Let me just say what's on many authors’ minds…
MARKETING YOUR BOOKS CAN BE CHALLENGING!
There. I’ve said it.
By the time my own debut picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, was released in January of 2015 I had already spent considerable time reading up on marketing strategies and scouring through many books on promoting one’s book. Many of my writerly friends had already fought the battle with effective marketing and I learned from their experiences. While I am in no way an expert in the field of book marketing, I DO know what worked for me and I can share my top 3 ways to create good marketing karma for that first published book or the one hundredth one…
PICK YOUR NETWORKING PARTNERS CAREFULLY
Years before my book came out I knew I would be published one day. I had faith in that reality and planned for the day it would happen. I made connections and friendships that would help me in the future.
One of those networking connections was a lovely lady named Heather Palmer. I consider her a dear friend who also happens to be the librarian at one of the schools I visit on a monthly basis. I love going into her library because I will always be greeted by her bright smile and outgoing personality. I have been witness to the deep knowledge of Kidliterature she shares with her students.
I have spent much time donating time, energy, and resources to help out at her library wherever I can. Books donated to her inventory are shared with the kids who now call me “the author” (a title I wear proudly!). I had a booth and assisted last week with the Backyard Book Fair, held in her library, which fostered a new partnership with their regional manager where my book might be carried at all their fairs as well as allowing me to have a booth at any of the schools they visit. Heather has also been instrumental in my three author visits to Barnes & Noble.
Network partners are vital to your book promotion and I can’t thank Heather enough for all her support!
PLAN YOUR PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL
It all starts with a strong story. I was lucky enough that a publisher thought my story was strong enough to share with the world. Now I have to make sure everything I use to promote it compliments the artwork and effort put into the finished product. I use www.moo.com to get my mini business cards. They are slim and half the size of regular business cards so they stand out when I give them pass them around. Moo even has some cool card holders that clip onto your key ring for an easy carry option (mine is hot pink!)
I use Vista Print (www.vistaprint.com) for my postcards, banners, and car magnets. I can't tell you the number of times people have stopped me at lights, in parking lots, and even at the grocery store to ask me about my car magnets. My postcards go into the schools and are handed out at fairs. My banners help make my booths professional looking and inviting.
My promotional material is what my targeted audience take with them so I focus a lot of time and energy into creating a strong connection between my STORY CATCHER entity and my writing.
INVITE THEM INTO YOUR WORLD
I attend several book fairs, festivals, and children's events each year. I have taken the opportunity to study other booths...what works...and more importantly what doesn't. I sat next to one booth at a festival last year and was amazed (and confused) as to the lack of effort put into the author's presentation of their work. No banner, no table cloth, no bright colors or inviting artwork to entice the people walking by to stop and take a longer look.
My booth by comparison was a kaleidoscope of color and motion. Huge metal butterflies in bright red and yellow hold my postcards and lollipops to giveaway. Bright blue banners announce to the world that the STORY CATCHER has arrived. My tablecloth is eye popping and I always include a chance to win a prominently displayed gift basket of books if someone signs up for my free STORY CATCHER bi-monthly newsletter.
I create the illusion that vibrant colors and exciting activities can be found at my booth. I NEVER sit down when I'm working a festival or fair. My place is in front of my booth, engaging with the public who pass by, instead of hiding behind book and banner, only wishing someone would stop to ask about my writing. And for all my efforts I now receive personal invitations from around the area to participate in the many fairs and festivals being held throughout the year. The biggest event I will attend is the Children's Festival of Reading where over 15,000 people will have access to everything I have to offer.
No matter whether it's your first book promotion or your latest one, the effort you put into your own book marketing (outside of anything your publisher may do for you) creates the good marketing karma to carry you onto your next published book and beyond!