Marketing your story can be daunting if you are a survivor. You might have been telling your story in a big or small group – to an audience at various conferences where the crowd is moved with compassion to take action to fight human trafficking or domestic violence, but never have thought that that was marketing. You are selling a product or service without realizing it.
This was the case for me when I decided to put my face to my story seven years ago as a victim of human trafficking and domestic violence. According to the Polaris Project, a U.S. based nonprofit operating the National human trafficking hotline, over 20 million people are trafficked around the world. The International Labor Organization (ILO) also states that human trafficking is a $150 billion industry. As a survivor, fighting the crime by helping other survivors is paramount to me because nobody should suffer such an ordeal. Safe Horizon, a nonprofit organization in New York states that one in four women and one in seven men experience domestic violence.
From victim to survivor
I published my first memoir, Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim on Lulu to shed light on a personal experience with the help of a professor at St. Olaf University in Minnesota. He had read my interview in the newspaper and found that I had written a book and was looking for a publisher. Now, seven years after, I am working on another memoir, a sequel to the first book. This book is entitled A Living Label. The goal of the book is to empower survivors, educate the public, and provide practical solutions to government agencies and nonprofit organizations, on how to effectively work with survivors in a way that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
IMPRISONED By Bukola Oriola
This book, IMPRISONED: The travails of a trafficked victim is an eye opener to the modern day slavery. It is a true story of the author and published to set victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse free from all parts of the world.
However, I wanted to make this book reach a large audience of up to one million people. So, I decided to put a marketing plan together. I thought about timing and events around the issue of human trafficking and domestic violence, in addition to my own life’s events. First, I realized that my birthday falls during domestic violence awareness month and that I could use the book launch as my birthday party.
Learning to market like an Author
I created a marketing plan for a 13-week launch starting from August 1 until October 30, my birthday. Every week for the next 13 weeks, I will be discussing the book and the issue on my social media pages. While discussing each chapter, I will be asking people to subscribe to my mailing list. I call them my Insiders. They get to read more from the book, including full chapters before it is available to the public. They also get to critique the book. Their critique gives me clarity on what I should include or take out of the book.
It also helps me to expatiate on certain segments of the book. To expand the number of subscribers, I ask those who want to publish their books to join so that they can learn the tips that I am using to launch my book successfully. This technique has been rewarding. I get questions. And, some of them have started taking steps to write their books or implementing some of the tips that I shared.
In addition to using the online platform, I have also been tapping into offline contacts and resources to promote the upcoming book. I am sending emails to the contacts who have work related to the issue or are willing to promote the issue. I have also created three hashtags in addition to using the book title as a hashtag to help the launch have more visibility on social media platforms.
Bukola Oriola is a speaker, author, mentor, advocate, entrepreneur, consultant, and member, U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2015, Oriola is also an award-winning journalist and a survivor of labor trafficking and domestic violence. She has dedicated her life to helping others by sharing her story and offering practical solutions to service providers, clinics, community members, and law enforcement on how to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.