I am not a marketing/promotion type person. If I had to sell things for a living, I would surely be sleeping under an overpass somewhere. But, as we’re all too aware, making a career as a writer requires you to support your work by promoting it. And with my first trade poetry picture book collection collection coming out from Clarion next year (STAMPEDE: POEMS ABOUT THE WILD SIDE OF SCHOOL), it’s time for me to get busy. So, on some Mondays, I’ll be posting Marketing Monday posts, where I share what I’m doing and learning about marketing my forthcoming book.
This past week, my husband and I spent several days in Duluth, a few hours north of Minneapolis, our favorite place to go to for a short getaway. It’s a port town on Lake Superior. There, I did my first two marketing tasks.
First, I compiled a list of possible marketing things I might do. I’ve been reading the fabulous blog, Shrinking Violet Promotions, from start to current state over the past month or so. Just from the notes I took there and also from some wonderful information from Cynthia Leitich Smith’s L.A. talk last year, I have a long list of more than I’ll ever be able to get to!
I’ll be paring the enormous list down, of course. But one thing I know I have to learn to do is to introduce myself to booksellers. I always visit the lovely Northern Lights Books & Gifts, Duluth’s waterfront independent bookseller. So, I told myself, that will be my second task over the course of these few days. Walk in. Go to desk. Talk to owner or manager. Ack!
Finally, one rainy morning, after an ice-cream-first-or-bookstore-first debate (bookstore won and ice cream would be my reward), Randy and I went into Northern Lights. I browsed for a few minutes, trying not to hyperventilate. Then I went up to the register, where two women worked. I asked, “Is the owner here?” And the woman who was standing said no, but indicated the other woman was the manager.
So I introduced myself and I have no idea what I said because I was so nervous. I got the gist across–children’s author, book coming out in spring, may I send you info about it, etc. But when we were done, I really couldn’t recall any details, not even the manager’s name–though I thought it started with an A! My head was just a void. (Vicki at the wonderful Children’s Literature Network tells me the manager is Anita Zager, so at least now I’ll know who to send postcards to.) Whew. Once I was breathing normally again, I browsed the poetry section and bought a neat book of poetry quotations, which you’ll hear more about later.
So, that was my first actual promotion activity (because making the list, as much as I’d like to count it, was an alone activity and very enjoyable to me–it’s the actual talking to people that’s hard.
My goals this week? 1) Contact my editor to start a dialog about promotion and how I can support/supplement Clarion’s efforts; 2) Figure out my promotion budget for STAMPEDE.
I hope you’ll visit on Mondays to share and get promotion ideas and hold me up when I’m about to pass out from the stress of it all! Anybody else out there planning their promotion efforts for a spring release book?