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AUTHORS' CORNER > Marketing makes me kick and scream

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message 1: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments I'm a writer of middle-grade books. I'm passionate about writing. But the words "sales" and "marketing" give me queazy feelings in my stomach and freeze the smile on my face so that it falls away and shatters. Does anyone else ever feel this way?

I know there are topics about marketing on the regular GR authors forum, but, let's be honest, marketing a middle-grade book is NOT the same as marketing an adult romance book. I hate to be so dismal, but do any of my fellow middle-grade authors have words of hope? Any good marketing/sales experiences to share? (Or even words of complaint?) Anyone else who finds this to be the absolute worst part of writing books?

message 2: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Benshana | 3 comments I have always said that the best marketing in the world is a reader who likes your work. I do not know of a reader who doesn't recommend books. However even if you are brilliant this word of mouth takes a long time and all marketing is about selling now.

I am here trying to see if I can help the word of mouth and I started FootSteps press to bring authors into the fold so everything we do helps each other.

though I have to admit to only wanting to help brilliant writers :)

message 3: by Helen (new)

Helen Laycock (helenlaycock) | 128 comments Let me draw up my sick bed next to yours, V.K. - I feel exactly the same. I am a writer, not an advertising executive. Give me a pen and paper and I'll produce something worthwhile. Give me the World Wide Web and I turn into a monkey at the keyboard.

I listen so hard to what others are doing to get their books seen. I have blindly battled my way into the technological arena and scatter posts hither and thither like goat droppings, hoping that someone will see them.

As a children's writer, it's easy to get lost amongst the zillions of books out there. The pile grows and grows and it becomes harder and harder to scrabble your way from the bottom of the heap out to daylight.

I also worry about over-stepping the mark and becoming annoying. Apologies if I'm becoming annoying...

I get very few sales, despite some fab reviews - how 'brilliant' do you want your writers to be, Daniel :)? - so I can't give you any advice re promotion. I think you just have to take advantage of all the platforms available and network as much as possible.

message 4: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1350 comments Mod
Well, I was working away wondering how to do this marketing stuff without it turning into spam, when I found this group and met up with a lot of lovely MG authors.

I don't know whether we're really marketing to ourselves, but we seem to do a lot more and get a lot more exposure now we've found each other.

As for our readers, well let's hope they feel the same about our author friend's books as they do about our own!

And of course - authors are also readers :)

message 5: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments @Helen, you encourage me--at least in letting me know I'm not the only one lost in this deep dark Forest of Writing! I do these things as well (the goat droppings--I mean scattered posts, etc). As for "brilliant", is that synonymous for "the squeakiest wheel"? ;-)

@Jemima, can you offer any tips for what you've started doing differently since you found your group? And, yes, authors are definitely readers! I'm beginning to think that we're the only ones, though--at least for this genre. When I ask non-author adults if they like to read middle-grade, they give me the raised brow that plainly says, "Do I look like I'm eleven years old?"

For anyone: Have you found that reviews actually help your sales?

message 6: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 28 comments Midgrade is different, but in some ways it is easier! Get off the web and go to your local libraries and school districts. They love to have the opportunity to introduce their students to authors. You have a built-in audience right there! Find out about the school book fairs, see if you can't do author signings, and offer to give half the proceeds directly to the school! I have an author who is totally rocking the midgrade sales, despite historically being a non-fiction writer. All marketing takes work, but work in the right places. Midgrade students aren't typically on-line. When they are, they are often on Youtube watching silly videos. Make a silly video about your book.

Good luck!

message 7: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments Heidi wrote: "Midgrade is different, but in some ways it is easier! Get off the web and go to your local libraries and school districts. They love to have the opportunity to introduce their students to authors. ..."

Thanks, Heidi. I agree, I've found the local community to be the most successful for me. I guess I should focus on that and be more patient! Not that "being social" is one of my better qualities... :-)

message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
I'm yet another who struggles. By far my best sales have been through local events, and I want to spread myself out to schools farther away because when I read to classes they get excited. They maybe buy the book, maybe tell friends about it, maybe check it out of the library (I got my self-published books into the local library largely because I work there, but you can cultivate a friendship with the children's librarian and then offer to donate your books or sell them at cost).

Obviously, all of these things are harder to do if you don't have paper books.

message 9: by Garrett (new)

Garrett Alley | 6 comments I am about to bonk myself on the forehead. I have a neighbor who works in the local library, and I never once thought to approach them about the possibilities! Thanks, Rebecca for that reminder!

I would like to second the idea about schools. I offered my book to my daughter's 4th grade teacher a couple of years ago and got great feedback. The next time I was at the school picking up my daughter I had several kids come up to me and ask me about the book.

I'm hoping to arrange a day early next year to come in and talk to this year's 4th graders.

message 10: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Finnish | 77 comments So, it sounds like most success in the middle grade market is in what we do locally--not internet based. I wonder if anyone else has found differently? And any successes in getting into schools and libraries?

message 11: by Katy (new)

Katy Pye (pyewriter) | 29 comments Hi Everyone. Great topic and thoughts here. I "indie published" my first "tween" novel in July. It goes as low as age 10 and so far over 83, multi-generational, family saga. Marketing for that group is hard and I wish I had started some study on it and a plan a year before my book came out. It's research, by the seat of my pants and, like here, begging for advice.

Part of marketing is knowing how the markets work. I thought I was all set, book was out, sales flier made, successful launch, then I started learning about bookstores and libraries needs, pricing, cataloging info, etc.

There is lots of good info online and in books, but like the rest of being a writer these days, it takes getting out there and meeting people. I haven't done a school event yet, but it's coming next year. I did do a school book fair, which was a blast.

I listen to Katie Davis's podcast"Brain Burps About Books" which has great marketing info. She also stresses being a writer is being a professional business person. Erg. But she's right. We have to learn 2 jobs, not just the writing.

Glad we're all here!

Elizabeth's Landing

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