The other day I ran across the promo materials for the book Vampire Baby (Candlewick, 2013) written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Paul Meisel. I was blown away. The materials were everything book promo materials should be; entertaining, creative, colorful and built to enhance the reading experience. In my opinion, the materials were a perfect example of how to promote your book. I felt I had to share this with our readers. I have asked author Kelly Bennett a few questions about the creation of the materials and her answers (including links) are posted below:
1. Did you develop the kit on your own with your illustrator or did you have outside help?
Sure . . . perhaps . . . maybe I could have developed my own promotional materials, but it would have taken loads of time and research—time I could be writing! Besides, why would I when I have an amazing bunch of creative colleagues who are experts? And as for that elephant in the room—money-moola-jingle-cash—$$$ wise professional-quality materials costs less than you’d imagine…much less.
Yes, I have worked with illustrators on promotional materials, but it is not the norm. Terri Murphy, illustrator for two of my books, Dance, Y’all, Dance and One Day I Went Rambling, (Terri Murphy: http://www.terrimurphyart.com/) created SWAG, and our Blog Tour promo material. Vampire Baby illustrator, Paul Meisel, (Paul Meisel: http://www.paulmeisel.com/) served as consultant and adapted art for the Vampire Baby Story Hour Kit and Book Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acEzh7iOhVU&feature=youtu.be. What’s nice about working with the illustrator is that the cost and promotional materials can be shared.
I always check with the publisher’s marketing department to ask if they are creating promotional materials for my books. And if they have ideas about what materials are especially effective. (I also ask if they are willing to help with costs—sometimes the answer is yes!)
2. How much time do you spend creating additional activities for your books?
Even though I don’t “create” my own supplemental materials, I do take an active part in their creation—from brainstorming ideas, defining themes, choosing activities, creating copy, coordinating efforts, proofreading—all of which does take time. I begin jotting down ideas for support material as soon as I have signed a contract on a book. Once the book goes to print—about a year before the publishing date—I begin seriously working on supplemental material and SWAG. My goal is to have the Teaching Guide and Activities posted on my website, and SWAG in hand prior to pub date.
I keep a “When my book get published” file with ideas for each book. Of course, I check out what others are doing, and the best ideas go into my file. TeachingBooks.net’s database of instructional materials to support K–12 reading and library activities is an excellent source.
Too, as my books are traditionally published, I need to secure permission from my publishers, and when art is involved, from the illustrator, for any/all promotional material, activities, guides, SWAG, trailers, etc. Which takes time, too. (Additionally, some publishers have specific guidelines regarding supplemental material, what can and can be posted on your website, etc. So be sure to check!) The folks at my publishers are delighted with these efforts and are eager to help. However, as any/all materials relating to my books also reflect on the publisher, they do expect final approval.
Don’t Freak or Stress if you don’t have time or jingle to do all of this before your pub date!
In fact I think it’s better not to post everything at once. Adding new material later is a nice way to freshen your website. Besides, new material=new news to share on social media= new energy and attention for your books!
3. Do you have some suggested resources for our readers?
Here is the contact info for the talented band of creators with whom I work. Contact them for pricing, availability and help creating supplemental materials for your books!
Picture book author, retired K-teacher, puzzle wiz, Doris Fisher creates puzzles & activity sheets—mazes, word searches, matching, crossword, etc. http://abcdoris.com/
Author, Educator, Consultant, Deb Gonzales (who’s Simple Saturday blog featuring a new fun, inexpensive craft each week Simple Saturday: http://www.debbiegonzales.com/simple-saturday/), creates CCSS Annotated Teaching & Activity Guides. http://www.debbiegonzales.com/
Library/School Story Hour Kit and I Vant My Vampire Baby=Free Books for Your Library Contest was created by marketing maven Kirsten Cappy of Curious City. http://www.curiouscity.net/
Vampire Baby Book Trailer was created by Tech wiz, author & artist Nathan Hale of Ink in Motion http://inkinmotion.wordpress.com/
Graphic genius, Lindsey Cousins of Bayside Graphics designs and has printed bookmarks, brochures, stickers, postcards, posters, etc. https://www.facebook.com/LindseyBayside
TeachingBooks.net, online multi-media resources for K-12: http://www.teachingbooks.net/
Thank you Kelly, for sharing this information with our readers. If you’d like to win a copy of Vampire Baby for your library details can be found on Kelly Bennett’s website. And while you are on her site be sure to check out some of the other great promotional materials for Kelly’s other books.
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