Describe the market for your book – to the tiniest detail (e.g., childless divorced women past age 50 who want to remarry). Why that demographic? Describe their psychographics. How do you connect with them to market to them?
I wrote The Scent of my Mother’s Kiss to raise awareness of post adoption issues and child welfare practice of the mid-20th century, and to counterbalance the academic and professional sanitised versions of welfare and adoption practice from a participant point of view to ensure an accurate record of events remains, as a reference for future social planners, reformers and legislators as they re-invent the wheel.
Similar books in print at the time of publication were, A child called it by Dave Pelzer, Orion Books, and others in this series, and Kathy’s Story – inside the hell of Ireland’s notorious Magdalen Sister’s laundries by Kathy O’Beirne, Harper Collins. Related Australian publications would be The Long Way Home - story of a homes kid by Kate Shayler, Random House, and In Moral Danger by Barbara Biggs, Sly Ink Productions, A Child Called It has sold in excess of 1.6 million copies, worldwide, In Moral Danger has sold 150,000 copies in Australia and, while I do not have the figures for Kathy’s Story, I’m aware that the high demand for this publication resulted in it being sold out very quickly in most retail outlets.
The Scent of my Mother’s Kiss (first published as The Little Mongrel - free to a
good home) focuses on the transformation of the
main character throughout her different residential and institutional
placements, and the strategies she employs to survive in an increasingly
hostile world. It is not a story of a victim, nor is it presented in victim
mode, it is a factual recounting of events that provide insight into the, until
recently, hidden aspects of the history of children’s welfare in Australia.
This book has broad general readership appeal and is of particular interest to social historians, and is an ideal text for any person involved with the care and welfare of children and young people, social work practitioners, policy makers, program developers, researchers and teachers. These interest groups broaden the potential markets for this book to include educational booksellers, university bookstores, and welfare agency retail outlets. In this respect I wrote to politicians past and present, heads of departments and policy makers, social work departments and welfare agencies, sending a synopsis of the book as well as marketing via internet booksellers and interest group websites.
I also connect with readers by speaking to groups, courses for writers and a range of services, including ‘Write to Heal’ workshops, introducing life writing as a tool for self-expression leading to healing, and ‘Urban Writing – Write About the Place’, where the focus is on streets, suburbs or towns, and the place of the individual within these, with encouragement to look beyond the square to take pride in their environment and achievements as an inspiration for others. I also speak with groups about the unique issues affecting children and young people in out-of-home care, aimed at increasing understanding from those employed in this area in both a professional and voluntary capacity.