That is the question.
Like many of my fellow Potatoes on this blog, I am an introvert. Most comfortable in my studio, I could easily spend my days painting and writing with a few forays into the outer world, mostly to buy groceries, paint sets at Circus, or take a walk around a lake. (I live in Minneapolis, city of lakes!) But when a book comes out, it needs to be celebrated! Before becoming a children's book author/illustrator, I showed my art in galleries. So every year or so, I would complete a body of work and exhibit in a gallery. There was always an opening with wine and cheese, and lots of conversations. I depended on the gallery to get the word out to art critics and the press. Now that I am in publishing, I depend on the publisher to do their part in marketing, but also know I need to do my part as well. Celebration is a word I like to keep in mind when marketing my newest book. I have worked long and hard on it-- in fact painting the 17 + illustrations for a book is very much like finishing a body of work for a gallery-- and a picture book is a lot cheaper than a painting in a gallery, so what a deal to celebrate! So my answer to the question in the title of this blog is: Market and celebrate!
Years ago when I first created a website for my books, I panicked and fretted for weeks. I wasn't sure I wanted the world to know so much about me. Now I not only have a website, but a personal blog as well as this blog! When I finish a book and am waiting for the proofs to come, it is actually very satisfying to update my website, and begin talking about the book on my blogs and on facebook. I also send an announcement about it in an email to all my friends and contacts. I am lucky to live in the Twin Cities, home of two very strong Independent Children's Book Stores: The Red Balloon Bookshop and Wild Rumpus. When I have a new book coming out, I call these bookstores and let them know. The Red Balloon hosts wonderful publication parties complete with cake! I try to come up with an activity to make the party both a reading and an activity party. My favorite. I also paint the window with an image from the book, which is a great way to advertise.
Once the initial celebrations are over, I try to keep the book alive by visiting schools, conferences, and children's literature festivals. But soon, I begin to itch to return to my studio. It is where I do my best work and feel most at home. If I have done my marketing well, my book will have a long life of its own.