Friday, February 17, 2012

BOOK PROMOTING - Telling it Like it IS!!

Telling it Like it Is

 PLUS YOUR e-mail, and I will send you a FREE COPY
 of my kid's short, time travel adventure.  This PDF book 
has characters from my 3x latest books 
enjoying Down-under fun!

As well as listing my books, and the books of other terrific writers, I sometimes ramble on regarding what it takes for a writer to HOOK their reader.  Yet to hook readers, you first have to get known as a writer of books for kids.  And if you self publish, you must make sure that your quality of writing, layout, paper and art work, are UP there with the best.

There are some easy, cheap and effective ways to put your name out there where the reading public roams.  Don't wait until your book is published.  Get started months ahead of publication.  If you think writing that darned book, and finding  a publisher was hard, wait until you begin promoting your masterpiece. . .

USE A SIGNATURE on everything you send out:
Letters, e-mails, social networking posts, everything that you sign with your name.  Keep it short, sweet and simple - 2 lines, no more than three.   Name - up-coming title or business + blog or web address.  If you put your signature and links out there enough times, people will eventually register it, and actually click your link!  "Signature Advertising" is one of the easiest and most effective ways of creeping up on potential readers.  Yet so many of you never bother.

 Blogs are easier for the technically challenged.  For ideas, poke around the blogs of friends, other writers, and famous people.   Begin simple and work up to awesome!   Add something new about you, your coming book, or your pet goldfish every week.  Learn the benefits of RSS, widgets, and linking to Facebook and Twitter - at the very least.  Go slow, take your time, and you WILL GET the hang of it.

I know! I know!  This stuff  looks horribly convoluted and involved for anyone over the age of consent, but trust me, you CAN master it.  Repeat after me: "I WILL FRIEND 100 people by summer."  First JOIN.  Then browse every day for a week or two - one hour minimum.   When ready, take the plunge and tell millions online about your upcoming book.  When your blog is respectable, put a link to it on your Facebook and Twitter pages.  Add a cover photo as soon as you have a cover to show.  Covers sell books.  One great cover can seduce thousands.

Begin small.  Concentrate on one social network at a time.  Once you have one of them under your belt, the others will be a snap.  I firmly subscribe to the theory of  "Computer Logic." Once you've conquered the basics on one, the rest will fall in line and cower.  March on to the next challenge.

The one page + Bio Press Release contains just the facts, mam!  TV, Radio and Newspaper dudes are rushed for time, and swamped with amateur hour versions of Press Releases they never bother to read. To GRAB interest, yours has to be short, simple, plus a cover and specific HOOK that catches their attention.  Go online, ask writing friends and enemies where you can learn, and find advice and Press Release samples that help you do it right.  And don't forget to create a cool book trailer - a tease that gets readers interested in your book.  If you feel this is not your teckie bag, then try Blazing Trailers.  I personally recommend them.  They do a fabulous job for a reasonable fee.

+ Cold Calls:
Yeah, just like insurance salesmen of old, you have to make cold calls about you and your wonderful book to schools, churches, bookstores, and any place else you want to offer a book reading, + some interesting chat about the how-and-why of you as a writer.   In the beginning, I suggest making notes.  This cuts the ers and ums, and those long pauses between words.  A list of what you bring to their table, and your stated willingness to fit in with their needs, will make for smoother going.   Set a fee early on, but be prepared to negotiate.  Negotiation is the name of the promotional/sales game, mates.

And. . . Virtual Book Tours and Reviews.:
By this time you should be well known in the writing circles of your specific genre.  They either love or hare your book, and those interested have already bought your book.  So, when choosing a Book Tour Venue, make sure it takes you and your book into new and virgin territory.  Sticking with writers' blogs is simply preaching to the converted.  You want to storm the battlements of bloggers that offer a whole new range of readers - ones that aren't sick of hearing about you and your book.

A terrific book review from a reviewer of substance, seen in a magazine, or some online eZine of excellent repute, is a gold standard that will sell your book.  Not every book is accepted by these Gods and Goddesses of Review.  One sniff of self publish, or e-book,  and most turn up their noses and stride away.  The average writer has to scrounge for reviews among the contacts they have forged during pre-publication times.  Writers are an incestuous lot.  They help those who help them.  So on your way up the publication ladder, take time out to help or promote those below or above you on the climb.  When your book is published, you can then call in your markers without a hint of guilt, because you have earned them.  YEA!!

NEVER assume that the school, bookstore, or church bazaar you promised to entertain will follow through with what you both agreed upon. Check that every detail is in place, as previously agreed, in plenty of time to correct what they forgot - like the supply of books to sell, the table to display your books, the fliers to hand out or put in the store window, balloons to make you visible etc, etc, etc.

Take those fliers to the venue and put them in the window or on the church notice board yourself.  Send the teacher a nicely designed order form ( with your e-mail and blog link on it) so she can replicate it for her class to take home for their parents.  Make sure a day beforehand that the projector or screen is available. Check the time you are to be there, and the length of your presentation the day before - just in case. . .  Think if all these people as toddlers who need constant reminding and follow ups.

Well mates, I don't want to scare you too much, so I will quit now, before a stiff drink and aspirin are unnecessary. Just remember, writing for children is YOUR special gift, and you'll do what ever is necessary (short of immoral, illegal or fattening stuff), to see your books in their hands.

Your motto is:

Whatever the cost to your sanity!


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques
BOOKS - a Gift for ALL Occasions! 



  1. Great Tips! Oh and the cold calling. We also send copies of our ARCs and Media Kits to libraries and booksellers before following up with visits or calls. It's been beneficial. But also hard work.

    1. Preston that is a great idea.
      Thanks for adding it here.

      BOOKS for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  2. Margot, you say we should negotiate our price with prospective places we want to visit, but I have no idea what to charge and how to determine the expenses for each one. So if you had an idea about this it would be appreciated.:) Great post about promotion and I am doing it all so we'll see what happens.

    1. Lionmother, the fee you charge schools depends on a lot of variables. Are you a well known author? Do you offer a "killer" program for schools? Are you an old hand at school visits, with lots of "goodies" to offer? The number of classes you visit, and if you design a special program for each?

      So as you can see, it depends. You need to chat with whoever is in charge of visits and see what they need from you. Then negotiate their needs with your ability to fulfill them - time-wise, fee-wise and curriculum- wise. I would never go below $100 - even if it were your first visit ever.

      Consider the district, and if it is in a very depressed area. Then state a fee you feel is reasonable. Affluent areas will often pay $3 - $400 per day. Famous authors ask and receive much more. Offer to visit 3 classrooms in the day. I never do more than 3 in one day, because you are exhausted by then, and a 4th class just gets the crumbs.

      The success of your visit often depends on you and the teacher or librarian in charge getting together and working out a planned presentation you are both happy about. You need to make them feel the school is getting its money's worth. And at the same time, you need to feel you have made a fair deal for your time and expertise as a writer.

      Writers are talented people whose time is worth money. Don't undersell yourself. Negotiate. And if you plan out your presentation well ahead of time, and go over it so you become familiar with each part, you will feel relaxed and comfortable, and the kids will have fun. And don't forget to add a Q and A session that goes both ways - kids love to ask you questions about your writing and your characters.

      BOOKS for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  3. thank you Margot for sharing this with me! I am now a follower of your blog. If you would like to review my book and I could post it in my new blog feature, 'Words from the Wise', I would love it! Be in touch!

  4. Sandi, what age is your book for? Sorry, but I usually do not have the time to do book reviews. I do sometimes post interviews with authors. Would you be interested in that?

    Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you find my article helpful. Good luck with your new blog.

    BOOKS for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  5. Hi Margot:

    Terrific post! Thanks for the reminder to follow-up prior to a visit to make sure all is in order. I have a week long school visit at a local elementary school in March and need to do just that. When they contacted me through the Rockland County Teacher's Resource center I emailed them my author visit workshop PDF (which includes four different workshops) with rates. They got back to me with a yes and the negotiating began. I ended offering them a five day visit for a four day fee. They gladly accepted and then purchased 20 books for their classrooms, and they will also send order forms home with the children.

    In my experience flexibilty is key!

    Best regards,
    Award-winning Children’s Author
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

  6. Donna congratulations, mate. This should be a fun week for you. From what I read, you have done everything just right. Being flexible IS key!!

    BOOKS for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  7. Some good information here, Margot. It just proves
    again that writing a manuscript is the easy part.
    Books for Boys Blog

  8. Thanks, Margot! I read YOUR comment on LinkedIn about Jennifer's book reviews, and am so grateful I found you! I started a non profit that does free art presentations for schools and written an Art textbook as well as many other books available here: I am excited to see the pdf of your children's time travel adventure you mention you will send on request with my email. HEre is my email: Let me know if you are interested in getting a pdf of my art book in return!
    Thanks again for bettering all of us, Margot!

  9. what a great resource this is! thanks so much!

  10. Great tips, Margot. I am definitely in need of help. This helped. Will copy and paste it to a word doc for marketing "Annie's Special Day."