Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dipping a Toe into Marketing Waters

As a charter contributor to this blog, I’m really going to miss it.  I have gained so much from this participation, including the discovery of my “inner blogger” which lives on with my contributions to the Huffington Post.  I hope you will follow me, like me and comment. 

Mostly, I’m grateful for the wonderful community this blog has created.  It has expanded my horizons—I have read books by everyone who blogs, and more.  What an amazing group of writers!

However, this is NOT the end of iNK Think Tank, which is gaining a head of steam.   Last week, Dorothy talked about our new endeavor The Nonfiction Minute  It is a legacy of this blog.  What are its chances—this new communal brainchild—of making its way in this world successfully?

I decided to find out by sending out an email announcement to the iNK mailing list—people who are interested enough in children’s nonfiction to have registered in the iNK database of our books in print.  I wrote a personal email (we know that people are more likely to open an email with a name on it) rather than a press release or corporate announcement. I quoted Alex Siy’s concept for it and gave them the link to the seven Nonfiction Minutes we have published as a sample of what will come in the fall. 

Within seconds I had a letter of congratulations from Nick Glass, president and founder of  Then I started checking the stats page for the NM website. I watched with amazement as the graph spiked.  I ran a report on the mailing.  The average mass mailing has an open rate of 8%--This one is 11.89% with a 53% click-through to the site.  As of early this week there was a total of more than 1300 page-views.  Since the number of page-views exceeds the number of clicks from the mailing list, I conclude that people are sending the link around.   In addition, our Nonfiction Minute Facebook Page is open for comments and I received a lot of personal emails:

“I really enjoyed these Nonfiction Minutes.  I could definitely use them in my classroom.  I teach second grade and my district will not invest in a reading series.  This has it's good and bad points as you can imagine.  It is tough to write lesson plans when there are no materials.  Some supervisors want text in the kids hands which can be tricky without many books, especially nonfiction.”

“Wow is all I can say. I loved the stories and I know my struggling readers will too. I used to do ‘The Reading Minute’  and it took time to find the articles or write my own, but these are done for me. These will be great for writing constructive responses on theme as well.”

“These sound bites are delightful. They add information and satisfying detail to topics that should be of interest to all. I will recommend them in the upcoming presentation I will be giving at the Ohio Association of Gifted Children (OAGC) this fall, and to my elementary school teachers in my school district.”
“This is spectacular!! I love it! I just wrote a short piece about Stubby, the dog. Funny coincidence.Your work never ceases to amaze me.”

“I love this! I am a special education middle school teacher and can't wait for this to come out in Sept! The kids can read and hear and then see a picture to help them remember it. I would make up one or two test questions that would be on our standardized tests for each one.”
  “Love, love, love the nonfiction minute.  Great choices and thank you for the audible for each as well which permits all learners equal access. My students adore learning facts as relayed to them by talented storytellers. I am now thinking differently about each potato chip I eat.
"Thanks for being inspired and then actually executing your great idea.  I will share with my librarians and they will pass it on.”
The Nonfiction Minute is a blog for kids about the various aspects of the world the fuel our passions as authors.  It is our opportunity to show (not “tell”) the world why we win awards.  It will lead to interest in us as brands—people who write about the real world through the filter of individual minds rather than adhering to the text-flattening guidelines for textbook writers.  Feel free to spread the word.

This mailing was a tiny test of the marketing waters. The idea is to do a soft launch—build a buzz before we go live in September.  In August we have a marketing plan to reach 13 million teachers. I’m fastening my seat belt.  Stay tuned.......This is only a "see you again, soon!"

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