Aliona L. Gibson is a single mom to a six-year-old boy. Of late, her writing projects aim to combine three things she loves dearly: being a mom, traveling and writing. She volunteered as a story time reader at her local preschool to get more insight into the wonderful world of children’s books. Aliona used a successful crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, to fund her first book.
Tell us about your book, the audience you’re trying to reach and the marketing challenges you faced.
Justice pon di Road (Jamaican patois for Justice on the Road) is a picture book about the sights, sounds and tastes of island culture as experienced by a toddler and his mom on a morning walk. Experience the kindness of strangers and the hospitable spirit of Jamaicans! The book includes a glossary of patois terms used in the book, a list of national heroes, notable Jamaicans and a map of the island.
I am trying to reach parents who want to raise “global citizens.” I would hope that a book about another country would appeal to most parents. I believe in exposing children to the world early on. I am not Jewish but read a picture book about Passover to my son. Not because I am thinking of converting but because I want him to be knowledgeable about a lot of different things. As a result he was able to recognize a yamaka in the park a few weeks later. I was thrilled!
The challenge with Justice pon di Road is that it’s a very niche book. People who are from Jamaica love the book. People who have been to Jamaica love the book. My issue is trying to reach everyone else! I feel like I have done a commendable job promoting the book but there are a few things I can do better. I am not on Instagram and I should be! I could do a Twitter promo and reach out to celebrity moms with small children. Gwen Stefani has a son named Kingston! He needs a copy of Justice pon di Road! I could Tweet all of the other notable Jamaicans in the book. I have a Pinterest page with all of the reviews and stories I have garnered so far. It’s a few. It’s been a struggle…no time (or money) to really give it the attention it needs. I could use a book publicist and a social media coordinator!
Share creative ways you’ve used to market your book.
I could write a book on this. The plan started long before the book was out. I think searching for my primary target audience through websites, blogs, magazines and all social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc) has been helpful. For example I joined a Facebook group called Wha’ Gwaan in Negril. Those have been some of my biggest supporters. They supported the Kickstarter campaign and bought the book for their grandchildren! Since I am a returned Peace Corps volunteer I joined a group and posted about the book in there. I did not serve in Jamaica but joined the group to share it with volunteers in country (or who served there). I had 5K bookmarks printed and delivered stacks of them to pediatric doctor and dental offices. I make it a point to reach out to other authors too. I got a call last week from a local author who wanted to recommend my book to an NFL player for his upcoming literacy event in October. Wish me luck!
Where do you go to promote your book(s)?
Jamaicans.com, the VisitJamaica.com blog did a really great piece recommending the book, I focus on travel, mom, kidlit and Jamaican blogs, sites, pages…I belong to several multicultural kidlit groups. Many African American author groups too. Homeschool blogs have been good too. I got a few book reviews from those.
How can we stalk you online?
LinkedIn: Aliona Gibson