When I decided to write for children I read every book on the subject that I could find. Even then it took me ten years to get a picture/storybook published.
Now my book is in print with two more books on the way and it is a whole new ball game. Now I need to wrap my mind around the finer points of book promotion. When your book hits the stores you don't have ten years to learn the basics, you have to be prepared to hit the ground running. My first promotional attempts took place at my church. Why? Because I have a lot of friends there and a very supportive pastor.
This will be lesson one in book promotion, book signings:
Tip #1. Don't wait until your book is published to start networking. Be friendly with everyone and make sure they know you write for children.
Tip #2. When you approach the book store owner be confident. You are not asking for money you are offering to help draw customers into their store. Offer to do a book signing. Ask what you can expect from them. Ask what they will expect from you.
Tip #3. Print up flyers for the store to hand out. Print posters for their windows. Hand out flyers at any organizations you belong to (church, clubs, places where you volunteer, work).
Tip #4. Contact the local radio station, television station, and newspapers and offer to do interviews. Contact the book store and keep them informed of the publicity as it is set up.
Tip #5. Be cheerful, and confident. Remember no one knows you better than you do. In that case how tough can the interview questions be? Relax! You are an expert.
Tip #6. Arrive at the bookstore a few minutes early so that you can set up. Dress like a professional and do not act like a diva.
Tip #7. Be friendly and respectful to the store employees. Learn and use the employees names. After the event be sure to thank them all for their help.
Tip #8. Have a drawing for something mailable. This will give you a reason to gather names and addresses for your mailing list. I gave away a modest book store gift certificate. Give away free bookmarks, or coloring pages, or whatever will draw attention to you and your books. Offer them to everyone even if they are trying to ignore you. People like to get free things.
Tip #9. Decorate your table with things that link to your book. A brightly colored tablecloth will get attention. My book is about raccoons so I brought stuffed and plastic raccoons to draw people to me.
Tip #10. Be sure you bring enough pens to autograph books, and a scratch pad so that people can write down the name they want it made out to. Don't guess at the spelling. Bring extra books in case the book store runs out. Have the cost information handy just in case.
Your job is to sell books and make friends. Most of all, have fun!
(c) 2008 Sharon A. Soffe