Monday, August 27, 2018

8 Ways to Get Kids to Read Your Book

I can't say I'm an expert on selling kids' books, but I do know kids. As a teacher and parent, I've spent a great deal of time with crazy daisies and funny bunnies! I know what they like and what they dislike (probably wouldn't like that I call them crazy daisies and funny bunnies!). No matter the fad of the week or the generation, kids are kids are kids. They love to crow and grow and go.

As an author of MG and YA, kids reading my books is what keeps me going. The feedback I get from my young readers is heartwarming and inspirational. The trouble is, how to get books into those little hands! So here's some advice that works...

How to Get Kids to Read Your Book:

  1. Set up a School Visit - You have to go where kids are. Contact schools and offer a presentation or lesson. Schools are the number one promoters of reading. Go motivate those students! If they like you, they'll want your book.
  2. Do a Library Visit or Reading - Many libraries are happy to host an author. Donate copies of your book. The more visibility you get, the more folks will want to spread the word to read your stuff!
  3. Coordinate a Bookstore Signing with your visits! - Now that you have their interest, tie these visits together with a book signing. The hard part is hoping the kids will remember and persuade their parents to bring them to the signing.
  4. Sign up for a Presentation at a Children’s Book Fair - Many book fairs have a special day or section set up just for kids' presentations and activities. I've done many of these and always sell books from them (suggestions for presentations will be another post coming soon!) 
  5. Be part of a Family-Friendly Vending Event - And have some candy or fun giveaways to attract kids that go with your book, like these fun hand sanitizers:
  6. Host a Signing Party - I try to have my release parties at fun places kids will be: like at an ice cream shop or a kids' boutique. I'm thinking of hosting my next party at a pizza parlor.
  7. Write an MG SERIES - One book is good, but a series will give kids an easy go to for their next read! A series is a great way to keep your name in the front of readers' minds as they look forward to more from you.
  8. Be Funny! - If you can make a kid laugh, you'll capture their heart. They'll see you in a new light. Laughter is a connection. When you make someone laugh, it shows you get them--you know what they like, how they think. And if you can do that, they'll want to laugh some more and read your books!

Bonus - Get to know Children’s Book Reviewers. Reviews are important parts of the publishing and marketing process. Lots of lists are out there, and though many of the book bloggers have extensive reading lists, keep trying!

If you’re lucky, you’ll get an awesome video review like this one from my SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:

Tonja is AWESOME, isn't she? She's also brilliant! She spent some time in Europe not only devouring chocolate, cheese and wine, but also worked as a freelance translator and a summary writer for a German television station. How lucky am I that she was able to help me translate some German phrases in my latest Beast World novel, WINDY HOLLOW?? She's amazing!

Currently, Tonja resides somewhere in the back woods of the Ozarks and writes away while tending to chickens, cows and her family of six. Her stories have been published in several collections and magazines. A GLOWWORM was published by Black and White Publishing Company (2017). She's an avid book reader, professional children's book reviewer, outdoor addict and always in search of a new adventure (based in reality, the imagination, or otherwise).

But the best part - I happened to catch her right as she's about to be published! Her debut novel MUSIC BOXES is a slightly dark middle grade urban fantasy about a girl and her ballet dreams with hints toward Hansel and Gretel (just as dash) as well as Coraline. It's scheduled to be released on February 5th, 2019 with Dancing Lemur Press!

Congratulations, Tonja!

Summer's been a blast (of hot air!) Hope you all are ready for Fall. I sure am!

Monday, August 13, 2018

What's a Street Team??

First, I want to thank you all for the positive comments and vibes from my last "woe-is-me" post. On the financial front, we are moving on up--actually, downsizing to save mucho money and afford the latest college addition. Plus I'm ready to go back to work at my own pace. Things are working out, as they usually do! I also found some fabulous writing prompts that inspired some new stories! (Like the new IWSG Anthology Contest - Check it out!)

And I came up with a new outlook on life...

Life is like a favorite t-shirt--It starts out bright and clean but eventually gets worn out and stained. It also gets more comfortable and refreshed with every wash!

Next, I wanted to talk about "Street Teams" - What the heck are they? Have you heard of them? Do you have one? Does it work?

Well, I researched it and here's what I found:
  • Street Teams have been around forever--they started out as marketing for new artists - Probably because they're cheap, relatively easy, and effective (article 1)
  • A Street Team is a group of people actively going out and talking to your potential audience to help sell your product. They create BUZZ - How awesome is that?!
Authors could always use some help with marketing. It's a hard job to do on your own. So here are some thoughts and advice I compiled for creating and managing a Street Team: (article 2)
  • RECRUIT! Doesn't hurt to ask. So ask. You have fans. You have followers. Create a form and offer it to them. Many will be happy to give your new book a shout out or tweet at the very least! Hopefully, you'll get some regular reviewers. Mentioning it on Goodreads is also a good place to recruit (article 3)
  • PREP - Put together a rap sheet that includes expectations, volunteer duties, and room for suggestions. Let your Street Team pick and choose the best way they can help. Your Street Team will mostly be called upon to help with new releases, but can also be there for between-release-events as needed.
  • INCENTIVES - your Street Team deserves a little something for their hard work. Give them a special name, too. And maybe offer a bonus trinket for recruiting more members to join in the fun!
  • A SPECIAL PLACE - You need a way to communicate with your Street Team. Now, you can do a group email or even a group message, but for a broader method of notification and fast feedback, a Facebook Page might be more efficient. (article 4)
I know many people (like me) don't like to solicit help. But a Street Team is a voluntary group who shares your passion and love for your work. They want to promote and help you succeed. Then they are guaranteed that more of your books will be published!

I hope this was helpful. I'm going to start recruiting a Street Team soon for my next release: WINDY HOLLOW - which has a release date - January 19, 2019! Let me know if you'd like to read and review an ARC.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Street Teams - Do you have one?

Thirdly, here are the results of my latest survey - interesting info on WRITERS CAREER GOALS:

Of those who have an agent, no one was sure if she was helping them, yet...

Do you have tips for making a living from writing?
  • Diversify - be a speaker as well as a writer.
  • Know how to market yourself well!
  • Write a lot of books!
  • No. Though I've found when I pursue something, it eludes me. When I stop chasing it, it comes to me. Like a cat.
  • Not really. It's a personal thing with me.
  • Nope
  • Nope, just learning, watching and listening while taking notes and practicing.
  • I wish I knew how to make money from writing!

Finally, the best for last. My SHOUT OUT OF THE WEEK:

I'm so lucky to know this sweet woman in person! Liz and I live close enough to do book events together, at least one a year, sometimes more. We both raised boys, so we have lots to commiserate and relate with each other about--and we both have loads of advice, stories, and some recipes to share on our joint venture website: The Really Real Housewives of America. She's supportive, loves her family, and always sees the bright side!

Originally from Ohio, Elizabeth was moved to West Virginia and so was dubbed "Grit" as a child. She grew up in a tiny town with no red lights and no fast food where everyone knows everybody--oh the gossip! Thankfully she escaped to Marshall University then began a family of her own. (I'd say writing is her escape!) Liz is a daydreamer, a football mom, and an author of Women's Fiction & Romance.

"I have boys, books, and a dirty house. It's all good."

By the way, since I'm in the process of moving, my posts will be a little scattered. But you know how life goes!

Got any advice or more info on Street Teams? Or how to make a living as a writer? Do tell!

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