The Self-promotion Experience: The Rivas Mercado House

2021-09-07 | Ink it

Ana Lilia Cepeda | Writer, editor, and cultural promoter*

Five years ago, a multidisciplinary team (of which I served as coordinator) completed the restoration of the Rivas Mercado House. Designed by architect Antonio Rivas, creator of the Columna de la Independencia, it is one of the most important works of the so-called Mexican eclecticism, a trend that fought for freedom in art by mixing different styles. It took us a decade to recover the building which was about to be demolished. Once the restoration work was finished, I had the idea of writing a chronicle on the odyssey I went through to carry out the project. I didn’t expect that, once the book was finished, I would have to start a new journey to promote it.

Although I’ve had the good fortune of editing and co-writing several books, I hadn’t had the opportunity of editing a work entirely of my own. So, once we prepared the physical and digital editions of La casa Rivas Mercado, the next step was to make it known to the readers. A first milestone was to reach the editorial offices of newspapers and magazines. Some journalists, knowledgeable about the legacy of Don Antonio and his daughter Antonieta, reviewed the work and interviewed me; however, it was necessary to land on social media in order to be present on the platforms that today dominate public attention.


The Rivas Mercado House promotional video published on social media.


From the very beginning, social media had a privileged place in the promotion strategy. That’s why, together with my team, we launched paid campaigns to promote videos about the book. Also, we created posts with pictures taken from the book and contacted Gandhi and El Sótano bookstores (two of the largest in Mexico), as well as some influencers, who supported us by presenting the book virtually.


“The path of self-promotion is a journey to an unknown destination with many surprises to discover, but greater gratifications to achieve.”


As a consequence of the above, I had to open my social media accounts as an author. Since then, I’ve been contacting directly my readers and disseminating my activities as a writer through a space specifically designed for this purpose (not all authors separate their private life from their public figure, and this brings along a series of inconveniences that would be best avoided). These channels have served to create a reading community around the book and to have a multimedia record of the promotion, something like a history of the book.

The Rivas Mercado House was launched in November 2020, and its print run consisted of a few hundred copies. To date, I’ve had to reprint it three times in order to meet the demand; moreover, sales of the digital version have been much higher than we had anticipated. Thus, given the unexpected success of the work, we’re planning to translate it into English. For all these reasons, I can say that the path of self-promotion is a journey to an unknown destination with many surprises to be discovered, but greater gratifications to be achieved.


*She has a degree in Sociology from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City) and a master’s degree in Political Economy and Demography from the University of Havana (Cuba). She has participated in several literary creation seminars. In 2003, she coordinated the largest urban intervention in the historic center of Mexico City, which earned her several awards, including the Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic awarded by the King and Queen of Spain. She was appointed member of the Board of the Chronicle of Mexico City in 2007, year in which she participated in the creation of the Fundación Conmemoraciones, which began the long road to the recovery of the Rivas Mercado House. She is currently a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF).