How to Promote Your First Picture Book, or try to...
Or how *I* promoted my first book, which may not be how you (or anyone else) would promote anything, but just in case you're an author with a book releases looming and you're thinking, "What the heck do I do?" you can glean inspiration from me.
Things I Can't Control: Reviews and "Best Books" Lists:
I was delighted beyond measure by my very first ever review from Publishers Weekly. Not only because it was a starred review, but wow, a starred review! Other reviews have appeared since, and not just on Amazon or Goodreads. Kirkus, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and a handful of blogs. Halloween Good Night has also made an appearance in a number of "Best Halloween Books" lists, linked along with the reviews below. I'll go on record saying Good Reads with Ronna is among my favorites because the reviewer, Christine Van Zandt, fully gets what I'm doing in the book! So exciting when it happens, just like the chuckles I get at readings over the dumpster-diving/bacon-loving goblins - from those who get the joke.
And likely more to come!
Things I've Made:
There's something about pregnancy, stress and anxiety that make me crafty. The whole "going and doing" (below) has been exceptionally draining, so what do I do with my zombie-like free time? I sew stuff, and glue stuff, and blog. Here on my site you'll find coloring pages, a globster craft, finger puppet patterns, more printables... Enough crafts and activities to keep a little one busy for WEEKS.
And since crafts and papers aren't enough, I also put together a book trailer and wrote a series of posts for the Ten Nights of Halloween! Find them all linked below.
The Ten Nights of Halloween
Things I've Done:
I answered what felt like a thousand interview questions. One interview you can see here at Karlin Gray's website!
A Young Artist's Gallery is now a feature of my site! I'd love to see your artwork!!!
I started a quarterly newsletter. Sign up here!
I also went places. Lots of places. An apple orchard, a children's museum, three bookstores...
Things I've Purchased:
I had postcards made via Instaprint. The cost wasn't tiny ($100-ish), but I have a good number left for next year, and I handed out many, many, many postcards. As with most things, not sure what the end result will be. But it's nice to have something to give someone who asks, "Oh, you write books? Anything I've heard of?" I also did an in-depth post on author postcards.
I purchased advertising by boosting a post on Facebook. Which post? My video trailer. Did it do any good? I don't know. It supposedly "reached" 600+ people in the weeks before Halloween, and it only cost me $10. I may try more of this for future books, though I can say I've never bought anything from a Facebook advertisement. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've even clicked a FB ad. Though I'm a total advertising skeptic, so...
I commissioned a friend who is a costume GENIUS to design several costumes and write a how-to article. She did an amazing job, and while the article didn't get out this season except for one print publication in Australia, we plan to get it on the list for 2018. A little sampling of one of the costumes...
Plans for Next Year:
With the release of Violet and the Woof in October of 2018 I plan to hit bookstores once again, and hopefully add some school visits. If the illustrator provides permission, I'll also publish coloring pages and crafts. Thankfully since this is not a seasonal book, promotion doesn't have a "deadline" (get it, Halloween, DEADline? Haha!). For Halloween Good Night I plan to pick one or two key events, publish another craft (already in the queue!), and of course the costume article mentioned above.
Authors, what have you done that has impacted your book's success? And readers, what would make you most interested in picking up a book?