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Archive for August, 2013

On the 30th of this month, I will enter the realm of picture book authors. Frog’s Winter Walk is finally finished and it’s beautiful!

My favorite 3-year-old holding my latest book

My favorite 3-year-old holding my latest book

Kinda nervous, I’ll be honest. The publisher is very small, so it’s important that I do most – ok, all! – of the marketing and do it well. I’ve put together a marketing plan. It’s a well-researched plan and I intend to put it to the test starting August 20th.

My Pre-Release Marketing looks like this:

1. Set up a Goodreads giveaway. I’ve heard good and bad about Goodreads in reference to small and independent publishers, but I haven’t experienced it. I did a giveaway with Gateways and Unforgettable Roads. The number of people that signed up was significant. I haven’t received a review from any of the four people who received a copy, but I’m not giving up on that yet.

Why Goodreads Giveaways might work:
1) The giveaways put your name out there, but mostly people will see your book cover. Being a visual people, that’s important.

2) I sent copies of my books to Missouri, Kentucky, California and Vermont. That’s four places I will not be able to visit any time soon, but my book can.

Why Goodreads might bite:
1) People sign up for free stuff and never do anything with it. Although the folks at Goodreads remind the winners that a review on the book is of great benefit to the author, that Goodread-deed is often overlooked.

2) Depending on how many books you give away, the cost can add up. If you choose to go this route, remember to keep track of your expenses for tax deductions.

Action plan with Goodreads:
Register the book a few days before the giveaway will start. It will take a day or two to set up the give away, email the IT guy to add the cover, and any other issues that can arise.

2. Contact my Alma Mater – Grand Valley State University

As luck would have it, both the illustrator, Sarah Aman, and I graduated from GVSU. Their Alumni Magazine might be interested in doing a story about two grads who were fortunate enough to work together on this picture book.

Action Plan: What businesses, colleges, or organizations share a common theme with your work? Write something for that publication. Contact their publications department with a story idea. Have pictures to go along with it, just in case.

3. Start Planning the Launch Party

The launch party brings together family, friends, and potential readers (and future fans) to celebrate the accomplishment. A reading, an art demo, frog-shaped cookies…you know, kid-friendly.

Because Frog’s Winter Walk features animals as main characters, the launch party should be for children and should include animals. What better location than the local zoo? Again, a blessing, as Sarah works at a local zoo.

Action Plan: Look for locations for a launch party that include features from your book. Local museum, grocery store, local park…a place where you can offer an increase in attendance and they can offer a great location.

4. Typical Social Media Promotions…

Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus…did I miss one? 🙂 I’ve posted a few ‘here it comes’ posts with pictures and links to my website. I’ve also promoted other authors’ works as well as sending links to excellent blog posts. Social Media, as the name implies, is social. It’s not all about you. It’s as the saying goes: Give much, receive much.

Action Plan: Reblog, ReTweet, RePost. Practice crafting enticing titles on Twitter.

5. Tweek My Website

A website is not finished when you click ‘Publish’. That’s the beauty of it! We can change our website as our writing changes. Update your Author Biography. Keep it snappy and fun. Remember, this is the Internet – don’t share too much! Share your writing life and keep everything else private.

Common tabs for Author Websites: Biography, Books, Speaking Schedule, Awards, Press (Think Press Kit with downloadable pictures, ultra short biographies, and your area of expertise.) Somewhere in your website, include a link to your publisher, to purchase your book, to your Facebook page, to follow on Twitter…you get the picture…

Action Plan: Google your favorite (living) authors and browse their websites. What do you like? What turned you off? Make notes and imitate the masters. If I may be so bold as to suggest my website, you can see if I’ve taken my own advise 🙂 www.BooksByJessica.com (Notice that I capitalized the first letter of each word within my website. That allows potential website guests to easily read and understand your website name.)

Action Plan 2: For the tabs on your website, tap into your creativity by using different titles. Don’t confuse or mislead guests, but allow your personality to shine through.

Action Plan 3: If you have more ideas, please share! This list is by no means a complete list 🙂

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