Laura is blue. Fiona is green.
It's book launch season for both of us here at Bubble Stampede, so now that we've spent a few weeks talking about launches, we're back to catching up on the rest of our promo plans.
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.
I know your virtual book launch next week includes the readers' theatre script you created for Stampede, Laura. How did it go for you?
My daughter Maddie helped me out with the scripts, brainstorming situations that could lead to the poems, and reading them out loud with me repeatedly as we tried to make them shorter and more interesting!
Is the script unveiling part of your launch or can you talk about it, here, and maybe give us a sneak preview?
Nope, it's not top secret!
I actually ended up doing two versions. I did a shorter version, for a smaller, younger group of kids, here, and I did a longer version, for a larger, older group of kids, here.
Doing scripts for different age groups. What a great idea!
Thanks--I did two versions because we did the one I liked and then realized it was WAY too long for kids the age who would be reading Stampede. So I edited it down to a shorter version more suitable for primary grades. I like the longer one, though, because I think the humor and sarcasm allows older kids to enjoy the book, too. I hope.
Makes sense to me. So how did you go about including the poems? Or did you?
Well, that was the question. I couldn't include many poems, because who would need to buy the book then? But how to turn a poetry book into something else? I wanted the scripts to stand alone, so that they would appeal even to teachers who didn't already have the book in the classroom. But I also wanted to give kids a way to perform the actual poems. Performing poetry is a standard in many states' curricula, and I think a Reader's Theater script with different characters reciting different poems could be a blast. So each script has a couple of the poems in it, and then has spots throughout for kids to read more actual poems from the book. But the scripts make sense without the optional poems, too. Hmm...Does that make sense? It's hard to explain.
Sure does! Smart thinking. That sounds great. I bet teachers who use the scripts without Stampede! will want their own copy of the book after their students have performed your readers' theatre.
I hope so! We'll see what kind of response I get if any teachers actually use these. I'm hoping that if I plug them a bit during my school visits in April, some teachers might give them a try.
Next up, teacher guides
I've been collecting ideas for a teacher guide for over a year, so I had hoped to have my teacher guide ready before the book was released. However, I wanted to include art from the book, and until I had the book in hand, I didn't know what the actual colour palette would be. All of the electronic files and physical layouts I'd received had come with the caveat that "these colours aren't right, but it gives you an idea". I'm glad I waited, as you can see from comparing the actual colours with what I used on the postcard before I knew the palette.
Postcard, where I guessed at the colour palette:
Book cover with actual colours:
Wow--that is a big difference. (And the delicate colors are one of my favorite things about the art.)
Mine, too. :^) The postcard looks so garish now that I compare it to the actual colours.
Waiting also meant that when I did finally know the true colour palette, the busy-ness of Christmas season was upon us, and then it was into book release and other promotional efforts, so the guide is still a work in progress.
The illustrator and I are working together, sharing our expertises with each other. While I do a teacher guide, Carolyn has created line drawings of animals from the book for kids to colour, cut out, and turn into hats or masks, all of which we'll both have available on our websites for downloading.
Carolyn's also designed the neatest bookplates that mesh with the design of the title page, so we can "sign" books for folks too far away to get us to sign an actual book. Win-win.
What a fabulous idea! That is so cool. And I love the idea of bookplates. I know Grace Lin has done that for her books. Hmm...maybe I should get in touch with Steven Salerno and see if he'd like to do that. He did already extract a couple of pieces of spot art for use on my microsite, so maybe I could just design a bookplate using one of those...Can you share more details about how the bookplates actually work? Do you simply print them out as labels? Or are these items you ordered from a printer?
We're still working out the best way to do it. Right now we have a page of them as a pdf file, so we can each print them out on sticker sheets (available at any stationery store). But I'm pretty sure these aren't "acid free", so I want to look into it a little more to find out if that's okay to use or if we should contract a printer to print them on acid free paper. Can you get stickers that are acid-free? Or would you have to glue the plates in yourself using special glue? Don't know. That's what I want to find out.
With all the scrapbooking supplies that are acid-free, I'd be flummoxed if you COULDN'T buy acid-free sticker sheets.
Ooo, that's a good source to check.
Laura, you went a different route for your teacher guide. How'd that go?
I've seen her guides. They're terrific. She does a great job.
Luckily, she had time to do mine. She sent me the text, and I designed it into a document and put it online here. I just put this up a couple of days ago, and it might get tweaked some more, but at least it's in decent shape. I'm so happy with it, and I'm excited to be able to have it up before IRA here in Minneapolis in early May. I'm happy I'll be able to hand out Stampede biz cards to teachers and let them know they can visit my microsite and find links to the Reader's Theater and a Teaching Guide.
Oh yes! Great timing.
So, all in all, the teaching guide was a piece of cake, because I didn't have to do it:>) I wish I could hire experts to do all this stuff!
Wouldn't that be nice? :^)
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.
For example, I asked each of my hosts to send me a list of questions. Each of them sent about 8-10 questions (which was a lot to answer!), and there was a fair bit of overlap amongst them. Next time, I'd ask hosts to send their questions and let them know I'll pick five to answer. That way I can have some control over the content, limit the number of questions I have to answer, and can prevent overlap.
That's the one thing I dislike about blog tours. They all kind of sound the same after a while because they tend to cover the same basics at each post. I think the pick 5 is a great idea. And most of them say, "Answer the ones you want" (at least I do when I send questions to someone), so I think I'll take advantage of that tip, too!
I also wondered about the timing. I originally thought doing it as close to launch as possible would be good, but the book got pretty good exposure from the big review sources, bloggers, and impromptu essays and guest blogging I was invited to do, as well the ICL guest chat and other things I had planned.
You've been rocking the promotional deal lately. That's excellent!
Yes, the extra promo that came from sources beyond my control combined with the what I did plan has been great...at least for now. But I'm starting to question whether there might such a thing as too much exposure at once, and if I should perhaps have waited with some of my plans in an effort to stretch things out over a longer time.
That's an interesting question. For me, personally, I need to see a book title about 3 or 4 places before I finally think, Hey, this is a book I should read. I mean, if I read one thing about it and it immediately captures me, I go put it on reserve at the library. But if it's a book I'm not predisposed to find, it takes several sightings before I think I need to read it because it's clearly a book that's going to be discussed places. So if I want to participate in those conversations, I need to read the book (says the woman who still hasn't read all of the Harry Potter books, nor any of the Twilight ones).
So I think all this exposure is probably good. Everyone (editors, publicists, book buyers) talks about how short a time a book has to make an impression--picture books especially. So the danger in spreading things out is that you might never get the momentum going. I think the accumulation of many events in a short time period is probably the most effective. With occasional events sprinkled thereafter. That's just my initial thought.
I hope you're right. The initial burst of activity has been good, but I don't want it to turn out to be one big bang and then nada. I'll celebrate for now and play it by ear and see what happens.
For Stampede, for example, I have a bunch of April/May events, and couple of storytime events now set for September/October, and that'll be fun. Places can emphasize the school aspect of the book rather than the poetry aspect at that point.
Now...you're planning on visiting a few blogs but not doing an official "blog tour", right?
Those are great blogs. Carolyn and I will be visiting Seven Impossible Things a month later, on May 17, and Tricia posted my very first blog review at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Can't wait to see where else you'll pop up. Do post links to the Laura Salas Extended Non-blog-tour Blog Tour when you know them. ;^)
Thanks, I will! Mine is more like a blog meandering rather than a blog tour! But that's ok. I didn't have the time/energy to try to set up a tighter schedule, so I'm just going with the flow of when it works best for my various hosts. They'll all be in April, and ideally I'll be in at least one place each week, but who knows. This is one promotional area I'm not actually taking charge of.
A "blog meandering"... I like that! I think next time I'll spread things over a month instead of fitting everything into one week. That's a nice compromise---close enough together to be a sorta-cluster, but far enough apart that you get the benefits of exposure over a longer period of time.
So, dear readers, have you created readers' theatre scripts, teacher guides and blog tours? Leave us a comment. We'd love to know what worked for you and what didn't.