Winner of the new hardcover for Cory Doctorow's recently released of For the Win! is ....
Congrads Tricia! Email me your address at email@example.com. June prizes will not be shipped until the end of the month)
Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People, on Twitter Book Parties and Book Promotion
Hi Mitali, thanks for stopping by today with a copy of your book. Tell us about yourself and your books.
I was born in Kolkata, India and immigrated at age seven to the States with my family. My books for young readers include Monsoon Summer, Rickshaw Girl, Secret Keeper, and the First Daughter books, and I speak frequently about the transforming power of stories as well as about growing up between cultures. I live in Newton, Massachusetts with my husband, sons, and Labrador retrievers.
My newest book, Bamboo People, releases July 2010.
Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Narrated by two fifteen-year-old boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice.
I know you founded the Twitter Book Parties that are really taking off on Twitter. Can you explain what they are and how they work?
The release of a new book is something to celebrate, right? But these days the cheering seems to rely heavily on a single voice—the author’s. How can we share our good news without feeling like we’re boasting? Twitter Book Birthday Parties seemed like the perfect way to integrate several free new media tools and share the joy of announcing an individual’s publication news to the wider community.
To sign up, an author or illustrator of a newly releasing traditionally published children’s or YA book joins Twitter, follows @bookbday (aka, me), and sends me a direct message on Twitter in a specified format. He or she also agrees to tweet the other book parties, either manually or automatically, using Twitterfeed (for instructions, visit the web site Any Twitter user can sign up to auto-party; you don’t need to be an author or illustrator to celebrate. Using Blogger’s ability to schedule posts, I periodically add brief announcements that include the book’s title, the author’s Twitter handle, the term “#bookbday,” with a link leading to the book on IndieBoundor the author’s website if a link to an independent bookseller is included.
Blogger automatically posts the announcement on the publication date, pouring the RSS feed into the Twitter streams of 150-plus authors, bloggers, booksellers, and other supporters. You can track the “party” by clicking on “#bookbday.” We send hundreds of visitors to IndieBound, and the announcement, we hope, gets the news out to the circles around each party goer.
I love the book Twitter parties because it reminds when books are coming out. It's hard to keep track of all of them :) You've become known in the writing community as a wonderful writer who talks about books (and life) between cultures. How did this niche start? Was it conscious or did it evolve?
Aw, that’s nice. A bit of both, I guess. It’s natural to blog the stuff I’m thinking. And the stuff I think is shaped by my childhood experience of growing up on the margins as an immigrant to the States. But since I’m in charge of my own blog, the content evolves along with my interests.
Your website, FireEscape, provides a great resource to anybody interested in books that feature the immigrant experience. What inspired you to focus on this and why is it needed?
I started with that vision because of my childhood experiences, but the Fire Escape is now a place (I hope) where we can safely talk about many (sometimes controversial) topics related to race, culture, children who are marginalized in one way or another, and books.
I know you are very into social networking. What are a few creative things you have done to promote your books?
For Bamboo People, launching 7/1/10 from Charlesbridge, I’ve set up a separate website. I’m also experimenting with a targeted Facebook ad that shows up when people indicate an interest in Burma. I also helped Grace Lin launch her book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and here’s the package we concocted for her online book launch.
I know you speak frequently at various conferences about this subject. What other marketing advice do you have for authors/writers?
Use your writing skills to showcase your voice and vision via social media. I have twitter, blogs, Facebook, and websites—these are all tools our writer predecessors would have loved to use to get the word out about their books. Learn to use them well and you’ll save time and money, as well as get your books into the hands and hearts of young readers.
To win a copy of Bamboo People (that is NOT even out yet!), tell me what is another multi-cultural book that you have read and loved.