Thursday, August 12, 2010
Marketing for Kid's and Teen's Novels with Beverly Stowe McClure
Today, multi-published children's author, Beverly Stowe McClure is doing a guest post on her marketing techniques. Ms. McClure's web site with information about her writing is located at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com and
MARKETING FOR KID’S AND TEEN’S NOVELS
By: Beverly Stowe McClure
So you’ve written your story or novel. Your favorite publisher has turned it into a lovely book. And now you want the world to know about it. You can’t sit back and wait for fans to come to you, unless of course you’re a celebrity, a politician, or royalty. Since I don’t fall into any of these categories, I have to find other ways of sharing my book with readers. After all, that’s the reason I wrote it. Many of my ideas you probably already know. Perhaps I’ll mention one or two that are new to you. I hope my ideas will help other.
I’ve learned a lot since 2000 when my first young adult novel was published by Bookmice as an e-book. This publisher folded not too long after my book came out. Since then I have four more novels for teens and one for tweens searching for readers. Here are 10 ways I promote my work.
1. Web sites and Blogs: I have a Web site. At the moment it’s at Wordpress: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com. When I have time, I’ll change it to my domain name and get rid of the Wordpress part, which everyone says is the thing to do. I also have a blog at blogspot: http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com, and blogs for some of my characters: http://rebelinbluejeans.wordpress.com, http://justbreeze.wordpress.com, and http://lizzieswar.wordpress.com. I try to update these at least once a week. When important events are happening, like book signings, contests, and new information, I post more often.
2. Social Sites: Then there are the social sites, such as Face Book, Live Journal, My Space, Gather, JacketFlap, Library Thing, Shelfari, Good Reads,Twitter. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators I have access to their message boards and other information. On Verla Kay’s Blue Boards I can talk about my novels and signings. One caution though, I limit my time at these places, because writing is my top priority.
3. Newspapers, Radio, TV: I send press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. No one has contacted me for an interview from these announcements yet, but remember, writers have to be persistent. You never know when you might attract the right person’s attention. The newspaper has mentioned a couple of my book signings, when they had the space. I keep telling myself that one day they’ll review my books. Still waiting on that.
4. Bookstores, Libraries, Museums, Historical Societies: If you live in a large city, you’re lucky in these areas. I’m limited to two bookstores: Hastings Books, Music, and Videos, that has been very nice and always lets me have signings (and usually a cup of cappuccino). Books-a-Million that only allows signings if they can order your book. Since my books are from small publishers, that lets me out with them. The nearest Barnes and Noble is over an hours drive away, but I hope to try them one day. We’ll see what happens.
For me, libraries have worked better. I have a signing in August with our local library and another one in September with the library in Wichita Falls. I’ll be sending press releases and ads and flyers for these, hopefully to generate a little publicity. I usually make a flyer with the book cover, a blurb, and information about the signing, place, date, time, and leave them with the store or library for patrons to take if they want one.
Since my latest book is a historical novel, I’ve sent letters to the Eastern National Parks that deal with the Civil War and have museums and bookstores. Perhaps they’ll carry my book. I’m waiting to hear from them. I also plan to check historical societies. So look at the subject matter of your book and find gift shops and organizations that are related to your book. Check on home schooling groups who might be in the market for what you’ve written.
5. Blog Talk Radio and Videos: I’ve participated in a couple of Blog Talk Radio Shows which have been fun and have another scheduled for September. On these shows you get to do your favorite thing: talk about your books and being an author. And Kim McDougall made a fantastic trailer for Rebel in Blue Jeans. I’d like one for each of my books, when I get around to it.
6. Virtual Tours: Most of you know about these and have done tours for your books. They are wonderful to get the word out about your releases. Thanks to Penny, who so sweetly agreed to be a part of my current tour for my latest young adult novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, I’m telling you about my newest book and how I’m getting the word out about it.
7. Reviews: Though I have mixed feelings about reviews, they’re necessary. A good review can make you feel like you’re an author. A bad review can make you wonder if you ought to change professions. Cheer up though. Remember, each review is that person’s opinion. Maybe it’s best not to even read them. Yeah, like I have any control over my curiosity.
8. Contests and Conferences: These come in all shapes, forms, and sizes. I love contests. They’re a cool way to win signed books and other good stuff. Enter your book in contests. It can’t be a winner if you don’t. I’ve entered Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines in a couple so far and have others in mind for later this year.
I’ve also been to a couple of area SCBWI Conferences. Meeting other writers, trading ideas, pitching your work to an editor equals fun and maybe a submission invite. I like the Online Conferences, such as Lea’s Muse Conference, even better. I’ve also signed up for a new one, the Writeoncon in August. It sounds good too.
9. Bookmarks, Pencils, Other Giveaways: When I was a teacher, I loved free stuff. Still do, so anytime I hear the word “free” my ears perk up. When I have signings or contests I give away a lot of free stuff, mostly books, of course. I also have bookmarks (they’re fairly cheap to have made using your book information), pencils with the title of my book printed on them, and depending on the subject of the book other things children might enjoy. Even if they’re too young for my books, they bring their parents and older siblings to my table when they see the footballs, the stuffed animals, and other goodies that attract kids.
10. Perhaps the Most Important Thing is to Go to the Sites the Kids/Teens Visit: Some of my favorites are Flamingnet, Teens Read Too, and Teen Reads. Get your books on these sites with reviews, if possible, or ads. Teens are my target audience, so I have to go where they are.
It takes a lot of time to market your books. But it’s a part of the business. Best of luck to each of you, and if you have tips, please share in the comments. We’ll all in this together. Thanks so much for bearing with me in this loooooong post. Have a good one.
Beverly, thank you so much for sharing your marketing tips. I'm jotting down some of these that I hadn't thought of and plan to use them when marketing my own books.