SCHOOL & LIBRARY VISITS PART 1—MARKETING
I’m getting ready for the big day. The day my first published book hits the shelves of the kiddie section of B & N, Books A Million, Amazon, LifeWay, and other book stores. Yeah!
Of course at this moment I have absolutely no idea when that day will be. Sometime AFTER a publisher sends me a contract to sign, I am sure.
But I believe in being prepared. So, I’m getting ready now.
Many children’s authors use in-person visits to market their books, so I’m brainstorming ideas for visits to schools, libraries, book stores, etc. I found a rather old book hiding ON MY SHELF. It’s not about writing, but it IS about storytelling. It is titled New Handbook for Storytellers with Stories, Poems, Magic and More by Caroline Feller Bauer. It was published by the American Library Association way back in 1993. Many of the tools she mentions are outdated and have been replaced with shiny new technology. But her ideas are still there, little sparkling gems hiding under the poster board and chalk boards and toilet tissue roller puppets.
Skimming through the New Handbook are great ideas that I can update for 21st Century readers.
I’m considering some of her ideas about MARKETING for my repertoire.
- Don’t limit myself to schools, libraries and book stores. Try art festivals, craft shows, book fairs, Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops, local Saturday markets, and more.
- Don’t depend on the school or library to do all of the publicity. Make fliers and ask to display them in grocery stores, convenience stores, pediatricians and dental offices, community clubhouses, churches, early childhood development centers, etc.
- Instead of giving everyone a bookmarkor post card (affordable souvenirs) try something different. Stretch and think of small, inexpensive (or FREE) tokens that are somehow related to my topic or to my book(s). I write about nature and the seasons so I should be able to collect leaves, acorns, gumballs or feathers to use for freebies. NOTE TO SELF: avoid things kids might be allergic to. Also, destroy any parasites, molds etc. on natural objects by drying them in a warm (no more than 250° oven for an hour or two). For a book about winter I can give each child a tiny white pompom snowball. If my book is about an animal I can cut (or probably buy already cut) paper animals. If my book mentions shells or the sea shore I can give each child their own tiny shell. I got this one!
- I should think of food items that somehow tie in with my book. Like, Cheerios or individually wrapped LifeSavers for a book that mentions donuts or life-preservers or a ship wreck. How about Bugles snacks for a book with musical instruments? I don’t need to give them a bag—just one piece each! Oh, AVOID NUTS!
- Using colorful tape I can make a “path” from the hallway or front walk to my area complete with arrows to point the way. ASK PERMISSION FIRST.
- Make a bright, colorful, easy to read welcome sign for my area.
- Most of us use newsletters and group emails and social media to advertise. But, how about an old-fashioned personal invitation sent to email inboxes?
- A few days before my visit I can send teachers, book stores or librarians FREE TICKETS for the kids to come to my presentation. Who doesn’t like free?
I found lots of other good stuff in the New Guide about the program. I’ll tell you about those next week, dear readers!
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Thank you. See you next week, folks!