#summersparks DAY 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja by Corey Rosen Schwartz


Summer SparksHow to Be a Marketing Ninja!
by Corey Rosen Schwartz


When my first book, HOP PLOP, came out in 2006, I suffered from promote-a-phobia. The thought of marketing filled me with dread. I had no idea what to do, and so… I basically did nothing. (This did not bode well for sales)


But sometime before the launch of my second book, THE THREE NINJA PIGS, my whole attitude toward marketing shifted. And I can tell you precisely when it happened.


I was reading the How to Promote Your Children’s Book by Katie Davis and I got to the part in Chapter One where she says that she went to her local movie theater and asked them to screen her book trailer. Wow. What a brilliant thing to do!


In that instant, I went from a fearful marketing-phobe to a fierce marketing Ninja! Ki-ya! I suddenly saw marketing as a creative endeavor, not a loathsome chore. I embraced it! After all, we writers are nothing if not creative!


So, after reading the rest of Katie’s book, what were some of my Ninja moves?


NinjaRed_Spot_GrandmaIdentify the Hooks


Not talking about a cross hook here. I’m referring to the topics, themes or issues in your book that might be of interest to others. Identifying these hooks will help you determine specifically who to target.


The main hook of THE THREE NINJA PIGS is martial arts. The secondary hooks are fairy tales and girl power.


Don’t have a contract yet? No worries. The BEST time to think about hooks is before and during the writing process. A book with a strong hook is a LOT easier (and more fun!) to promote.




Once you’ve determined who to target, it’s time to make physical contact! Reach out to anyone and everyone you can think of. The world has changed a lot since 2006. Facebook and Twitter are amazing resources, so take full advantage of them!


  • I messaged THOUSANDS of martial arts schools on Facebook explaining that my book may be of interest to their students and including a link to the trailer. I also offered to send them free bookmarks. Hundreds took me up on this offer.
  • I followed every elementary teacher and librarian I could find on twitter. Fractured fairy tales are very popular so I paid to have a teacher’s guide created and shared it with as many educators as possible.
  • I emailed organizations such as A Mighty Girl who focus on empowering girls and offered them review copies and/or hard copies for giveaways to their fans. (A Mighty Girl has 476,000 fans on Facebook alone!)


NinjaRed_Spot_WolfCross-Punch Like Crazy


Okay, I realize the metaphor is getting weak, but… cross-promotion is the key to success! That was the real “Aha!” from Katie’s book. When you cross promote, everyone benefits.


I held lots of events in dojos! When I did hold an event at a book store or library, I tried to invite in a martial arts instructor from a local dojo to demo moves with me. In that way, I had both the store and the dojo promoting the event. The book store got a bigger audience & increased sales, and the dojo got exposure which often led to new enrollment. It was win-win! One team (Hooray for Books and Seichou Karate down in Alexandria, VA) had so much success that they now hold ninja story times without me!


Fortunately for me, my next book NINJA RED RIDING HOOD shares the same hooks, so I am well-positioned for the release in July. But regardless of what type of book you write, I hope these ninja marketing moves will serve you well.


Corey Rosen Schwartz



Corey is the author of HOP! PLOP! (Walker, 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam, 2012) GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Putnam, 2014) and NINJA RED RIDING HOOD (Putnam, 2014). Corey has no formal ninja training, but she sure can kick butt in Scrabble. She lives with three Knuckleheads in Warren, NJ.

She is the author of:

Hop! Plop!

Hop! Plop!

Three Ninja Pigs

Three Ninja Pigs

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears


Ninja Red Riding Hood

Ninja Red Riding Hood




Writing Prompt

 Hi everyone. This is Tracey. 🙂

Corey has taken on some fairy tales and totally rocked them. So here is my writing prompt to you…

Think of one of your favorite fairy tales or bed time stories or folktales. Now how can you spin it? Make it unique. Give it an updated, more modern appeal.




Missed a SUMMER SPARK? Don’t worry, you can find them here:

Day 1: In Celebration of Summer Magic  by Kelly Milner Halls
Day 2:  The Power of Doodling  by Alison K. Hertz
Day 3: Cause & Effect  by Alayne Kay Christian
Day 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja  by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Day 5: A Visual Writing Prompt: Begin at the End  by Julie Gribble
Day 6: The Final Word  by Jodi Moore
Day 7: Inspiration Station  by Susanna Hill
Day 8: Voice and Word Choice in Picture Books by Tara Lazar
Day 9: Platform Building Can You Build It? Yes, You Can!  by Tracey M. Cox
Day 10: 5 Ways to Hook Your Reader with Your Very First Line  by Kirsti Call
Day 11: Burning Down the House aka Revision by Donna Earnhardt
Day 12: Persistence  by Donna M. McDine
Day 13: Writing Your Way to a Spark  by Kris Dinnison
Day 14: Hope In Your Heart  by Carol Gordon Ekster
BONUS: What Songs Rock Your World?  by Claire Rudolf Murphy
Follow-up #1: TIPS
Follow-up #2: 9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Prize Announcement: Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

35 thoughts on “#summersparks DAY 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja by Corey Rosen Schwartz

  1. What a fun post! And I love the hint about finding your hook BEFORE you’ve sold – while you are writing! I’ve been thinking about a fractured fairy tale based on Hansel and Gretel – I may just have to develop that a bit Thanks, Corey AND Tracey!

  2. Pingback: DAY 1: In Celebration of Summer Magic by: Kelly Halls | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  3. Pingback: DAY 2: The Power of Doodling by Alison Hertz | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  4. Pingback: Day 3: Cause and Effect by Alayne Kay Christian | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  5. Corey, Great advice. These tips are the most perfect thing to share with those who are just starting to think about marketing, or those who struggle with marketing. My favorite message: “I suddenly saw marketing as a creative endeavor, not a loathsome chore. I embraced it! After all, we writers are nothing if not creative! Let me repeat myself, perfect!

  6. Great marketing advice but the best word in her post was “knuckleheads.” Blast from the past! Thanks for all good advice.

  7. I think I would have been overwhelmed to hear about going to the movies to promote my trailer — in fact, I was overwhelmed when I just read it. Nonetheless, I was feeling the whole creative endeavor thing going on by the end of this post. Thanks Corey and Tracey.

  8. Enjoyed reading your post about marketing. I get overwhelmed just sending a manuscript in the mail to get someone interested enough to publish it.

  9. Awesome tips! I couldn’t agree more–if you embrace marketing as a creative endeavor, it makes the act bearable, if not even enjoyable.

  10. Pingback: DAY 5: A Visual Writing Prompt: Begin at the End by Julie Gribble | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  11. Thanks. I don’t mean to suggest that it isn’t overwhelming at all. I have STILL not approached my local movie theater to ask about screening my book trailer. That is too daunting for me. But I am not too scared to message a dojo on Facebook. And if i can message one, i can certainly message a thousand. it’s the the little things that add up. So, find the ones that you are comfortable doing and do them repeatedly!

  12. Corey: Thank you for sharing your three Ninja Marketing ideas of identifying the hooks, strike, and cross punch like crazy. Your experience will make us all better at promoting great books and the love of reading. Tracey: I look forward to working on the writing prompt as I write a fractured fairy tale. ~Suzy Leopold

  13. Pingback: DAY 6: The Final Word by Jodi Moore | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  14. Great post, Corey! I have always tried to find my hook while writing and my manuscripts can attest to that fact for they are covered with ideas jotted down in the margins as well as doodles everywhere you look! I absolutely love, love, love Katie Davis’s idea of going to your local theater and asking them to play your book trailer.

    Thanks Tracey for a writing prompt that’s right up my alley! I love fairy tales and am an avid collector of tales that are not your standard fare and have rewritten about a dozen of them… and thanks to your prompt I just added another one to my growing pile of manuscripts.

  15. Pingback: #summersparks DAY 7: Inspiration Station by Susanna Hill | a writers blog by: Tracey M. Cox

  16. Corey, I love your books and so does my grandson. Best of luck with “Ninja Red Riding Hood” and thanks so much for the marketing tips. Tracey, thank you for the prompt as well. I was kind of in a writing funk but I’m getting over it, thanks to you and your wonderful Summer Sparks challenge!

  17. I’ve speed-read Katie’s book. Now that I’ve got some “free-time” (ha!) I will be going back with a fine-tooth comb in preparation for my April book launch. Facebooking thousands from my target audience (preschool parents/teachers and librarians–great idea. Are there lists I can turn to on Facebook?

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