Here's a description from Goodreads:
A charming novel about sisterhood, self-identity, and friendship from the author of Flutter
Indie Lee Chickory knows she's not as cool as her older sister Bebe. Bebe has more friends, for one. And no one tells Bebe she's a fish freak, for two. So when Indie accidentally brings her pet lobster to school, makes a scene, loses him in the ocean and embarrasses Bebe worse than usual, she makes a wish on a star to become a better Chickory. She tries to do this by joining the stage crew of the community's theater production, The Sound of Music. (Bebe has a starring role.) But Bebe is worried that Indie will embarrass her again, so she gives her a makeover and tells her who she should be friends with. That means Owen is out. But he's fun and smart, so Indie keeps her friendship with him a secret. At night, Indie and Owen rebuild a tree house into a ship in the sky to catch Indie's pet lobster. But during the day, Indie has to hide her friendship with Owen.
When things come to a head, Indie realizes that being true to yourself is more important than being cool. But what's even more surprising is that Bebe realizes it, too.
Doesn't that sound good? Erin's going to share a fabulous guest post on marketing with us today. So here's Erin.
So, today I am here to discuss marketing for your middle grade novel. It’s funny, I get asked about this a lot. I have spoken about it on panels, and I have written blog posts about it, and yet, marketing is something I hate. Well, maybe hate is strong word. But it’s certainly something I feel, well, sick about. Honestly. I don’t know what the deal is. I write a book. It’s out in the world, but then figuring out how to talk about the book is hard for me. It literally makes my stomach twist. And here I am…to talk to you about how to do it! I know what you are saying, why the hell are you going to tell us how to do it if you can’t get a grip on it yourself, lady?
That is a valid question, my friend. As it turns out, I have been talking to more and more writers, and it appears to be a common place of discomfort. It’s certainly not universal, but let’s face the facts, a lot of introverts are not good at putting themselves out there and the word “marketing” certainly indicates that you take charge of promoting yourself. And, again, let’s face the facts, a lot of writers are introverts. Myself included. But, I have come to think of it in a new, healthier way.
One day, while I was leaving a school visit I was thinking, why do I love this, but hate putting myself out there to adults, to the market etc? And I realized it was because when I am doing a school visit, I feel like I am engaging with, and giving something to, the group. When I hear the word, marketing I think promotion, ads, commercials etc. Look, look, look, me, me, me! Bleh! Ultimately, I had preconceived notions about what marketing meant, and I think those notions were wrong. As I got into my car it dawned on me that if I thought about marketing simply as engaging with my audience, it wouldn’t feel nearly as uncomfortable. But that left the question: How would I engage with my readers? Well, I thought about it and I came up with three simple steps that helped me and I hope they help you, too.
Step 1: Figure out who your audience is and give them what they need. Understand whether your book is for the school/library market or if it will be commercial. My books are for the school/library market, so I know that the people I want to engage with are teachers, librarians and kids! In order to engage with this group, I
a) Made sure my website was friendly to teachers and librarians. I made a teacher’s guide, so it could be used in the classroom. I added Readers Theater and interviews. If you can put up some video, do that, too! Post anything you think will be helpful to teachers, kids or librarians in a school setting.
b) I also made myself available for school visits. You can either post school visit content to your website or have a few idea options available to send teachers and librarians when they contact you. If you get a request from very far away, be sure to make skype available at a lower cost. It works great and it’s still beneficial to the kids.
c) I also reached out to my MG and school library book bloggers. You can do a blog book tour (just like I am doing now). Make sure you give options for posts: review, interviews, giveaways, guest posts etc. That way you are not just saying “hey look at me, look at me!” Think content. You will be amazed at how open and welcoming the world of bloggers is, just as long as you are clear with your motives and have something significant to offer.
Step 2: Utilize your strengths to help/give to others. I don’t just mean with writing. I mean, utilize your strengths as a human. I get excited for others very easily and I have what the other librarians call the “nice factor.” I honestly can’t help it and rarely know when I am doing it. I nod on cue and give lots of encouraging looks. I have been hugged by a complete stranger on the street more than once. Actually more than twice. (now that I am thinking about this, I am starting to think it is actually a weakness….) In any case, I am not saying you need to be super friendly, but: know thyself, writer, and use your skills to buoy others. Like a lot of writers, I get excited about colleagues in the writing community, so I can’t help but
a) Show off the work of friends and colleagues. Sometimes through reviews at the library, sometimes retweeting articles, other times just plain bragging about them. Do you have a blog? Can you do book chats or regular reviews? Be a voice in the greater picture.
b) Give stuff away! I give stuff away on blogs, goodreads, and whenever I do a reading or signing I like to bring a basket or a book to giveaway. It’s a thank you for people giving their time to come and visit me. You’re given the pleasure of their company. Give something back. Make it unique to you and your story. Think about what sets you apart and give with that in mind. Do you love working with kids? Give away a skype visit. Do you work with charities? Do a raffle and give the profit to your favorite foundation. You get the gist; use your skills to buoy your book as well as others.
Step 3: (is small but important) be consistent with images so that people recognize you. We’re talking about engaging an audience here, and you cannot engage an audience if the audience cannot find you. Imagine if you were a band who regularly changed their name? Or, well, imagine if you were a writer who wrote every book under a different name? No one would be able to follow you to see what you are up to next. Make sure you have the same images on
a) twitter and facebook, goodreads, amazon and your websites
b) swag, giveaways and gifties
So my point? Don’t market. Find your audience and engage with them. Think strengths, consistency, content and generosity. That’s my two cents. How do you engage with your readers?
Erin E. Moulton graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2007. She is the author of Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey(Philomel/Penguin 2011), and Tracing Stars(Philomel/Penguin 2012). Erin is co-founder of the Kinship Writers Association and is currently the YA librarian at the Derry Public Library. Erin lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and puppy where she writes, reads, drinks tea and dreams. You can visit her online at www.erinemoulton.com or on Facebook as Erin E. Moulton (Author), or find her on twitter @erinemoulton.
Erin has generously offered an ARC of TRACING STARS for a giveaway. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 14th. I’ll announce the winner on July 16th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.
Here's what's coming up. There's a lot:
I hope you'll come back on Monday when I interview Carolyn Turgeon about her new book THE NEXT FULL MOON, a fantastic middle grade story about a girl who grows wings. Carolyn has written a number of adult/YA crossover books so she has lots of great advice to share with you.
The following Monday I'm interviewing Laurisa White Reyes and giving away a copy of her amazing book THE ROCK OF IVANHOE.
Wednesday that week Casey has a guest post scheduled with Shannon Wiersbitzky on staying focused and she's giving away THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS.
The following Monday I'm interviewing Lenny Lee for my ASK THE EXPERT series and sharing and giving away UNRAVELING and THE SELECTION.
Then Wednesday that week I'm interviewing Leigh Bardugo and giving away a copy of her fantasy SHADOW AND BONE. I've heard such amazing things about her book. I've been saving it to read this week and I can't for her interview.
Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!