Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Wonderings from Wanderings: Marketing a Travel Memoir

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wonderings from Wanderings: Marketing a Travel Memoir

I had written a book and worked with editors to polish it. It is now being proofread and next week I hope to submit it for publishing with iUniverse. The time to prepare for marketing it has begun. Just like publishing, there are two kinds of marketing: traditional and digital. There are four Ps in traditional marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. Digital marketing aims to navigate social media.

My publisher will take my manuscript, format and design it, and produce it into both printed and e-book versions.  That takes care of the first P, product. I will take their recommendation for the second P, price. They are in-charge of distributing them to dealers, book stores, and websites, including their own retail site. That takes care of the third P, place. I have to take care of the last P, promotion.


I have three target markets: 1) Filipinos, 2) RVers, and 3) the general traveler. How do I reach each one? I will certainly use the marketing principles I learned from my career. I will not use advertising as a promotional tool because it is just too expensive. I have BFFs and a husband who are experts in public relations (Jingjing Romero) and selling (Ann Gatmaytan or the Philippine market and Bill Colborn for the American market).  

PR is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual (or an organization) and his target market.  What differentiates it from advertising is that it does not involve direct payment for the exposure obtained. Inherent content value drives exposure.  Communication campaigns may include news releases, feature articles, interviews, talks, launches, etc. Launches are currently being planned for Manila, Seattle, Calgary, and London, places where there already is a pocket of supporters.

An additional approach that is part of sales in traditional marketing is identifying accounts who would be interested in acquiring multiple copies of the book. I have identified a few. The book’s success would work towards their interest because they are mentioned positively many times in the book.  Hopefully, they would be willing to support the book in some small way or sponsorship.

The advent of the Web has changed the way we communicate, however. As every publisher I talk
ed to told me, the key promotional tool for a book is its author’s online platform. This is loosely defined as an individual’s visibility, authority, and proven reach to a target audience. It involves the ability to gather followers by producing and/or publishing work in outlets that the target audience reads. 
My own online platform is largely founded on a blog I started in 2010 and got noticed only in 2012. It now gets about 15,000 views a month (I am told known authors have 30,000 a month) and a Facebook Fan page of more than 2,500 friends.  I have recently built upon this foundation with Carolina: Cruising, a Facebook Business Page, @carolcruising on twitter, carolcolborn on Instagram, Carolina Colborn on Pinterest, and Carol Carreon on LinkedIn with 200+ followers each. An author website pulls these all together.

I learned about all these new ways through three very helpful travel bloggers’ groups I joined on Facebook (Boomer Travel Bloggers, We Travel, We Blog, and Travel Bloggers Mega Share). All these social media tools are used to build, as agreed by all the experts in the webinars I have attended, a robust email list. The goal of one’s online platform is to funnel interest into a veritable mailing list of people you can directly talk to. A direct appeal to individuals in your target market is the best way to promote a book.
I don’t know which phase I spent most time in. But writing, editing, publishing, and marketing a book are all time-consuming steps. This four-step process has become an intense second journey of my life.

Photo Credits: Meg Jerrard in Travel Bloggers Mega Share and We Travel We Blog and Suzanne Fluhr in Boomer Travel Bloggers 

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