Mootilda’s Bad Mood launched on September 1st. Corey and I planned to have our book launch at a farm with cows and ice cream. We planned to go on a book tour, and school visits and library story times. But then came the COVID-19 cow-tastrophe.
I missed my oldest son’s graduation, his Eagle Scout Court of Honor, two family reunions, and an anniversary trip to Italy with my husband. I had lots of practice with disappointed expectations. So, what could I do about this?
Here’s how Corey and I took the bull by the horns and moooooved our book during this pandemic.
- I started the 20/20 Vision Picture Books Marketing group. Writing friends joined and worked together and it has been invaluable book support for the last 7 months.
- We brainstormed ideas in a Google doc. These ideas ranged from totally crazy to realistic. It didn’t hurt to pitch to Chick-fil-A, did it?
- We made a Google spreadsheet that we shared with our publisher, Little Bee. This spreadsheet included people who we wanted to send advanced readers copies to, including bloggers, ARC sharing groups and kidlit influencers.
- We brainstormed digital assets. My daughter Naomi designed a mood-o-meter coloring page, and digital mood-o-meters. My daughter Sydney wrote a MOOTILA song that I recorded with my 10 year son, Sammy as the puppet Mootilda’s voice.
- We got creative with physical assets. My daughter Naomi designed mugs, stickers, bookmarks and bookplates. We offered signed bookplates and stickers for all pre-orders.
- We planned a virtual book tour. We highlighted MOOTILDA throughout the months of August and September on various blogs. (Including this one, last month.)
- We planned a five day COW-ntdown leading to the book birthday. We posted giveaways, book lists, and reviews.
- We used social media to share MOOTILDA news.
- I emailed every book children’s subscription service I could find–and actually got some takers!
- We planned a book launch. I did an event at the Writer’s Barn–you can watch the replay, here. I bought cow balloons, a cow dress, and a cow puppet. I enlisted the help of my family. Sammy was Mootilda the puppet, my daughter Sydney played the guitar for our songs, my husband set up the lights and sound. Everyone else was part of the studio audience so Zoom attendees knew how they were supposed to participate. I had a large mood-o-meter.
- We planned a virtual storytime where both Corey and I participated (along with Sammy/Mootilda) To watch the replay, go here.
- We planned zoom school visits and applied to virtual book festivals. Yay! Boston Book Festival and NAIBA!
- Now that the book is out, it’s not over. I’m so grateful for Corey! Having a co-writer is extremely helpful in promoting a book–then you only have to do half the work! It’s great preparation for my solo book, COW SAYS MEOW, which comes out on March 16th. And hey, I already have the cow dress!
Launching a book during a pandemic may require a little cow-nseling, but doesn’t everything?
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What marketing techniques do you use to promote your books?