After losing her beloved father at a young age, Angela Campagnoni set out to write a book that helps children going through similar devastating losses. In March, she published I Want to See My Papa, a touching, illustrated book to help children understand loss, bereavement and healing through love and acceptance.
Writing was a self-healing process for Campagnoni, but the real journey had just begun. “It’s a lot of work, once you hit marketing,” she admitted.
Campagnoni was fortunate to already have a strong social media following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, from her work in the fashion industry. Even with her pre-established networks, she still considers the online marketing to be a fulltime job.
“If you don’t have a social media presence already, start it early, early, early,” she said. “Even with my amount of social media, I still felt like I was late. It’s hard when it’s your first time because you don’t know what you should share, and what you can share.”
“Get those things done when you’re not also trying to promote the book and push the sales,” she said.
Though it may seem like a risk to put too much out there before the book has been published, Campagnoni found her posts of the initial sketches from the book to be the ones with the highest engagement rates.
Instagram has been the platform where she’s connected the most with her audience, and she considers it an invaluable resource to authors. “Taking advantage of hashtags and having people share photos of themselves with your book is a great way to gain traction,” she explained.
But, she doesn’t discount her other online platforms. Facebook does take a lot of work to get the followers up, but Campagnoni finds joining groups and cross promoting helps. “You definitely want to make sure you share the stuff on your personal page. The more views and shares that Facebook sees that your post gets, the more it filters into people’s news feed,” she explained.
Campagnoni has even found that social media engagement has helped her to develop important industry connections.
“Through my Instagramming, I was actually contacted by an organization in the UK that will be putting together a seminar with the various organizations that will be dealing with children and bereavement,” she said.
Another organization in the UK had reached out to her via Twitter, and she’s since been liaising with both companies to get the book distributed to their networks.
Campagnoni has also found that social media allows her to develop more personal connections with her readers. “I’ve had so many people direct message me to share their story and why they’re buying the book,” she said. “I always take the time to write back and ask them what they thought of the book.”
This kind of engagement certainly doesn’t happen overnight. “It’s definitely a steady climb,” said Campagnoni. She stressed the importance of consistency.
“I was out sick for a week, and I saw a slow down in engagement and a slow down in sales. The day I got back into it, sales started coming back in again,” she said. “If I take a break, the book takes a break.”
She’s also a strong advocate for organic engagement, as opposed to paying for someone to promote the book. “You can get sucked in really easily to pay to promote your book, but I honestly don’t see the value in it,” she said.
Campagnoni believes if you can constantly be adding engaging conversation and interesting materials, with time your audience will see it. “It’s a time investment. You’ve got to make that book important to them,” she adds.
Outside of social media, Campagnoni has been using the media contacts she’s developed through her work in Nova Scotia to gain some publicity. Even with the leads, she still had to do extensive research to find relevant news organizations and determine the best contacts at those outlets.
“I even went to Chapters and went through all the different parenting magazines and took a look inside the magazine to find out what their contact information is,” she said.
Campagnoni sent her press release and media kit to more than 80 outlets. Since the book has been published, she’s done two televised interviews – one with CTV Morning and one with Global News, and has been featured in several publications including the Chronicle Herald, Book Reader Magazine and ReFINEd Halifax Magazine.
“I loved the fact that none of them referenced my work in the fashion industry. It was kept completely separate,” Campagnoni said. All of her interviews also had a different angle, which allowed her to elaborate on both the educational aspect of her book, as well as the personal journey she’s gone through.
“Anybody who’s doing this process will probably have those times of self-doubt,” she said. “It’s unnerving to put your book out there and pray that people like it. I had to remind myself why I was doing what I was doing.”
Next, she plans to take the book on the road and line up some signings around Halifax. Campagnoni will also be participating in Indie Author Day at a bookstore in Nova Scotia on April 29. Visit Campagnoni’s website – www.iwanttoseemypapa.com for more.