Hi Laurie, thank so much for joining us today!
Thanks so much for asking me to participate.
Before we get started, can you tell more about yourself?
I am the author of the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. The series is comprised of Blue is for Nightmares, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, Red is for Remembrance, and the forthcoming Black is for Beginnings (all published by Llewellyn Publications/Flux).
My titles have been part of the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list, the Top Ten Teen Pick list, and YALSA’s Popular Paperback list, all through the American Library Association.
I am also the author of Bleed and Project 17 (Hyperion), my most recent release is Deadly Little Secret, the first book in the TOUCH series (Hyperion).
BTW, I love the Flux series! Sounds like you are busy. Do you have a blog or web site? And if so, who manages it?
I have a blog, which I manage. It was designed by Chloe Weil. Major updates are done by Little Willow at Rock the Rock Web Design. I started my website back when my first book was published, in 2003, and find it an essential part of my marketing.
In your opinion , what are the top 3 things every author should and must do to promote their book?
1. Have a professional-looking website that readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, people in the media, etc., etc. can access to find out more about you and your work.
2. Make yourself accessible via e-mail. Have this information available on your website. People will start to e-mail you about your work. Keep their e-mail addresses, add them to a database, and use them later to alert potential buyers about future work, contests, signings, and events.
3. Have postcards made up. Leave them everywhere. Write notes on them, give them to teachers, booksellers, librarians, potential readers. Whenever I’m in the area of a bookstore, I’ll stop in to sign stock. If they don’t have my books, I’ll ask to speak to the event coordinator or buyer. If he or she isn’t there, I’ll write him/her a little note on my postcard, asking them to consider carrying my book and offering to stop by again to sign that stock if/when it comes in.
How important do you think social networking is in the Children's Market?
I think it’s definitely beneficial. It’s good to know who your fellow writers are. You can learn a lot from connecting with them and establishing ties and friendships. You can help each other out, make recommendations, form critique groups, etc., etc.
How important is technology to an author's marketing plan?
I think it’s so helpful if you’re tech saavy. You can create postcards, bookmarks, design your own site and update it, make bookplates, podcasts, book trailers, slick posters, etc. You can save a lot of money if you are and like being techie.
Did you think about marketing before your book was published? Did you start prior to getting an agent or selling your book?
Yes, definitely. I was a marketing major in college, so I was ready to help promote my first book. I started marketing the book before it actually came out.
I had my website ready, as well as a professional author photo, and I’d made up a list of contacts (people who might be interested in my book, i.e. booksellers, teachers, librarians, members of the media, old friends, new friends, specialty stores that might sell my book, etc.).
I designed my own postcards (500 of them to start) and sent them to all these people/places. When I eventually ran out of this batch, I ordered more. My first novel has now sold close to 200K copies.
Do you feel it is beneficial for authors to team up and promote books as a group?
Definitely, especially if you share the same audience. The other author(s) has the opportunity to share his or her work with your fans/friends/family/contacts and vice versa.
What other advice do you have for authors/writers regarding marketing?
Be creative and have fun with marketing. There are lots of similar contests out there. Originality can go a long way and get you even more buzz. Also, be good to your fans. Always answer e-mail. I get between 75-100 fan-emails per week and I answer every one.
Do you have a formal marketing plan or is your marketing more random and spontaneous?
I guess I have an informal plan. The postcards are made up. I'll mail out at least 750 of them to fans, bookstores, libraries, specialty shops, schools, media contacts, etc. I also plan my rounds to bookstores to sign stock and arrange signings at bookstores. I visit schools. I also have book trailers made up for my work. I update my site with each book. And, I send out a newsletter alerting fans about my upcoming projects, signings, and events. I also blog a lot more around the time a book comes out, and I do blog tours.
If you like, you can check out some of my book trailers here:
Deadly Little Secret (A Touch Novel)
Blue is for Nightmares
Sounds like you do a lot.Any last words?
Just that marketing possibilities are endless, and connecting with others is so easy now with the accessibility of our online resources.
I say why not use all your resources?
Thanks for joining us today, Laurie!
My own personal side note: I have a poem I wrote about the book that was chosen to be in the Deluxe Edition of Blue is for Nightmares. How cool is that! :)