Dec 21, 2010

Fantastic Marketing Advice for Authors!

Have you guys heard of the Kid Lit Authors Club yet? One of their members, Nancy Viau, stopped by to give us the skinny on forming this wonderful group and marketing books.

CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS TAKE ON TRUMP

I’m a big fan of the show The Apprentice. I like watching savvy professionals market a product until they fold under the pressure and become teary-eyed morons or become so arrogant that they get fired. I dream of the show where I’ll hear Mr. Trump say: “Your task today is to market your book. You will be given the email address of the publicity director at your publisher and he/she will choose whether or not to communicate with you. You will be given no special allowance with which to launch your book campaign, but feel free to use your funds for brochures, bookmarks, and postcards. You’re expected to sell enough books to earn out your advance, gain the attention of booksellers, librarians, and teachers, and participate in book signings.”

That would be an interesting show, wouldn’t it? However, as authors, we’re not trained in marketing. Our bottom line is not a sales figure. It’s a line that says The End!

I got together with another New Jersey author: Keri Mikulski, and we chatted about marketing our books in a time when everyone had very little to spend. What could we do to get noticed? Knowing that we wanted to concentrate our efforts close to home (travel is expensive and we’re both raising kids), we decided to form a regional marketing group. The KidLit Authors Club started out with 12 members from PA, NJ, and MD. A year later, we’re twenty members strong, and we have dozens of events to our credit. An article about us appeared in The Writer in December, and we’re mentioned in Writer’s Digest in January! Who knew our little idea would gain such notoriety?

Want to know our 10 Secrets to Success?

  1. Our membership is limited to a particular type of author. In our case, it’s children’s book authors—authors who have books with major publishers with varying release dates. We include picture book authors, as well as middle grade and young adult novelists so everyone who meets us leaves with a signed book that’s suitable for them.
  2. We have a friendly name: The KidLit Authors Club.
  3. We have a cool logo and website that was designed by member Tim Young.
  4. We created a party brand with the tagline: Making every event a celebration of children’s books. Who doesn’t like to party? We bring balloons, give away party bags, have activities that go along with our books, and create a literary festival for the whole family.
  5. Not only do we sign together, but we speak at conferences, present writing workshops, Skype, and even go to schools in groups of two to four. We understand budget cuts and offer a variety of authors for about the price of one.
  6. We’re team players. We reach out to our independent contacts or we contact new booksellers and organizations who may be interested in hosting us.
  7. We readily volunteer for tasks like designing print materials, writing press releases, fielding emails.
  8. We split expenses.
  9. We communicate via a Yahoo Group.
  10. We stay ambitious about book promotion. Our goal is to keep our names in front of booksellers and our books in print!

Mr. Trump, the KidLit Authors Club has successfully completed our task. Give us a call.

Nancy Viau is the author of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head and the forthcoming picture book I Can Do It! She writes from South Jersey, but will consider relocating to New York at Mr. Trump’s request. Visit her on the web: www.NancyViau.com or www.kidlitauthorsclub.com

5 comments:

Elaine AM Smith said...

The KidLit Authors' Club was a great idea; I'm glad you are finding success with it. I read the 10 reasons why and none of them involved magic. ;)

Melissa Gill said...

This is a great idea, authors getting together to pool their marketing resources must be even more effective than working independently. Thanks for sharing.

Alissa Grosso said...

Great post, Nancy! KAC is a great group, I'm honored to be a part of it!

Anonymous said...

Collaboration is the name of the game. We share ideas, the work and the ups and the downs. It's so nice to be part of the gang! Thanks to Nancy and Keri for spearheading this : )

Anonymous said...

So true, Melissa. And booksellers seem to really like the idea of a bunch of authors showing up to celebrate literacy and sell books. Makes THEM look good!
: )
-Nancy