unique individuals), 11,496 likes, New England states, fantasy fiction readers aged 13 up . Ages 13-17, 45% female
IG Promo Example #5, “The new cover!” (Introducing the second Silent Lee book). 149,562 impressions, 61,784 reach (unique individuals), 1,207 likes, New England states, fantasy fiction readers aged 13 up. Ages 13-34, 54% female.
The author teaches creative writing to teens, which can lead to opportunities to create events in support of the book.
Regional bookstores in New England may offer workshops with the author, and he also arranges events of his own to publicize the series at libraries, middle and elementary schools both public and private, and home-school learning centers.
In the initial, awareness-building stage of the marketing initiative, each non-bookstore event is an opportunity to spread promotional copies of the title/s into bookstore market areas, so as to build buzz about the title among young readers and their teachers, librarians and families.
The blog featuring writing prompts on the author’s Web site supports these fun and instructional events: Creative Writing Prompts for Teen Author workshops, https://www.alexhiam.com/category/blog/
Author appearances at bookstores may be scheduled by contacting the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org