Posts Tagged 'Oak Park'

The Shameless Art of Self Promotion

Thursday was Elmhurst Academy Day. Tomorrow, the world. Or at least, Longfellow School.

Thursday was Elmhurst Academy Day. Next, the world. Or at least, Longfellow School.

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!

Smelling Like a Rose

You might remember my “Papa & Me” blog about a presentation I gave at the Oak Park Public Library? A small independent children’s bookstore in Oak Park called Magic Tree was kind enough to bring books to the library for me to sign after my presentation. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a whole lot of takers.

As I put on my coat to leave the library, I could hear Rose, one of the Magic Tree owners, shoving unsold books back into a box. “Sorry we didn’t sell more books!” I called out in her direction. The temperature was one degree – yes, you read that right, one – outside. I hated to have dragged her out on such a cold night for such little reward.

Rose was unfazed. “No problem!” she exclaimed. “Now you can come to our store and do a presentation –we already have a stack of books!”

And so, this afternoon Hanni and I did a presentation at Magic Tree. Rose read “Safe & Sound” aloud, and I explained three rules to keep in mind if you happen to see a guide dog with a harness on: don’t pet the dog, don’t feed the dog, and don’t call out the dog’s name. “Those things can distract a Seeing Eye dog,” I told them. “It’d be like if someone nudged you or kept calling your name wile you were working on your spelling words at school. You wouldn’t be able to concentrate on your work.”

I suggested we come up with a fake name for Hanni. “If you use her fake name to say hi to her, she wont’ notice,” I said. “She’ll think you’re talking to someone else!”

“For today, let’s call the dog ‘Rose,’” I said. “You know, after the lady who invited Hanni and me to Magic Tree.

The kids liked the idea. The bookstore owner liked it, too. Until it came around to question and answer time, that is. There were some of the usual questions – how do you know where your food is on the plate, do you have to pay for a seat when the dog goes on an airplane with you, things like that. But then came the zinger. “How do you pick up Rose’s poop?”

I looked in Rose-the-human’s direction. She was quiet for a second. Then she burst out in laughter. I answered the question, but decided to refer to Hanni as “the dog” rather than “Rose” for this explanation.

It was a great event. When it was over, Rose didn’t pack any leftover books away in boxes. Instead, she asked me to sign them so she could bring them to a presentation she’d be giving to West Forty next month. “It’s an organization of 40 different public school districts in western Cook County,” she explained. “A lot of reading specialists are involved, I give presentations to them about books they might be interested in using with their kids.” She said she is especially pleased when she brings good books to their attention that they might not have heard of otherwise. “Yours is one of them.”

Papa & Me

The Oak Park Library and its many faces.  I’ll be heading to the first building on the left!    This Thursday at 7 pm I’ll be speaking at the public library in Oak park, Illinois.
Oak park is the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. I like to think that the Nobel Prize winner and I have a special bond.
It’s not true, of course, but I like to think it.
After all, Ernest and I were both born in Chicago suburbs. We’re both writers, and both of us thought it’d be cool to live in Paris someday.
But wait. There’s more. The company that published my children’s book is called Blue Marlin Publications. Get it? BLUE MARLIN? They’re named for the fish in “The Old man and the Sea.”
And so, considering this tight bond, it will be a special honor to speak at the Public Library in Ernest’s hometown. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park in 1899 and stayed there until his teens. From there he moved to Kansas City to write for a newspaper, then he sailed to Europe to drive an ambulance for the Red Cross in Italy. He was injured there and was awarded the Italian Silver Medal for Valor.
I got the rest of the story from a web site describing the Hemingway House in Oak park.
“Not long after, he would return to the Chicago suburbs to nurse his wounds, and shortly after he was healed, moved on to Paris and a more spectacular life.”
And that, of course, was the beginning of Hemingway’s demise. After all, how could anything be more spectacular than life in Oak park??
Here are details about my spectacular event this Thursday. Magic Tree Bookstore will provide books for me to sign after the event:
January 24 (Thursday), 7 p.m.
Oak Park Public Library
Session: From Memoir to Doggoir: Creative Ways to Get Personal Essays and Stories Published
834 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
http://www.oppl.org
Contact: Deborah Dowley Preiser, Public Information Officer, 708.697.6915


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 749 other followers

Pages

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 749 other followers

%d bloggers like this: