By Josh Funk
It’s been a busy week – a busy summer, really. You see, my second book – Pirasaurs! – landed on shelves a week ago. And my third book – Dear Dragon – is celebrating its book birthday today! (Yay!)
Two books in an 8-day period is a pretty great problem to have (some might call it a ‘champagne problem’). Seeing a book with your name on it is a thrill that nothing can match and I hope never gets old. If you’re lucky (and I certainly have been), you might get some marketing and publicity support from your publisher. But sometimes you don’t. And even if you do, that support is often short-lived as publishers turn the page to the following season’s books.
It’s commonplace for a good amount of the marketing and publicity responsibilities to fall on the shoulders of the author and illustrator. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done over the year for both Pirasaurs! and Dear Dragon – and feel free to steal (or borrow) whatever you like.
Setting up a cover reveal is a fun way to show off your new cover and build some early buzz. Over the years I’ve connected with many blogging educators, librarians, teachers, literacy specialists, so I asked a few of them of them if they wanted to host reveals for my upcoming covers.
On January 19th, librarian Travis Jonker revealed the cover of Pirasaurs! on his blog 100 Scope Notes (part of School Library Journal).
A few weeks later, on February 4th, the Dear Dragon cover was revealed on the children’s book website All the Wonders.
For Pirasaurs!, I wrote a song (using GarageBand) and made a slideshow-style video (using iMovie) to create the trailer. The Pirasaurs! book trailer premiered on Mr. Schu’s website Watch. Connect. Read. on May 9th.
For Dear Dragon, I combined some video recordings of educators (while at nErDcampMI) along with two spreads of the book, plus some child voice-over (using iMovie) to create the trailer. The Dear Dragon book trailer premiered on the Nerdy Book Club website on August 28th.
For both of these trailers, I shared them with my respective editors at Scholastic and Penguin. Each gave valuable feedback that I incorporated into the final versions – and now each trailer lives on the publishers’ YouTube channels.
Here, I enlisted support from both of my publishers. Each offered to send a certain number of books to winners. The Dear Dragon giveaway ends today (9/6). The Pirasaurs! giveaway ends on 9/15.
For Pirasaurs!, I reached out to several edu-bloggers to see if they’d be interested in sharing an exclusive animated gif and profile pic (both created by Pirasaurs! illustrator Michael Slack). Those participating blogs included:
- Teach Mentor Texts (7/30)
- Unleashing Readers (8/4)
- Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook (8/5)
- There’s a Book for That (8/16)
For Dear Dragon, I was very fortunate. My publicist at Penguin put together a great blog tour that’s taking place right now, starting with a terrific opportunity to write a guest post at the Barnes & Noble Kids Blog: Dragon in the Mirror.
- LibLaura5 (9/5)
- The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog (9/6)
- Teach Mentor Texts (9/7)
- As They Grow Up (9/8)
- Emily’s Reading Room (9/9)
- Reederama (9/10)
And while this wasn’t exactly part of any blog tour, I have been a long time follower of Nick Patton’s Picturebooking Podcast – and Nick invited me to talk about all of my books on episode 60 over at All the Wonders.
For Pirasaurs!, rather than create bookmarks, I decided to make collectible cards. I did this previously for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and I found it fun and different, so I decided to try it again. Michael Slack put together the designs for the front of the cards, while I added some statistics and info on the back. I used gotprint.com to make the cards – and I’ve been very happy with the results (thanks to Corey Rosen Schwartz for recommending the site).
Michael Slack even took the Pirasaurs! card images and redesigned them as free downloadable coloring pages (available here).
For Dear Dragon, illustrator Rodolfo Montalvo printed up some awesome posters (to give to stores to promote events) and stickers (for the kids).
It’s always good to celebrate the release of a book. Last Thursday at Porter Square Books hosted the Pirasaurs! Book Launch, and this upcoming Saturday (9/10) at 11am, The Concord Bookshop is hosting the Dear Dragon Book Launch (note – everyone’s invited!). I even worked it out so that my all-time favorite coffee shop (Haute Coffee, next door to The Concord Bookshop) will make Dragon Lattes on the day of the launch.
What do YOU do to market and publicize your book releases?
Wishing you much luck with this title and all your titles to come! You are an inspiration, Josh!
So very helpful! Thank you, Josh, for sharing your tricks and tools of promotion 🙂 It’s always great to learn from you. Wishing you all the best and spreading the word.
And … after I posted this, Rodolfo Montalvo (DEAR DRAGON illustrator) created these two activity pages – available for download here: http://media.wix.com/ugd/5dd375_07b13914880f45488ae4909707577f18.pdf
I also forgot to mention that I made a personality quiz: Which Pirasaur Are YOU?! that you can take here https://www.boombox.com/c/quiz/256474/which-pirasaur-are-you