You read this blog. So you already know. I’m a shameless self-promoter. And now, sound the trumpets, ta-da, I’m taking the shameless art of self-promotion to a new level. On this day, in this post, I am promoting an article my children’s book publisher wrote about my skills at, you guessed it: shameless self-promotion!
The brilliant, not-to-be-missed article, written by Francine Rich from Blue Marlin Publications, appears in the new issue of The Bulletin, — a bi-monthly publication of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
An Insider’s View (subtitled “A Small Publisher’s Perspective on Why It’s Important to Promote Yourself as an Author AND a Promoter”) is only available online to SCBWI members. If you don’t have an SCBWI membership, though, don’t despair! I’m a member and will sneak in a few “teasers” from the article here.
In 2003, Beth had had an adult memoir published through the University of Illinois Press. Now, in 2006, she was ready to use all her connections to create a marketing campaign for her picture book. And create she did. The minute she signed the Blue Marlin Publications contract, she turned herself into a human network. As the weeks progressed, I learned there was very little Beth wouldn’t do to promote her book.
At this point in the article, Francine mentions an idea she came up with after learning Hanni and I would be staying at the same hotel independent bookstore owners were staying at during Book Expo America last year. Francine thought it might be good to paste the book’s cover image on my butt as I walked around the lobby. Shameless as the idea was, I had to decline. I definitely do have enough room back there to advertise, but trust me, that wouldn’t be a good promotion of my “self.”
In a section of the article dedicated to school visits, Francine wrote:
Since Beth comes from a large family, she offers to visit the schools of her nieces and nephews, cousins’ children, and their friends. She offers the schools the option of purchasing books.
And always, she totes her postcards, extra fliers about her school visits, bookmarks, and announcements about future appearances. Every event is a networking opportunity for a future event.
True to form, Hanni and I will have appeared at three different schools this week, the very week the shameless self-promotion article appeared in the SCBWI Bulletin. Last Tuesday we were at Baranoff Elementary School in Austin, TX; on Thursday we were at the Elmhurst Academy in Elmhurst, IL; and this Tuesday we’ll visit Longfellow School in Oak Park, IL. I never know what future gigs might come from school visits like these, and I get a kick out of tracking it all.
The article concludes with some flattering compliments from Francine:
The bottom line is that Beth is a dream for a tiny publisher like me. In return, I am willing to put more time, money, and effort into promoting Beth’s book than I ordinarily would because I just know my investments will not be wasted. I know full well that authors who promote themselves and their books as wholeheartedly as Beth Finke are not easy to find. But authors wishing to work with small publishers must understand
that a great piece of writing will appear even greater if the author offers specific plans for getting that story into the hands of readers.
Aw, shucks. Thanks, Francine. Truth is, you are the one who is a dream come true for a tiny children’s book writer like me. Happy Thanksgiving!