Keep it social!

These are a few images from my Pinterest board titled "V-dub lubber," created to help publicize my picture book, THIS OLD VAN, coming out this summer. Who knows? Maybe a few old hippies or young hipsters will stumble across the board and want to buy a book for the grandkids!
These are a few images from my Pinterest board entitled “V-dub lubber,” created to help publicize my picture book, THIS OLD VAN, coming out this summer. Who knows? Maybe a few old hippies or young hipsters will stumble across the board and want to buy a book for the grandkids!

I know we’re all nearly social-media’d out these days, but it remains an important part of our jobs, as authors and illustrators, to market our books and school visits via social media. It’s not the cheap, easy ride it once was, to market on social media, with Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest charging for “promoted” posts pins. Still, social media remains the most effective way to get the word out about our doings.

PInterest vertical pinI’ve been experimenting with Pinterest images, such as the one pictured here, on the left. The advice will probably change in the next 10 minutes, but for now, we’re being told that taller, more vertical images get more attention on Twitter. Not sure that’s true, but it’s just as easy for me to create a vertical image as a horizontal image, so here goes. (Not that vertical images work as well on a blog — and definitely not as blog headings.)

For years, I ignored Twitter. Would peek at it now and then, like a forgotten soufflé in the oven, then would quickly slam it shut again. It’s strange for a picture book writer to admit, since the text in my books are so brief, but I just don’t think in 140 word characters. I found the ever-changing newsfeed to be dizzying. So I decided to just let it go. After all, four-year-olds are certainly not on Twitter. Then, after enough school visits where I’d learn, by evening, that someone at the school had tweeted a photo of my visit, I had to face the realization that–while my young readers aren’t on Twitter–teachers and librarians ARE. And they talk to each other.

So I’m back at it, in a haphazard fashion, donning my Ove-Glove and peeking into Twitter. I’m also back on Pinterest, which has changed quite a bit in the year or two since I last visited. And I’ve added “pin it” buttons all over this blog – as much as my WordPress newbie skills allow, at least. Check ’em out! And maybe pin a few, if you’re so inclined. Oh, and I’d be a total marketing failure if I didn’t invited you to pop in and follow a few of my Pinterest boards at

Just be careful you don’t singe your social eyebrows. 😉

When it comes to social media–or really any marketing in general–I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from various marketing podcasts. I’m  hooked. I listen to them whenever I’m in my car and every day, when I take my puggle Bookie for a walk. Here are a few of my favorites:

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog. Everybody’s favorite and often the first one that starts the marketing podcast addition. Probably not coincidentally, I first learned about Pat Flynn from fellow children’s book author Katie Davis’ podcast, which I mentioned in a previous post, HERE.

The Social Media Examiner Podcast. Actually, they have two podcasts: the longer, weekly show hosted by Michael Stelzner and a shorter 10-minute daily show hosted by a young woman (her name escapes me.) I love the weekly podcast, but personally, I haven’t gotten into the shorter show, although I’m sure there’s some good info there. She sort of sounds like she’s reading the whole thing, which seems to drain the life from it.

The My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. This guy, Steve Chou, is newer, so he doesn’t have as many archived podcasts, but he’s surprisingly good for the brief amount of time he’s been at it. I like podcasts that get to the point, the way Pat Flynn does, without a lot of silly fluff and chit chat from the host(s.) The business that Steve’s wife quit her job for was an e-commerce business, so you wouldn’t think he’d be covering topics of interest to writers looking to market their books and school visits. But it surprised me. I’ve learned a lot about just living in the online world, including things like building SEO (Search Engine Optimization, which refers to how easily Google and other search engines can find you and how high your site ranks for any search phrase.)

That’s enough to get you through quite a few gym workouts, but if you’re hungry for more, there’s a website where you can search an entire database of marketing podcasts. For instance, if you’re specifically interested in learning more about email marketing, the database will turn up some good results for you. Click through the offered links and listen for a few minutes to see if any of the podcasts are to your liking. It’s called

Any tips you’d like to share with the Cool School Visits community on how you’re using social media to promote your books and school visits? Leave a comment!

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