Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


100 Other Choices

I've appreciated reading other people's thoughts on marketing and am struck by how much we'd rather write or draw than market.

When I was in college if you asked me to pick out 100 classes I'd like to take, I would not have chosen one marketing class. So many other choices were so much more interesting.

Now as an author I need to do marketing and I need to have a sense of what works for me and what does not. One of the ways I approach this is to think that a baseball player who gets a hit three out of ten times is very good. I keep that ratio in mind as I send things out.

Today's marketing success is a nice cake picture in PW Children's Bookshelf. They chose a sports theme so TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT was a good fit. Great to see that big cake there.

I do not think about marketing when I'm writing a book, but once it's finished I try to be creative with what will be fun and work well. For TWO OLD POTATOES AND ME, I partnered with Finnegan's Beer who use some spuds in the beer and give away profits to folks in need. On a couple of basketball books, I've worked with the NBA and their Read to Achieve program. I've got a new picture book coming next year and I've already met folks at the YMCA who are interested in doing some things together.

Each book is it's own adventure and I don't pretend to be a professional marketer, just someone who tries a bunch of things and sometimes bats above .300


To Market or Not to Market?

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.