Promote Your Book Like a Pro — Cynthia Leitich Smith — Top 6 1/2 List from Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. PEEK: “Give yourself deadlines, and do what you can before the release date. Put together your readers’ guide and media kit. Order bling. Hire a web designer or publicist. Contact bloggers. Plan the launch party. Work now to make it easier on yourself later.”
Marketing Task Recap from Robin LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “We thought that it might be helpful to post a checklist of all the marketing tasks we’ve referred to over the last few months in one place, so you wouldn’t have to hunt and peck to produce a To Do List of your own.”
Public Speaking as a Promotional Tool by L. Diane Wolfe from QueryTracker. PEEK: “At its most basic, speaking places the author in front of real human beings. The lure of the Internet has prompted more and more authors to remain hidden behind a website. While blogs and social sites provide a certain measure of interaction, it cannot replace real-world contact and physical appearances.”
Book Launch Award from SCBWI. PEEK: “Provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to help promote their newly published work.”
Cool School Visits: “…advice on doing author school visits. We’ll discuss organizing the visits, holding book sales, creating presentations, tech issues, promotion, what to charge… even dealing with crowd control and stage fright!”
Curious City: an excellent supplier of books for school/author events nation-wide.
Event Planning by Kelly Bingham at Through the Tollbooth. PEEK: “We have noble intentions through our visits, and it is true that many authors do them for free. But most authors get paid, and to be frank, many authors earn up to half their annual income from school visits. So that is something to consider as well.”
How to Get Author School Visits: a podcast from Katie Davis at Brain Burps.
How to Perform (Not Just Read) Your Work in Front of Audiences by Natalie Sylvester from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “Rehearse it. Time yourself. Embrace the musicality of your words.”
A Love Note and Battle Strategies for Author-Speakers by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Cynsations. PEEK: “Low audience turnout? First, don’t take it personally. There are a ton of factors that go into attendance at an author event. If you’ve made a good faith effort to spread the word, that’s all you can do. It’s especially tough in a city where you don’t have personal ties and aren’t plugged into local media scene. Your biggest fan could live across the street and still have no idea you’re right there in the neighborhood.”
“Meeting” the Author by Melissa Stewart from I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. PEEK: “Seeing someone on screen isn’t quite as powerful as a live visit, but videos are a great option for schools that lack the time, resources, or funding to bring in authors and illustrators. They’re also a great way for any school to increase their students’ exposure to book creators.”
Propping Up Your School Visit by Bettina Restrepo from Cynsations. PEEK: “I began with props and a budget. I made a list of all the things I wanted to have for a school visit. Then I made a budget of $300. Would I make enough money doing school visits to earn back my investment? I took the chance, because the best thing you can do is invest in your book and yourself.”
School Visit Experts: “SchoolVisitExperts.com is a place for published and soon-to-be-published authors & illustrators to find and share advice on how to create and deliver quality author visit programs for kids, teachers and librarians.”
School Visit Surveys by Michelle Cusolito from Polliwog on Safari:
- 2018 Survey: “Transparency in Pay for Author & Illustrator School Visits”
- School Visits Survey Part 2: Pricing
- School Visit Survey Part 3: Is There a Gender Gap?
- School Visit Survey Part 4: Free and Reduced-Price Visits
- School Visit Survey Part 5: Next Steps
Secrets to Successful School Visits by Cynthia Lord from Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. PEEK: “…tell the principal how wonderful the media specialist (or whoever organized the visit with you) has been to work with. It’s a nice way to affirm the hard work that went into bringing you to the school.”
Tips for the Kidlit Author Visit by Cat Michaels from Author 101. PEEK: “If you use own or the school’s AV equipment, make sure those gadgets are loaded and working. I always arrive early and ask for an on-site AV person to help with set up and test.”
Author Websites from Nathan Bransford. PEEK: “…definitely don’t forget that professional part, and that goes for every single thing you post online, whether it’s a blog, blog comment, or Twitter.”
How to Make a Good Author Website from Nathan Bransford. PEEK: “…you do need to take responsibility for marketing. A website is a bare-minimum way of putting yourself out there.”
What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? by Jane Friedman from her blog. PEEK: “I may be in the tiny minority of people who happen to think social media isn’t 100% critical for an author’s online presence…..These days, I get more noticeable results from my website and blogging efforts, email newsletters, and in-person networking than I do from social media.”
Blog Tours by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. CYN NOTE: previously published in the September-October 2007 SCBWI Bulletin. PEEK: “Blog book tours are suddenly quite popular as a quick, inexpensive way for famous (or not so famous) authors to get the word out about their new releases to an exponentially growing audience.”
The Art of the Blurb Request by Agent Kristin from Pub Rants. PEEK: “Even with noble intentions, most writers who experience success end up having to put a moratorium on offering blurbs for a couple of reasons.”
Book Trailers: What Works and What Doesn’t from Debbie Ridpath Ohi.
Creating Digital Book Trailers by Naomi Bates at YA Books and More: Reviews and digital media of current young adult books and more.
Promoting Your Novel: How To Make a Book Trailer by Brenda Coulter from No rules. Just write.
Building Your Own Press Kit by Saundra Mitchell at Crowe’s Nest. PEEK: “A press kit provides basic biographical information and information about your work, in an easily accessible kit for reviewers and journalists.”
Dealing with Book Promotion Fatigue by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “The joy and terror of publishing in the social media age is that once you have a book, you literally could be promoting it every minute of every day.”
Marketing and Promotion
Diversity in Book Publishing Isn’t Just About Writers – Marketing Matters, Too, by Jean Ho from NPR.
It’s Never Too Early to Think Ahead by Lizzy Mason, senior publicist at Simon and Schuster, from QueryTracker. PEEK: “Particularly as marketing budgets decrease (meaning smaller, more circumscribed tours and less advertising), publicity has become more important than ever.”
Four Tips on Promoting to Educators by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. PEEK: “The ArLA is mostly public school librarians who are concerned about programming special events, balancing a collection and keeping funding when it relies on politics. The ARA has a large number of classroom teachers who are concerned about teaching reading to kids. The AAIM are librarians, who must follow the state standards for teaching library skills, as well as function as the technology expert for their school.”
Making your Bookmarks by Kristina Springer at Author2Author. PEEK: “First, you need a snazzy design. If you’re photoshop savvy, this will be easy for you. You just need to create a bookmark that includes your cover, some book info or a tease about your book, release date, ISBN, your website URL (and e-mail if you’d like), and don’t forget to put what age your book is for!”
One Important Question You May Not Be Asking Your Publicist by Emily Adams from Writer Unboxed. PEEK: “…you want to make sure you get a hold of the clips of reviews, interviews and features your campaign generates. Then you can get more mileage out of press coverage and magnify your book’s visibility by posting them to your social media channels.”
Blue Slip Media: publicity-and-marketing agency, specializing in youth literature. PEEK: “In a business climate where publicity and marketing resources at major publishing houses are stretched thin, we offer expertise in crafting effective press releases, targeted mailing lists, niche and local market outreach, and event planning to create comprehensive campaigns for print and online media.”
Publicist Interview: Barbara Fisch and Sarah Shealy (Blue Slip Media) from The Texas Sweethearts. PEEK: “I’ll just add a little note here about the importance of the personal touch. When you’re reaching out to these local booksellers and librarians and teachers, take a minute to write a thank you note by hand and pop it in the mail after a particularly lovely conversation. Or bring a rose from your garden when you stop by to drop off your latest galley.”
Raab Associates: marketing, consulting, publicity; includes a number of related articles.
Publicist Interview from Christine Kole MacLean. PEEK: “While you don’t want to generate bad press, getting people talking about your book brings attention to it, and in a crowded market, you want your book’s title to stick in people’s heads.”
Publicist Interview: Kathy Dunn (Bloomsbury Children’s) from Mary Hershey at Shrinking Violet Promotions. CYN NOTE: a discussion of to-dos, dos, and don’t for authors.
Publicist Interview: Donna Spurlock (Charlesbridge) by Anna Olswanger from The Purple Crayon.
Publicist Interview: Jennifer Taber (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) from Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “Authors can do themselves a great service by educating themselves about the current state of publishing and by communicating with their publicist about plans and goals.”
Publicist Interview: Jason Wells (Abrams) from Just One More Book! CYN NOTE: “…about the role and career path of the publicist, the high turnover rate in the industry and the evolution of book marketing and publicity in the digital age.”
What to Look for in a Book Publicist (Plus, Tips for Going It Alone) by Tanya Hall from Jane Friedman. PEEK: “A successful book publicity campaign can bring in a level of media coverage that lands more clients, more brand cachet, more book sales, and additional media opportunities.”
Avoiding Burnout by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. PEEK: “The act of writing, while it may be horrendously difficult sometimes, fills some deep, creative need within us. This is a gift we’ve been given in this life, and we need to cherish that and nurture that. And that often means striking some kind of devil’s bargain with Publishing. Because the very last thing we want to happen is for Publishing to destroy our love of Writing. And it can happen.”
GoodReads or BadFeelings? by L.K. Madigan from Drenched in Words. PEEK: “It seems like more experienced authors – Sara Zarr, Mary E. Pearson, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and John Green, for example – already had this figured out. They do not rate or review books on GoodReads. Their profiles exist on the site, but they are not active users. They do plenty to promote authors on their own blogs.”
On “Using Social” Media by Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches. PEEK: “My take on the Internet from a writer’s perspective is this: it isn’t a street corner for hawking your wares. It’s a giant sprawling party. The rules of how to act here aren’t all that complicated, because they’re pretty much the same rules that apply to parties everywhere: Be polite….”
Overpromotion from Scott Tracey. PEEK: “Build a fan base by being interesting – you’ll sell more books that way. Otherwise, you’re just trolling for bodies – and bodies don’t buy books.”
Social Networking Guilt: Get Over It by Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape. PEEK: “Creative purists who scoff at social networks as a time-waster need to remember that a writer is only half the dialectic in this business. The other half is made up of readers, and these days young adults make calendaring and purchasing decisions via social networks.”
Social Networking: What a Children’s Publisher Expects: A Conversation with Donna Spurlock from Charlesbridge Marketing by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon Blog. PEEK: “It’s always been the case (even at Charlesbridge) that a few books are your ‘lead books’ and they get the majority of the marketing dollars. Here it’s been more of an even distribution, but when a book starts to pull ahead in sales, or we know going in that a Jerry Pallotta or Mitali Perkins is going to be working overtime to promote the book, we get behind them more financially. Authors need to do the legwork to get to that point. And it’s their personality that’s going to do it.”
Targeted Facebook Ads for Book Launches by Mitali Perkins from Mitali’s Fire Escape. PEEK: “My click-through rate has been outstanding, and the ad has shown up over 500,000 times in April and May, even with me putting it on pause for days to save money.”
Twitter Guide for Authors and Illustrators from Debbie Ridpath Ohi. SEE ALSO Twitter Promotion Tips for Children’s-YA Authors and Illustrators.
Why Blog-From the Writer Who Said Goodbye to Blogging by L.L.Barkat from Jane Friedman. PEEK: “…this has been key: I realized I must find a way to run my private life, my writing life, and my business life as an introvert.”
You Can’t Just Be a Writer Anymore by Tess Gerritsen from Murderati. PEEK: “These days, being a writer is no longer just about the books. We can no longer slide by like those 1980’s slacker writers and turn in one well-written manuscript every year. Now we have to be novelists, salesmen, speakers, and media personalities.”
Life on the Road: Tips for Authors on Tour by Richelle Mead from Blue Succubus. PEEK: “Because most signings are at 6 or 7 p.m., I often get picked up at 5 or 6 p.m., meaning I don’t get to eat at dinnertime. Get food when you arrive, or you may not eat at all.”