It's March. Which means it's National Small Press Month. I didn't know about that until today when I read one of the weekly emails I receive from my old book publisher, Outskirts Press*. They provided a list of things that I could do to market my book this month.
To be honest, I've always struggled with marketing plans. I did it when I had my store (and only my store - my marketing efforts were lacking when I went back to my full-time engineering career), and it was A LOT of work. It was constant, never ending. What things could I do to attract attention to my store? To bring customers in the door? Every month there's a holiday or some other designation that business can latch on to as an excuse to draw attention.
I apologize if I'm making that sound like a bad thing. It's not. But every year, it makes it difficult for businesses to stand out. While I'm about to use "Small Press Month" to promote my book "Minding My Business" (which I'll get to a little later in this post), you're also getting bombarded by emails and social media reminding you that March is also National Chronic Fatigue Awareness Month and National Frozen Food Month.
A business owner needs to be extra creative to stand out OR (and this is more likely for most of us) prepare twice as many emails, tweets, and blog posts.
To be clear, I am still a business owner. No, I don't own the retail store. But RIOT Software is a business (I do small consulting projects these days, mostly writing custom Excel VBA macros for people) and more relevant, my book is a business. I have to track income and expenses and market to find customers. That's a business right there.
So... back to Small Press Month. Perfect time for me to hunker down with some extra marketing. I will probably use this as the excuse I was looking for to send my local newspapers a press release on the book. Every business owner should find any excuse they can to send the local papers a press release. When I owned my business, we were featured a few times in the local papers. When my first book came out, same thing.
Another good way for a business owner to use "National Something Month" is to educate their customers and potential customers. Before the month is over, I will post about my path through independent/small publishing. Promise.
Have an interesting marketing idea to share? I would love to hear it!
And in honor of all the things in March, please get yourself some frozen food (ice cream counts or some frozen pie if it's March 14th) and honor the Small Press by reading a copy of my book.
(* My first two books, Cute Little Store and Cute Little Store 2 were published by Outskirts Press. Minding My Business was published in Oct 2013 by Skyhorse Publishing)