Learning How to Promote Myself

I’ve been self-employed now for almost five years, but the world of advertising is ALWAYS changing, and I’m always on my toes trying to find new ways to promote myself. Now that I’m also trying to promote my own self-published novel in the hopes of getting it out there to as many people as possible, I’m finding out that there is SO MUCH more to learn than I thought there was!

The knowledge…IT FILLS ME. So far, these are the steps I’ve taken to trying to market myself a little more effectively.

1.) I Registered a Domain Name

YES. I’ve been making and maintaining my own websites for years, but always for free. I figured, “If I just learn how to do something, then there will be no need to pay a dime!” While this does work for many things–learning HTML code, basic graphic design skills, basic social media skills–no amount of knowledge can make your website appear easier to find and easier to associate with yourself than your own .com name!

It was really hard for me to decide how to do this. I’ve been using Atomik Cupcake Designs as a freelance business name for a couple years now, but “Designs” implies just what it’s supposed to: graphic design. Art. Not books and stuff.

I’m expanding my horizons, and now I don’t just do tattoos and freelance graphic design. I also sell art prints, I’ve written a fiction novel and a how-to eBook, AND I write freelance articles through the website eLance. Oh yeah, and I blog too, I guess. So, I need a freelance website that can integrate all of these together. After a bit of deliberation, I decided to use my real name and create a domain name using MY name. It’s easy to find (especially for writing books!), easy to spell, and easy to associate the product to the person. So, my new registered domain name is www.bytracycampbell.com. I feel so clever! =D

2.) Consistency is key.

This is part of the learning curve here. As you can probably see from my previous blog posts, I’m not super consistent on when I post. My Atomik Cupcake Designs Facebook page is the same way. Sometimes, I get busy at work and forget to post things. And sometimes, I just don’t have anything interesting to say that I think my fans would want to hear.

But, when I DO post consistently, like I did during the Plight of the Humanatee project, I noticed that I got more steady page views, more likes, and more comments. When I disappear for a week, the number of people who saw my page steadily dwindled so much that by the time I’d made another post, I had to almost start all over with getting my posts to actually appear in people’s feeds.

So, I’m learning that if I really want to do this, I’m going to have to put in at least some time to really consistently marketing myself.

3.) I tried the “Boost Post” Option

Facebook has that elusive “Boost Post” option on the bottom of your business posts. I’ve always wondered how effective it was, so I’m giving it a try! I won’t have any results to post about my own experience with this until Tuesday, but I do have an anecdote based on my boss’s use of this on the tattoo shop’s Facebook page.

Our page currently has around 1,200 likes and sees a general traffic of about 500-800 views per week, with an average of between 10 and 30 likes per post. We update the page between two and four times a week, depending on what kind of awesome pictures we have to share. My boss tested the “Boost” feature on a new tattoo picture and set the budget to $20 over the course of 3 days.

On the boosted post, the total views received were over 8,500 views! Remember, for a page that usually only gets around 150 views per post, this was a big deal! In fact, the organic views on this picture were about 240, so the remaining 8,200 or so were paid. The picture received over 212 likes collectively. Most importantly, the page itself received over 40 more likes! That’s a 3.5% increase in the total number of people liking and viewing our page. Now, I can’t say for sure how this has affected the number of people who actually come in and spend their money here on tattoos, but more exposure means a higher likelihood of customers.

My budget is only $5 over the course of 2 days, because I’m testing a one-day free promotion for my book! So, we’ll see how well it works on a smaller scale and how many people download the free version of my novel tomorrow.

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So, that’s what I’ve learned so far…I’m still learning about how to write an effective blog, effective social media advertising, and how to make a useful website, but I feel like I’m doing it! =D If you have any self-marketing strategies of your own that have worked, feel free to share!

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Where Have I Been…? Writing a Novel!

Oh my goodness, this blog is severely neglected. BUT THAT’S OKAY, I have a super legitimate reason! =D

So first, some updates…unfortunately the Plight of the Humanatee Kickstarter did not raise enough money to get that project off the ground. However, I’d still like to invest in a couple prototype shirts and see if anyone is still interested in buying them! HUMANATEE DOES NOT GIVE UP. Right now, though, that project has been put on hold until I have the time and money to properly invest in it and continue the drawings for the rest of the t-shirts. It shouldn’t take long to come back to it though, so you can expect to see more annoying updates about Hugh the Humanatee from me in a month or so. xD

In the wake of the end of the Kickstarter project, I followed a few of my friends in their journey through NaNoWriMo. If you aren’t familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month (hence the acronym), and the organization behind it challenges you to write 50,000 words towards a novel in 30 days! I’d never participated before, but always wanted to, so this year I gave it a shot! It was a lot of hard work and pushing, especially since I’m horrible at following through with writing-related tasks, but…I DID IT.

NaNoWriMo-2014-Winner-Certificate

(that’s my proof that I did it. =D)

However, my novel wasn’t yet complete and ended up coming in at around 72,500 words by the end of it. I worked through December to finish it, edit it (which was a HIDEOUS PROCESS), format it (possibly an even more hideous process, especially since I haven’t even formatted it as an eBook yet), and design the outer elements.

Long story short…I’ve been dedicating all my free time and energy into writing and finishing a novel between November 1st and yesterday.

The end result?

KaleidoscopeCoverSmall

TA-DA. I HAVE A BOOK AND SHIT.

I HAVE A BOOK, GUYS.  And yes, it’s safe to say that I’m extremely proud of myself for tackling this endeavor. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid, so it’s really, really awesome that I was able to do this (with the help of a some supportive friends and a few REALLY supportive ones who offered to read the unedited first draft!). Thanks to everyone who has ever supported my artistic endeavors, even by telling me I could do them. =D

Now, I’m not done with this project–like I said, I have to make it eBook compatible next if I have any real hopes of getting this out to the public–but if you noticed, the above image IS clickable! If you click on it, you can purchase a paperback copy of this book on Lulu for only $8 (plus shipping)! Most of this cost goes to the price of printing the book. but I do get a couple bucks from each purchase. =3 If the book looks interesting to you, I would be eternally grateful for your patronage and your feedback! There’s always room for improvement.

Otherwise, just spreading the word and patting me on the back is good enough for me! 😀

SO. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season (thank God THAT’s over), and welcome back to my dead blog!

*tumbleweed blows by*

…yeah.