Hi Ingrid, Thanks for
today. Before we get started,
could you tell us a little bit
My first book, Savvy, was released in May, 2008, from Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of the Penguin Young Readers Group) in partnership with Walden Media. I am represented by Daniel Lazar at Writers House in New York. Savvy has earned both a Newberry Honor Award
and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor,
and has spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Savvy was voted one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of the Year (2008) and chosen by Booklist as one of the Top 10 First Novels for Youth (2008).
Do you have a website/blog ? When did you start it and who manages it?
I have a website and a blog. I use my blog more as a tool to share things with and by my readers, and less as a social networking tool, so I do not enable comments.
But one of the things I love to do most is to share drawings, videos, and stories created by young readers. I love it when kids answer the question: What’s your savvy? And do so in their own creative ways.
I started both my website and my blog several months before the book came out.Penguin Young Readers Groups has also created a terrific Savvy mini-site . This site contains a downloadable discussion guide, wallpapers, and an exclusive ‘origin story’ for the family in Savvy.
Walden Media also has a wonderful, playful site where readers can listen to the first chapter of the audio book, play games, send postcards, and find even more downloads.
In your opinion, how important is social networking ?
I think a lot might depend on one’s audience and one’s personality. For the adult and young adult markets, social networking sites may be more effective than for middle grade or picture book authors. While Savvy crosses into early YA, my main audience is 4th-6th graders.
As a parent, I did my best to keep my daughter off social networking sites when she was that age, so I didn’t really feel as though I wanted to place too much emphasis on these when it came to marketing Savvy. However, when marketing a book, even if a book is aimed at young readers, one wants to reach out to parents as well.
I'm sure that some people have made a different choice.The only social networking site that I am on is GoodReads, and I’ve been surprised at how many kids reach me through that site.
Logistically, I’ve found that managing social networking sites takes up a lot of time, and time is not something I have a lot of right now. Plus, I’ve always been a rather shy person, so social networking sites tend to push me out of my comfort zone.
How important is technology to an author’s marketing plan ?
Aside from the question of social networking sites, I think technology is becoming increasingly important in the marketing of books, especially in the face of our current economy. Author tours are expensive and many authors are turning to virtual visits as an alternative. Bloggers have turned marketing into a viral phenomenon.
And one of the biggest technological marketing successes for Savvy so far has been the week-long free e-book download offered last summer, which was a factor in propelling the book onto the New York Times Bestsellers list for the first time.
What other advice do you have for authors/writers regarding marketing?
Try from the very start to find a balance between your focus on marketing and your focus on continued writing. It is easy to get so tied up thinking about the marketing of your first book that your next book, or your writing in general, becomes neglected.
For me, writing and marketing use two very different parts of my brain. Trying to do both in the same day is difficult for me. I set aside days where I try to do nothing but write, saving other days—perhaps those already scheduled with additional distractions—to work on marketing, or any other business aspect of being an author.
What creative things have you done to promote a book?
I am very fortunate to have amazing promotional backing from both Penguin Young Readers Group and Walden Media.
Because my book encourages readers to discover what is special about themselves, asking kids and adults alike the question "What’s your savvy?" has given me the opportunity to engage everyone in the creative process that I began.
I love sharing the ideas kids send to me about what their own talents might be. This has become one of the anchors on my blog. I think that any time you can engage other people in your process and invite them to be a part of it, they will respond.
Thank you for joining us today!