The final months to launching the vegan marketing book
Read my previous blogs if you missed them:
By the end of the first week of July I chose to work with Helen Siwak at EcoLuxLuv Communications to help me with a marketing strategy from August to the end of October. Based on that decision, there would be no changes to the book so I went ahead and reset the table of contents and index (adding another 1.5 hours). The final page count was 258, 4 more pages than the first proof copy of the book.
Helen put me to work and told me to get photos of all the book contributors. I also asked for photos/images from some of the other companies quoted or mentioned in the book as examples. I also asked the Canadian contributors outside BC if they had wide video footage I could use for my trailer, since I needed more footage for it. God bless We Animals Media for their amazing video quality!
The artist whose music I was hoping to use for the trailer didn’t get back to me, so I contacted the next artist on the list I met through the Vancouver Vegans Facebook group, Mitchell MacFarlane, to get his music file, and added that to the trailer.
After Jo made some minor tweaks to the cover, I loaded the new files and ordered my second proof. Because there were 4 extra pages, the costs had to go up by another quarter or so. If I knew that page count was going to significantly impact my book price I probably would have had less photos and maybe even reduced the font size, but it’s too late for that now!
I hired Mahalia Abeo Tibbs to narrate my audiobook…then I realized after recording my Acknowledgments file, I made a small change to that section [insert face slap emoji here] so it would need to be recorded again. As nice as it would be to have my voice do that section, the quality would be a lot less than Mahalia’s narration of the rest of the book. We both decided it would be best that she record it.
I looked into how to upload an audiobook to Audible (which Mitali told me has 40% of market share for audiobooks), I found out they do not make it easy for you! You have you to create an ACX account which is connected to Amazon, and your book must be on Amazon before you can load the audiobook, so it’s a good thing I’ve planned to launch the ebook on September 1st, ahead of the print + audiobook on November 1st, as it will take up to 8 weeks for the ebook to appear in other places online. Audible is connected to Apple Books/iTunes, so the book will be available there too. You can also find a narrator through ACX.
While waiting for Jo to do some promotional book images and my second proof copy to arrive, I received Helen’s marketing strategy and accompanying documents. She put so much work into it! But it gave me a good idea of the posts I need to start scheduling for August (and beyond). Even though she created a 90-day social strategy for me (with blog + newsletter + eblast recommendations), there are still a lot more companies and individuals I will mention (and thank) well into November and beyond. I could of course, post multiple times a day but I already plan to post on 5 networks plus Instagram Stories daily, and I don’t think I’ll have the mental/emotional bandwidth to do more than that. If only I had a clone of myself!
I discovered something I needed to fix when looking at my PDF file again…not a huge mistake, but I was reminded that a perfect book is pretty much impossible!
Helen helped me beef up my email and media list, so I followed/connected with those folks on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Kathleen Gage launched v3 of her vegan/plant-based podcast directory and (bonus!) it was on sale so I snagged it and added the relevant pods to my media list.
I got the 3D version of my book image from Jo, so finished my book trailer and loaded it to YouTube.
I scheduled the first week’s worth of social media posts in August and created e-mail templates for e-blasts and newsletters. I also drafted my email pitch to media/podcasts, got on the list at podcastguests.com, and drafted most of my email pitches while finishing the first season of Riverdale (yes, I’m way behind in my youth culture!). Even though I was waiting for Jo to finish the promotional images, I started working on a “share kit” and drafted emails to contributors/others in the book and family/friends/acquaintances who I planned to email in August/September.
Work was slower than normal the last week of July (understandable with our heat wave), so that gave me a chance to draft 5 blog posts for August/September, 3 e-blasts/newsletters, and almost all of the social posts for August.
My proof came in just in time to take photos! It was near perfect—there were two small things I fixed before I ordered one more proof. Now you can enjoy the cover by Jomaira Lopes:
Monday, August 1st was a holiday in BC and while everyone was enjoying their summer long weekend, my husband and I went to our back alley to do a photo shoot! I am probably one of the only authors who has taken photos with a tablet (because people DO read ebooks), so I might set a trend here. Hubs will tell you it’s not easy to take photos of a tablet as it’s easy to get the photographer’s reflection on the screen. Also, I realized only after our shoot that the iBooks settings are visible on the screen, but I seriously don’t think anyone will know.
I also released the book trailer I made, below!
So I knew YouTube flagged the music I used for copyright (which disables me from monetizing it on YT, but that’s fine), but I didn’t know Facebook does this as well. The video appeared fine on Instagram, but a warning came up on Facebook saying the sound was muted in many countries. I disputed the report, so hopefully it gets restored.
I had already boosted the video on my Facebook page, so had trouble disputing that warning, even though the ad started running without a hitch. (My guess is Meta wants the $$ so they’ll let it go!) Something to be aware of when you create trailers. Even though you have permission from the artist, it might be best to use royalty-free music just to avoid the pain of disputing violation warnings.
I recorded a short video for the Resources/References webpage to introduce myself to readers who might visit that page for the first time.
I sent all 75 pitches or so out to various outlets and also posted my release on social media. At this point I already had two pod interviews booked. A few pods declined, and some requested digital copies of the book. Endorser Victoria Moran was so kind to say she would get a copy of the ebook and recommend it to her students at Main Street Vegan Academy.
I checked with my accountant to see if I could sell hard copies of my book without charging PST (provincial sales tax) and she confirmed so long as you aren’t selling more than $10K worth of goods, you don’t need a PST number. Whoop!
About a day after I emailed the editor of vegconomist my ebook, this review came out on the world’s vegan business magazine, no less! Not bad! I booked myself on 3 more podcasts. Some folks got back to me saying they were on a break or they’d add me to their list which is a mile long, but I’m willing to wait since you have to continue marketing your book LONG after it’s out!
On Monday the 8th, I recorded my first podcast interview with Kathleen Gage for the Vegan Visibility podcast. I already know she’s a great interviewer from the time I appeared on her Plant-Based Eating for Health pod (and from listening), but I love how the convo flowed and it gave me more confidence for future podcast interviews. I had been dreaming of the interview the night before so was slightly anxious about it, but this post from Mitali at The Vegan Publisher (not only a book contributor but whose author program I took) boosted my confidence too!
I learned that you can only book yourself as a guest through podcastguests.com if you have a paid profile, so I coughed up the $15/month and figured I can cancel when I’ve completed promoting my book sometime in 2023. I booked one podcast within 48 hours as a result. I also followed up with the media I emailed the previous week and got some declines, but also some requests for the book.
Despite losing my main clients last month, I picked up some new work right away and am already feeling September will be busy…after all when you live in Vancouver, summer can be over in a *snap*!
The fourth week of August, I got the audio files back from Mahalia. We both learned that narration is NOT the same as sound/audio engineering, and while she did a lot of that work for me, for next time it’s worth thinking about hiring a professional or company to do that work. Some of the chapters required some minor changes, but she did an amazing job; far better than what I could have done.
After paying the one-time distribution fee ($4.99 USD) on Lulu, my ebook went live! The link to it is sooo long so I created this shortlink: bit.ly/vmssebooklulu
September: Ebook goes live
I created a launch video to announce the ebook being live, along with the link to Plant Your Seed, a podcast by Fred Ferris. I also explained why the book is marked explicit (which Kathleen was curious about). I don’t think many teens are going to be searching for my book, but parents could potentially buy it for them and I think that’s fine!
I also co-hosted an episode of the Vegan Business Tribe Podcast with David Pannell, who doesn’t usually have guests on. We had a fun conversation!
What I learned (that I didn’t know about Lulu) is that when you make the ebook live for global distribution, it does the same for the print book. So when I found my book on a couple of sites, I noticed the paperback option appeared as well, which was not my intention (not only do I earn pennies per copy on these sites, but I can’t guarantee the quality will be the same or that the book will be printed on vegan ink like it is on Lulu). Mitali suggested I check my Amazon KDP account to see if I can “unpublish” the book on Amazon, but the book doesn’t even appear there, so no go.
I decided I’d continue to promote November 1st as the print launch date on Lulu and do a video in a week or so to explain why NOT to buy on another site (not something an author should have to do!).
A colleague told me she bought my ebook on (Rakuten) Kobo which is cool, and because of that I found out that it was selling for $2 less than retail (at least in Canada). Same with Amazon.ca and .com, but oddly Amazon UK and Australia had marked it up. It’s so funny how they compete for sales. Then I found out my ebook was in the Top 100 Kindle books for the Business > Skills > Communications category! What???
All the ebook links are on my Product page.
A few days after appearing on Sam Houghton’s Founder Stories LinkedIn live show, I heard back from podcaster Fred Ferris (who happens to be an audio engineer) about helping with my audio files. He said that ACX rarely accepts files the first time around so he suggested I try to upload them and see what ACX says. Indeed, there were 3 issues with all the files I loaded, so I sent him the report to see if he could work his magic, and he did.
What’s funny is, Lucca (the intuitive who inspired me to write this book) said in a more recent reading that I’d have one more team member help me, and it looks like Fred was that guy. BONUS that he’s vegan!!
I recorded a few more podcast interviews and booked a date with Friend and Faux (part of Vegan Supply) to do a signing on Saturday, November 5, 12 to 4pm. If you’re reading this and the date has passed but you want to pick up a paperback copy, check to see if there are some available!
About social ads: So I started to boost a few Facebook (and Instagram) posts in September after my trailer ran for the entire month of August. I realized only at month’s end that I may not have added a call to action link in all my ads. When I boosted some posts on IG but not Facebook, I added the link to the ad, but there were 3 ads that ran without a link. So don’t forget a CTA before you pump ad dollars into your posts!
I wasn’t going to send out a second release, but figured I should do one leading up to World Vegan Day to announce the paperback + audio formats. I book more podcasts into November.
One podcast, Sentientism, was one I was most nervous about but my convo with Jamie Woodhouse was so fun and different from some of the others I’ve had about vegan business, career, or the book. You can check it out here.
In mid-October, I sent my audiobook for approval on ACX. It said if all looks good, it should be published in 10 days.
The first batch of my 64 paperback copies I ordered from Lulu came on Wednesday the 19th. I was missing 16 books and immediately contacted Lulu Support to see if there was a missing box. The last “master” box arrived the next day. Whew! Then I went to Staples to get some thin Sharpies and a book stand for my upcoming local signing events.
Jenny at Rock Chocs in the UK listened to the Vegan Business Tribe podcast I co-hosted and wanted to order a few books from me at the author price. It was as easy as ordering from Lulu to ship to her, and then sending an invoice.
I sent a message to ACX on the 27th to follow up on my audiobook, as it was 10 business days after I’d submitted it, but all I got was an automated response saying it would be approved in 10 days if there were no issues.
I made my book live on Lulu on October 31st and found I had to increase my price (from $22.50 to $24.99 USD) due to supply chain price increases, so the next batch I order will be higher in price, but I won’t have to increase the price at my in-person events yet.
November: Paperback and audio books launch
Just as I was posting my launch video on World Vegan Day, I saw an email that said the audiobook went up! The vegan gods were smiling down on us!
It’s been a pleasure documenting my book journey for y’all. Stay tuned for a few more contributor/example highlight blogs, and if you’ll be in the Vancouver or Squamish areas this weekend, please join me at my signing events below! (Please just come to say hi, purchase of book not required.) You’ll also be able to order a paperback from Friend and Faux after November 5 if you’re in North America and at RockChocs.com in the UK. I’ll keep my retailers list up to date on my Products page.
Thank you for reading and being a part of my vegan marketing book journey!