---Welcome to Bubble Stampede - Why this blog, and our goals for it.
---Can You Launch a Book Without Having to be There? Just wondering... - Physical Launch or Online?
Illustrator - Involvement in Promotion
---Promo So Far? - Using illustrations in promo
---Promo So Far? - Working with the publisher's Marketing Dept
Online Press Kit
---Sweeping Up the Dust and Bubble Juice - our last post, a wrapup
---Ask Not What Your Publisher Can Do For You...Actually, Go Ahead and Ask! - Making good use of your publisher's website
Create a bookplate label to mail to people who buy Stampede.
I popped into your online ning launch on Monday and the place was hopping. People were leaving notes in your guest book and comments about everything from animal crackers to your funny elephant-beagle stampede video. Several folks were chatting with you in the online chat area while I was there.
I thought your "Do me a favor?" section, where you suggested several cost-free ways folks could help Stampede! find its way in the world, was very well done. Several people noted they would.
Subliminal message starts here.
Go...go...go request that your library purchase copies of Laura's "Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild" Side and Fiona's "Bubble Homes and Fish Farts"...go...get thee to your library...
It looks like a beautful setting.
After the launch, I might use Windows Movie Maker (which I have never touched) to add a brief written intro and image of the book cover. That way it has context and is connected to my book. I'm not worried about it now because a) I don't have time to be, and b) at the launch, I'll be introducing it before people click on it.
2. Feature an interactive game related to your book's topic. I had no idea there were free Flash games all over the internet you can embed in your own site. So, I've found a zookeeper one--very simple--to use during my launch. Just a little time-waster:>) You can play the game here. You can find games with all sorts of themes, even, probably bubbles! Again, the tie-in isn't explicit to your book. It's just a fun thing to offer kids. Or adults who can't resist a game. And a way to perhaps get them to come back to your side and maybe share your site with other kids.
That sounds like fun. So how did you go about finding it? I'm always a little wary of "free download" sites in terms of what other things they might download at the same time.
I checked with three guys--all with IT kinds of of jobs--who said they'd never heard of any issues with flash games. Apparently you're not actually downloading anything. I guess I wouldn't be comfortable saying there's NO way anything could happen, but these three computer geeks (and I mean that in the fondest way) live online, and if it's safe enough for them, I'm ok with it.
Cool. That's good to know.
Was it tricky to get onto your site?
When I did it, I simply found the "embed code" part and copied and pasted that code.
That easy, huh? Do you have some sites you can recommend?
Apparently, there are hundreds of sites with embeddable flash games, for free! Who knew? One is http://www.addictinggames.com/gotd/games
You're planning on including this in your online launch activities. Any plans for after? Or is this strictly launch fun?
I'm not sure. If I can embed it with a custom border that makes it match or promote Stampede somehow, I'd definitely want to do more with it. Because if you have a simple little game that even young kids (like picture book readers) can play online, if the webpage exposes them to the book, it might be worthwhile. So I'll be looking into that and might add it to the Stampede and/or kids' area of my website, too. For now, though, it's strictly launch fun.
3. Show bloopers or cut material. People are mesmerized by what DIDN'T make it into a book. I guess it's that fascination with knowing something nobody else knows. So I'll be sharing several poems that didn't make it into Stampede, and this is definitely something every writer could do. Share a first draft, a scene that got cut, a version showing markup by your editor...Readers love to know that it was work to write this book, and they like the behind-the-scenes peek.
I know I love seeing that kind of stuff. And poetry lends itself to that nicely, since you would have written and polished poems you could pick up off the cutting room floor. I've been working on something similar with animals that didn't make it into my book, although they were all cut before I wrote anything about them, so I don't have any written and polished bits to include in that way. I can talk about them, though, and include public domain pics.
True. Even just hearing things like why you ended up cutting that animal can be fun!
4. Have people REACT to your book. Create a poll. There are several online poll creators you can use and embed on your blog or site.
"Which poem is your favorite?"
A poll is a really simple way to make people feel connected. (Note to self: I've convinced me. Add a poll to my website!)
Or give a writing prompt.
"Brainstorm different ways YOU can use bubbles. Write a story about one of them."
"Which animal would you compare yourself to? Write a short, nonrhyming poem showing how you are like that animal." I did that here.
You've got me thinking now.
5. Give a visual challenge. This activity was my husband's idea, and I got the illustrator's (very generous) OK, too. My husband took the book cover of Stampede and did a "Spot the Differences" challenge. He used PhotoShop to change 10 things in the image--and he did it so seamlessly! Some are easy to spot; others are really difficult! I think this will be a fun activity! Randy even made an answer key for those people (ahem, not me, of course) who get very frustrated if they can't find all 10!
This sounds really neat. And will you have to get your publisher's permission, too? I wonder if having different versions of the cover available in electronic form would be a problem.
Hmm...I wasn't planning to (and the illustrator didn't mention that). What I did do, though, was put another layer on the image that states it is altered. That way, if someone saves the imge and shares it with anyone, that statement will go along with it unless they take the time to crop and remove it. Which hopefully they won't.
These are really cool ideas, Laura. Thanks for sharing them with us.
We're sure there must be tons of different ways for authors to connect with readers and get people talking. Do you have any offbeat ideas you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them!
First up, Readers' Theatre
Both Stampede! and Bubble Homes and Fish Farts have self-contained sections about individual animals, a structure which lends itself nicely to readers' theatre. So, in our original post about readers' theatre, we each decided to create one.
I started work on my readers' theatre script, but a little way into it I changed my mind and decided not to do one, after all. The reason? As I analyzed the book looking for ideas to include in a teachers' guide, I realized there were a lot of opportunities for interesting activities involving voice and point of view, so instead of creating my own readers' theatre script, I've included activities in the teacher guide that will result in students creating mini-scripts that can be used as a class readers' theatre project.
Next up, teacher guides
Last up, blog tours
My tour was last week. Keeping in mind our discussion here and here about going beyond our writing communities, I ended up with one writer and the rest a mix of librarians and book reviewers as tour stop hosts. My publisher sent out review copies to each of them to use for review and perhaps as a prize, if they wanted to do that. The tour was successful, but I'll do things a little differently next time.
Laura is blue. Fiona is green.
Working with the aquarium has had many advantages:
- a free facility complete with ambience that matches the book,
- help brainstorming and organizing the event,
- access to the aquarium's five-figure contact list for publicity,
- the gift shop taking care of ordering and sales of books,
- aquarium staff to design and supervise activities and crafts,
Sure. The details publicized by the aquarium are located here. And here's a mini version of the 11X17" poster I created for the DIY Launch.
Oh, cool! So your aquarium launch is being rolled into a pre-existing Super Saturday event?
Thanks! Can you tell they're all the same bubble? ;^)
February 25, 2009 – MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL -- A whole menagerie of animal-related children’s books by Minnesota authors and illustrators are flocking onto bookstore shelves! Celebrate spring, local artists, and cute animals with some great books and fun zoo events.
Dara Dokas (Muriel’s Red Sweater) and Laura Purdie Salas (Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School) will be performing at both zoos. On Friday, April 10, Dara and Laura will lead interactive Animal Antics storytimes at the Minnesota Zoo at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. This is part of the Zoo’s “Farm Babies” event. And on Saturday, April 25, they will present Animal Antics at the Como Zoo at 12:30 p.m. as part of “Go Green for Gorillas - A Party for the Planet.”
Muriel's Red Sweater, written by Dara Dokas, ill. by Bernadette Pons
Dutton Children's Books, 2/6/09 - ages 3 to 8, ISBN 978-0525479628
Muriel the duck is so busy she doesn't notice funny things happening around her...like her sweater shrinking...and what’s that trailing after her?
Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
written by Laura Purdie Salas, ill. by Steven Salerno
Clarion Books, 4/6/09 - ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0618914883
These 18 poems reveal the wild side of kids. Whether at the classroom, the playground, or the cafeteria, school brings out the animal in all of them.
And there are others, too! Several more local artists, including Phyllis Root, Chris Monroe, and Derek Anderson, also have spring animal-themed books out! Would you consider a review roundup of books by local artists?
For more information and/or review copies of Laura’s and Dara’s books, please contact us. Thank you!
Dara Dokas: phone # email
Laura Purdie Salas: phone # email
ONLINE VERSION OF THIS PRESS RELEASE, WITH IMAGES:
ROUNDUP OF SEVERAL SPRING BOOKS, WITH IMAGES:
FLYER FOR STAMPEDE!
FLYER FOR MURIEL’S RED SWEATER:
Laura, remember way back in September (in the comments), you and I sat wide-eyed and gulping in disbelief at Sara Dobie's recommendation about clustering fifteen events around a book launch?
"The media likes tangible events, as opposed to vague announcements, as in “People can buy my book now! Cool, huh?” No. They don’t care. They care, however, when you have a cluster of events coming up where people can actually meet you. What does a cluster entail? I’m talking fifteen to twenty scheduled events, clustered around a two-week period, with your launch right at the beginning."
I do remember! At the time, I thought she might as well have said 100 events!
LOL. Yeah, it was one of those things you just had to read twice to make sure you'd read it right the first time. But...after a bit of thought, and bit more gulping, we did decide to take up the challenge. Since my book has been officially released and yours will be soon, I thought we could report back and compare notes on our 15 events in two weeks.
Good idea. How'd it go for you?
Wel-l-l...not quite according to plan. As soon as I'd said, "I'll do it!", I set about scheduling events for the two weeks immediately following my February 1 release---a talk at my local library, sitting on a panel at my big city library, an online chat at the Institute of Children's Literature, and several school visits, etc. all of which came to be.
However...book availability---something I hadn't anticipated---threw a major spanner in the works, delaying my plans for two book launches (which Sara had originally suggested should be the kick-off to our event-filled two weeks), and a blog tour. Bing! That accounted for almost half my fifteen events that couldn't happen in conjunction with ones that had been set up so far in advance. The problem? It turns out that book release day doesn't always mean books are available for sale at local events or for sending out to reviewers, particularly if the author and publisher are located in different countries. For example, my Canadian distributor would only guarantee book delivery for events scheduled a month *after* the official release date, so my fifteen things ended up split, some in February and some in March. Not exactly the big cluster I was aiming for. Next time, I'll make sure the events are all scheduled a month after official release date so they can happen together in one cluster.
That is so frustrating! And places schedule events, even freebie ones, so far in advance! And once you're committed...
Exactly. I couldn't move them.
I've heard horror stories about this before, but I was hoping it was a rare occurrence.
I think it happens more often than we realize. As I talk about my experiences with other writers, stories keep coming out of the woodwork. But, you know, it makes sense if you think about it. The rest of the publishing process is glacially slow, taking months and months at every step of the way, so why should this part of the process be any different? It's just that we writers treat that release date like a starting gate bell. We're in position waiting for it to ring so we can dash, but really, we could dash a month or two later and it wouldn't make any difference in the end.
Something interesting to note about the events I did do: Each one ended up spawning either extra publicity I hadn't arranged or counted on, or requests to participate in additional events---more promotion opportunities. So, in my limited sample, at least, it seems that making the effort to get involved in events around a book release generates momentum. I can sure see how a larger cluster could give a significant push to a book's journey out into the world.
That's good to hear. Really good, in fact.
I've decided that March will be "Launch Month". I'm going to do what I can to try and re-energize the momentum I saw sparked in February. My two book launches are scheduled for March 14 and 28, my blog tour for the week of March 23-27, and I'm scheduled to be the guest blogger at the Charlesbridge blog during the month. I'm also working a couple of angles with radio [gulp] and TV [gulp], so it'll be interesting to see what will result from that mini-cluster of events.
Woohoo! Radio and TV--and you're a theater geek, so those would be natural for you! If you land anything that gets streamed on the web, please be sure to let us know!
It probably won't be streamed; these are pretty small-town affairs. But if they do, I'll be sure to let you know!
It's nice that you'll have a second set of several events, so that it's not just one orphaned little reading or something! And thank goodness you were able to reschedule! Did that cause any problems--for you or the venues/hosts?
Thankfully, the launch dates were still under discussion when the book availability issue arose, so it was easy to schedule them for later.
How about you, Laura? Are you faring better on your fifteen things in two weeks challenge? Will book availability be an issue for Stampede!?
It already has been.
Oh dear. Sorry to hear that.
When I jumped on the 15 Things bandwagon, I don't think I even knew the official pub date. It turns out it's April 6. I already had 2 full weeks of school visits scheduled in April, and I thought, "Excellent! I can not only promote my book at the school visits, but maybe I'll set up some book signings in the towns I'll be in (which are a couple of hours from my home)." These two weeks are a coordinated effort between many rural school districts, and they not only order your books for their schools, but they let kids pre-order books to buy and then have the author sign on school visit day. Fabulous!
Wow. Yes, what a terrific opportunity.
Then came the bad news. They couldn't order Stampede.
What!? Why not?
Because the pub date is too close to the school visit dates. Not only would it be hard to get the books distributed, but they just couldn't risk them not being available (I'm sure they've run into problems before). I contacted HMH's Customer Service, but they could give no guarantees. So. I'm pretty sad that the 10 or 12 schools I'm visiting won't be able to sell Stampede on pre-order. It would have perhaps been a nice cluster of sales for my newly-released book:>/
Oh, that *is* too bad. But it's exactly what I ran into, too. Is this common knowledge that you and I somehow missed? It doesn't do us much good this time around, but we'll sure know for next time.
But on to the good news. My official release date is April 6. Here's what I have on the calendar so far:
April 10: Reading/event at the Minnesota Zoo (in conjunction with their Farm Babies event)
April 11: Reading/event at Micawber's Books
April 14-17: School visits where I won't have pre-sold Stampede, but I'll at least be able to spread the word and leave promo cards
April 18: Presenting a poetry-writing workshop (for adults writing for kids) at the Loft Literary Center's Festival of Children's Literature
April 24: Storytime at a St. Paul library
April 25: Reading/event at the Como Zoo in St. Paul (in conjunction with their Go Green for Gorillas event)
That week: Looks like a reading at my Barnes & Noble in conjunction with Turn Off the TV Week (still working on details)
April 28-May 1: More school visits
I have some stuff planned beyond that, too, but that's the basic cluster of the period right after launch.
That's looking nicely clustery. Well done! But, [ahem] I do notice a distinct absence of a "book launch".
I'll also be doing an online launch party, probably on April 6th itself, though I haven't decided for sure yet. And in April I'll have interviews/features on several blogs. This week, in fact, I need to sort out what I'm doing and start answering questions! I think I'll have about 5 features, which is lovely! People have been so generous in offering to host me.
I echo that. I've been amazed at how open folks are to receiving review copies and hosting.
Hey, here's one cool thing if you haven't already seen it. It's called BookTour.com, and I use it to keep up with authors who are coming to my area to visit. And then the lightbulb went on and I realized I needed to start registering my own events here! So people can search on my name and get this page. And people who live in or near the zip codes I'll be doing events at will have my events show up on their Events In Your Area page.
Now this is very cool. I hadn't heard of it before. The homepage automatically listed the authors on tour in my area. Talk about user-friendly. And I recognize a few of the local author names, too. Nifty. I'm going to check into this one further. Thanks!
And, even cooler, I discovered that BookTour.com events feed into the local online calendar that's run by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. So people who use twincities.com to search for entertainment events will have my events come up! I don't know the details of that as I only learned it when a Google Alert showed me! But hey, anything that helps get the word out and might increase attendance is great. I'd definitely recommend signing up at BookTour.com and listing your events that are open to the public. It's nice to have an online listing that you can link to from your site or blog or something that says, "See my upcoming events." I haven't done that yet, but will as it gets a little closer.
So, that's my progress on 15 Things. Overall, I'm happy with what I've got set up. Once the Barnes & Noble plans and launch party plans are complete, I'll be set for April. Yea!
This task sounded overwhelming at first, but it's not been too too hard:>)
I agree, my split clusters notwithstanding. One step at a time, one event at a time, it was manageable.
So, dear readers, have you ever tried to cluster so many events in such a short time around a book launch. Have some good advice on how to do that? We'd love to hear from you.
- Current Mood: cheerful