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This is how to market a memoir!

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You’ve written your memoir, or are perhaps still writing. The art and craft of writing a memoir are foremost in the creation stage but there will come another stage afterwards that is to commit to market a memoir you have written. I will share a process of reaching as large an audience as possible for […]

You’ve written your memoir, or are perhaps still writing. The art and craft of writing a memoir are foremost in the creation stage but there will come another stage afterwards that is to commit to market a memoir you have written.

I will share a process of reaching as large an audience as possible for the book you have worked so hard on. It’s not too early to be thinking of marketing.

I will mentor you on this very subject by sharing my process for my most recent memoir French Boy /A 1950s Franco-American Childhood. Since this is an independently published book, it is my responsibility to identify and then reach out to my potential audience. This is the audience that in some way can be said to have been waiting for my memoir—or your memoir.

Where is my audience—and yours, of course—to be found? What do they read, where do they post, where do they congregate?

My process for answering these questions also applies to your memoir. Implement as it pertains to your own book and its audience.

  1. I estimated that my largest and most interested audience would be other Franco-Americans—French-speaking Canadian-Americans born between 1940 and 1960. Why are they my prime audience? These are the men and women who have lived an experience analogous to mine and they may be quite interested in seeing their own childhoods replicated in my story. My task therefore has been to find this audience. Luckily I have many venues to approach. There are blogs, podcasts, and associations to tap into.

Who is your primary audience? Who are the people who share your experience? Who has been waiting for your memoir? Where do they congregate?

  1. But, of course, I really don’t want to limit myself to just this group which I consider my primary audience as I market a memoir that I am so attached to. Neither should you. I know that there will be many younger Francos for whom the story of Franco-America is an interesting and attractive one. They will want to read about the experience of their parents, or their grandparents. I must keep these people who are Franco-Americans but not of my generation in front of mind.

Who else might be on the sideline of the primary audience for your memoir? These are also primary readers but they form a subcategory. A memoir about your sports achievements as a senior might interest middle-aged athletes who are just behind you.

  1. In addition, I think there are many people who are actually not Franco-American but who have Franco-Americans in their families or who may live in a New England community with a large Franco-American population. I would include in this group people from “from away” (as we say) who find themselves rubbing elbows with many people who identify as Franco-Americans.

Who is your ancillary audience? Which interested audience must you include as they could contain many buyers? A food memoir may interest travelers.

  1. My memoir, French Boy, is entirely set in Maine, so I really mustn’t overlook Maine history buffs who want to go beyond the usual Anglo history and examine a more diverse Maine. I’m setting up speaking engagements in towns without a significant Franco population in addition to the cities with significant Franco numbers just so I can reach these Maine buffs.

Does your book have a geographical audience? Can your memoir fit into a category that might seem tangential? For instance, you have written about your Down Syndrome child. Might you reach out to any parent with an exceptional child?

  1. In addition, I know that there are a lot of Francophiles—lovers of the French language—who are curious about the existence of a Francophone population in Maine and New England. These people probably studied French in high school and college or have traveled to French-speaking countries and, finding themselves in an area with a strong French history, they now want to learn more about the area’s historically French-speaking population.

Does your book have an audience that you could describe as a curious one even if not viscerally interested readership of your content? A money-investment memoir might interest people interested in saving. So many possibilities to market a memoir.

  1. There are also Franco-studies programs across New England. Generally, these are minors programs that offer a reading list for their students. They also invite speakers to come to address students. Visiting classrooms is something that I have always enjoyed and there is a stipend associated with this activity as universities are generally not indigent.

Does your book have potential for institutional marketing? Can you find a venue to speak about your topic? It may not be at a university but there are clubs, societies, and companies that focus on your topic. Find them.

  1. Corollaries to the Franco-studies programs are the Maine- and New England-studies programs. My text about Franco-Americans who have contributed enormously to this region is completely appropriate, and since they too will order books, they are not to be overlooked.

Again what are your institutional supports—your next-in-line institutions? If you can sell classroom sets of books, you will do well.

  1. I mustn’t forget New England libraries and historical societies. At the very least, they may be worth the sale of a book or two, and, at best, they would have a stipend for you to speak to their memberships. I have spoken to annual meetings of various groups and have been able to collect stipends and bring books for sale.

Don’t forget libraries and professional groups you can market to as you consider how to market a memoir.

  1. Of course, there are many people interested in good writing, and I must not forget to appeal to them. These people can be approached via reviews, newspapers, blog tours, and so forth.

Whenever you do anything online that will stay online, be sure to use a title that is searchable. Stuff it with keywords. Forget the poetic in favor of the prosaic that has keywords embedded in it.

Have you pitched your book as ‘good” writing?

  1. And lastly, to help you market a memoir, I would include anyone who is interested in process and implications of ethnic acculturation and that assimilation of bilingualism in language acquisition. Therefore I would look to university programs, professional associations, and blogs that are interested in this topic.

What is the broad appeal your book may have that is associated with its theme? A memoir on house building might appeal to a group interested in food if the book has a section on maximizing the cooking and dining rooms

These ten foci I have just led you through are what I am going to pursue in my marketing. I’m not going to do it all in the next month. I don’t have the money or the energy to do a huge blast of a launch. Instead, I will do what is called a soft launch and proceed down my list of ten potential audiences starting with number one— the Franco-American born between 1940 and 1960—and then number two—Franco-Americans generally interested in their group’s history—then number three—non-Francos interested in Franco-American history. That’s how I will prioritize my marketing.

Create your list and proceed to market to each group.

While it is true that the first year sales will be your biggest, it is also true that books continue to sell years after they have been published. My mother’s book, We Were Not Spoiled, published in 2014 continues to make sales every month. While these are no longer in large numbers, for a small publisher who has a number of books out, this trickle over many books can begin to add up, if not to a living, at least to a side.

If you would like to explore receiving help with your memoir—on any aspect of memoir writing or publishing, know that we offer a 30-minute complimentary get-to-know-you coaching consultation.

If you would like to view this post on how to market a memoir as a YouTube video, click here.

Below is this week’s FREE video e-course.

And remember: “inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard it’s hard.”

Good luck writing your stories!

I have curated the following e-course just for you.

   ~ Larger Audience than Family   

   ~ Don’t Neglect Your Memoir Marketing   

   ~ Write for Your Audience  

   ~ Whom are you writing for?

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