People say, “You must be so excited about your book coming out!” Not till May, I remind them, and, oddly, it actually feels like an anticlimax. I’ve lived with this book for years now. Not in its hardback, to-be published form, of course. That will be new. But it took a lot of work to get to this point, and it’s hard for me to believe that this book could be fresh to anyone. You mean other people might want to read this old thing? Its existence will actually be new to someone else? I mean everyone else? You mean I have to tell everyone I can that it lives and is available?

I’m not sure I’m up for that, but of course I must be. So I’ve started thinking about what to do. The answer: Marketing.

Now, I’ve been ridiculously swamped with other, non-book things, so I haven’t even checked with my editor about what to do. I believe, these days, authors and author-illustrators are expected to contribute to the marketing effort. I have no idea what that means or what the publisher does. I was thrilled to hear from my editor that they plan to offer my book as an ebook, too. But, actually, I learned, they do this for every book now; she just needed my permission as a formality.

So here’s my list of what I can do. Please let me know if you’ve come up with other ideas for yourself.

  • List all bookstores where I’d like to read, and contact them. Now! And even now might be too late for a May release – ack! (See earlier “ridiculously swamped with other, non-book things” comment above.)
  • Revise my website extensively to give the book its own page(s). (May I just use “ibid.” from now on (incorrectly) to refer to my earlier “ridiculously swamped with other, non-book things” comment above?)
  • The book pages on my website should offer children things to do. What??? So far I’ve come up with PDFs of coloring sheets. Otherwise, ibid.
  • Tweet? Ibid. And why? But I’m interested in finding out why anyway.
  • Scour the web for other author-illustrators’ websites and glean from them ideas for bookstore and school visits. Ibid. But do those of you who are published do this?
  • But I have good craft ideas for school and bookstore visits. Do author-illustrators engage kids in crafts? My daughter’s school asked me to read the book, and the woman there said she’d never had an author-illustrator do crafts. Do little kids actually care about the writing and the publication “process”? Can reading the book itself actually fill a whole visit, even if I “read” the pictures as well as the words for the kids?

    And I admit it. I love the craft ideas I’ve come up with, despite ibid. Okay, what do you think about this? My book is about a girl who sees a ring drop from a man’s pocket. She picks up the ring, puts it in her little purse, then struggles to return it. And thank goodness she does, because that man will need this ring when he gets down on one knee. So I’ve come up with a craft in which kids make rings for themselves, using beautiful gold paper ribbon I found at, of all places, Jo-ann Fabric, fastened by a Zot and decorated with a sticky-back plastic gem. The little rings are cute! Kids could also create little origami purses in which to carry their rings. And then I could talk about finding and keeping and returning and things like that. What do you think?

    And what about the boys? They might like to make rings, depending on the age of the group, but I was thinking that maybe they could make pouches that attach to their belts! Ibid. Then again, every spread in my book includes a black cat, so how about the kids making black cat bookmarks? Doesn’t that sound like a fun craft? And it’s literary! After all, you need books for bookmarks. And fortunately or not, you need Marketing to have books…for sale…in stores…at least for now…until a different system takes hold…

    4 thoughts on “Marketing”

    1. Catherine Linka says:

      Bravo for these great craft ideas. As a bookseller, I LOVE authors who promise to bring an engaging craft that ties to the book. Little kids have a limited attention span and the crafts keep them excited and get parents involved.

      1. Gretchen Geser says:

        Thanks, Catherine. Your encouragement from the front lines really helps!

    2. Tami Brown says:

      I love the craft idea, Gretchen. I created craft projects for both of my books, including a wacky chicken craft for my novel.

      Kate Hosford is a picture book marketing genius (plus a wonderful person and a picture book writing genius as well!) Take a look at her website and the materials she prepared for BIG BOUFFANT and INFINITY AND ME–

      1. Gretchen Geser says:

        I’m glad to hear you’ve done crafts, too. Yay! And I’ll definitely check out Kate Hosford’s site. I’ve seen her book in B&N and loved it.

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