January Theme: Promoting Your Middle-Grade Book by Christine Brodien-Jones
1992: my first novel THE DREAMKEEPERS is published by Macmillan. I send out press releases, give newspaper and radio interviews, and appear at schools, libraries and bookstores. My editor clips out reviews from magazines and sends them to me in the mail.
2010: my second novel THE OWL KEEPER is published by Random House. Suddenly there are seemingly endless opportunities to promote my book, especially online, and the choices are overwhelming. I try lots of different marketing ideas. Here's a sampling of some (but not all) of my promotional efforts for THE OWL KEEPER:
* create a website and blog
* work with my publicist at Random House
* make up business cards, postcards and bookmarks to give away
* join Facebook and Twitter/set up a Facebook page for my book
* have a book trailer made
* join a group of online bloggers
* connect with promotion sites; write a guest post for Cynthia Leitich Smith's site Cynsations
* visit classrooms via Skype an Author Network
* appear at SCBWI conferences, bookstore signings, libraries and children's book festivals
* hire publicists to promote my book to teachers, booksellers, book clubs and librarians
* give away books on Goodreads and other sites; give away my book to local libraries
2012: my third book, THE SCORPIONS OF ZAHIR, is published by Random House. More opportunities, more dizzying online options. But this time I'm up against a deadline for my next book, so I winnow down the promo options to just a few - the ones that are easiest for me. Because it just isn't possible to do it all. Nor is doing everything necessarily productive!
To quote blogger/author Nathan Bransford: "Don't make yourself miserable doing what you think you should be doing, do what you enjoy doing." Bransford recommends that every author have some sort of Googlable web presence (such as a website, blog or Facebook page) and that way when someone hears about you or reads your book they can contact you. Utilize your time well, he says, because "at the end of the day the whims of fate and word of mouth are more powerful than any marketer."
A word about resources. SCBWI conferences are a great place to take a workshop on publicity and online book marketing. You can also get insightful marketing tips from bloggers: try Nathan Bransford, Cynthia Leitich Smith and SR Johannes. As for books, my favorite is Jeff Vandermeer's BOOKLIFE: STRATEGIES AND SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THE 21ST-CENTURY WRITER.
My advice on promoting your book is do what you're passionate about, do what you think is you, but keep in mind that every moment you spend on marketing efforts takes you away from your writing. Find your balance!