Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
Spreading Wide and Honing In
This round our topic is marketing and the timing is perfect. Our School Garden! is on the shelves, and I have two more books publishing in the fall. It's time to roll my chair back from the drawing table and hand sell some books.
First, if I just swivel 180 degrees to face my computer, there is marketing work I can do before leaving my studio.
• Design a book announcement to mail out to all my contacts.
• Create a book specific Facebook page, and invite FB contacts to "like" this page. Here is a trick my publisher Philip Lee told me: if I find other FB groups and organizations who might be interested in my book, I can "like" them and create a hyperlink to my FB book page site, so then any new book information I post will keep showing up on their sites. The circle widens!
• Research and find more contacts. My recent books have non-fiction angles, so I can explore these themes to locate target audiences. For The East-West House I developed contact lists of art museum bookstores; Japanese garden gift shops; children's museums; as well as blogs about Japanese culture, Mid-century Modern design, sculpture, and being biracial. To keep generating sales, this process must not end. A friend recently suggested I check out the origami crowd, too. For this new book, Philip Lee has been busy connecting with schools that have gardens-- thousands in California alone.
• Create activities for events. I like to provide an extra little something to take away with the purchase of a book. I also include downloadable activities and lesson plans on my website so teachers and parents will want to use my books.
• Set up events to connect with my readers. Contact schools, libraries, conferences, and other venues for presenting, selling, and signing books. For my last book I planned a book launch event that was successful beyond my dreams. Lee & Low featured my how-to tips in an interview: http://blog.leeandlow.com/2009/11/11/how-to-plan-a-successful-book-launch/
Next, I close my studio door, leave seclusion behind, and meet my public at an event. For The East-West House my best sales venues have been at art museums and Japanese cultural events. These are where I hone in on my most interested audiences. I have done family presentations at art museums where I am featured. While attendees create art projects, I sign books. At Japanese cultural events, I sit in a crowded auditorium, behind a table, behind a stack of books. I am definitely an introvert, but I try to put myself forward and make eye contact with passers-by. If I can engage in a conversation, I can often sell a book. I share my enthusiasm for the story and discuss the process I used to create the art. This direct one-on-one connection with my reader has been very powerful.
Ask these questions: Who are your readers? Where can you find them? How can you connect with them?
Here are some titles on marketing a fellow children's book author suggested:
1001 Ways to Market Your Books: for Authors and Publishers by John Kremer, Open Horizons
Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure-Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, and Jill Lublin, Adams Media Corporation
Speak and Grow Rich by Dottie and Lilly Walters, Prentice Hall
Money Talks: How to Make a Million as a Speaker by Alan Weiss, McGraw-Hill