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?
Identify 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!)
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:
FIND COREY ROSEN SCHWARTZ:
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
THAT’S A WRAP!
Follow-up #1: TIPS
Follow-up #2: 9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Prize Announcement: Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!