For May’s author of the month, we are celebrating Miami-based author, Jennifer S. Segarra!
Over the last few months, Jennifer has successfully been featured on a number of influential #bookstagram pages like @the_bookish_mind and @nerdybibliophilee, interviewed by notable outlets like KidlioMag, Children’s Literature and the Reading With Your Kids podcast, and has connected with readers all over the world through her social media!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Jennifer S. Segarra. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. My parents immigrated to this country when they were young. My father is from Cuba and my mother is from Puerto Rico but also half Filipino.
I am a married mother of two beautiful children, and have an Italian Mastiff fur baby. I am bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. My husband is from Cuba and we have been married for 15 years.
I love to cook, travel, discover new things, and LOVE reading books!
What inspired you to write El Lechón Choncho otherwise known as Choncho the Pig?
Since I was a young girl, I always loved reading, and this may sound quite weird but I loved being given assignments where I needed to write book reports, essays and stories in my own words. However, my mother always told me the story, since I was a little girl, of her favorite family pet pig named Choncho. I always told her she needed to make this a children’s book.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, and I saw what scary times we were living in, and I took the opportunity to write my book. I was overcome with feelings of nostalgia and love for my family. Why should I wait longer to write this story? It didn’t make sense.
Jennifer’s Grandfather, Miguel
Jennifer’s Grandmother with her children – the stars of El Lechón Choncho
With all the stories your mother told you about Choncho, how were you able to narrow it down to the one that made the book?
Stories of Choncho and of my mother’s life on the farm were always my favorite. However, the story of Choncho sliding down the hill always made the biggest impression on me and brought me happy thoughts. When I look at a pig, I always think of him.
Tell us about the success you have been having with El Lechón Choncho (and please don’t be shy).
Well first of all, I owe a lot of my success to following the marketing guide written for me by Tellwell marketing consultant Angela Gascon. If you are not familiar with the steps to marketing a product, any product, then you need to follow the guidance of someone who does.
By following the advice and guidance provided to me in the marketing guide and promoting my book on all my social media accounts, in a short period of time, I have had numerous reviews, interviews and podcast exposure.
On Instagram, I used the suggested hashtags given to me in my marketing guide. I was able to get an initial hit of reviewers reaching out to me to review my book. I have had book tours, giveaways and reviews. A lot of exposure of my book is from Instagrammers (or bookstagrammers).
Through Twitter, I was approached by a wonderful podcast called Reading With Your Kids with Jed Doherty. He reached out to me to join him. It is an exceptional podcast all about encouraging parents to read with their children, cook with them, and do fun activities with them, as well as experience tv, movies and music together. In other words, their podcast is all about helping parents build stronger relationships with their kids. It was taped recently and I am waiting to announce when it will be streamed.
With Jed, I was able to speak about my journey to writing my children’s book, El Lechón Choncho, Otherwise known as Choncho the Pig. Not only did we share a love for all things Puerto Rico, but it was lovely to able to share my mother’s story. Families need to do all they can to spend quality time and what better way than to read together. It will give me some great exposure to my book!
Facebook has helped me reach more of the demographic I need, as well as alerting my friends and family to my book and further getting the word out. One way I did this was to budget toward paying for ads to bring more traffic to my website.
I am now working on having my book available for purchase at local book stores in Miami. I already have a few carrying my book, and I am now starting to push for statewide marketing to local book stores.
You’ve received lots of publicity, especially on social media. Congratulations – that’s huge! What’s your secret to getting noticed?
Thank you so much! I think the one thing I have done is remain consistent with my social media activity. I look for articles to generate interest, whether it is towards my book or subject matter that is important to children and children’s books. I always try to incorporate my main theme which is reading to your children and using stories to help them become early readers.
You cannot do something once or twice a month and expect a lot of exposure. I always try to keep my social media activity to 2 to 3 posts a week.– Jennifer S. Segarra
What advice do you have for authors trying to generate their own awareness?
The first thing I would tell anyone who is a first-time self-published author is don’t be afraid to promote your book. Follow the marketing guide and put forth the work. You are not going to sell millions of books overnight. It takes work and you have to put in the time.
If you are not used to using social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) then take time to learn. It will pay off. Trust me!
Also – follow the advice of the Tellwell book marketing guide. It is your bible to help you promote your book.
What are some the valuable book marketing insights and tips you learned while promoting your book?
First off, I asked a lot of questions (and I still do). I do my own research and read a lot of articles on new books, new authors, and subjects relating to children.
I also learned to use social media to follow fellow authors, illustrators, podcasts, etc. which focus on your book genre. One thing I love is following groups on Facebook of fellow authors, writers, and bookworms. You learn so much on how to market your book and overcome obstacles
Most importantly, always look into new ways to keep the traction going for your book.
What’s next for you (and Choncho)? We love him!
Well, I am currently working on my next book for Choncho and his next adventure! My hope for Choncho is a book series, and maybe even an animated series. I am aiming high but I think I can get there!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Everything is possible through hard work. You have to keep trying, and do not get discouraged. Always keep positive and be consistent in your work!
You can learn more about Jennifer and El Lechón Choncho, including interesting reads, reviews and interviews, by visiting authorjennifersegarra.com.