21 ways to spend your summer getting ready for next year’s author visits

21 Ways to spend your summer getting ready for next year's author visits
I love doing school visits, but I have to confess, I love summer break, too. I wrapped up my final visit last week, which got me thinking about things we can all do, during summer break, to help our school visit careers once school is back in session. Here are a few suggestions…

1. Polish up that brochure you’ve been planning and have it printed. I like Vistaprint.com and Gotprint.com. They’re both quick and efficient. Things you might want to include in the brochure: [Read more…]

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 https://www.pinterest.com/kimnormanbooks/

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: [Read more…]

Three ways to build word-of-mouth for your author visits

3WaysWordofMouth_150You can build a jazzy website, pay for expensive brochures, spend tons of time networking online and in person, but nothing will ever be as powerful as one librarian telling another librarian about how great your author visit was. Marketers know: word-of-mouth is king.

But librarians and reading specialists are busy people. The minute you’re out the door, your host is onto the next item on her looooong to-do list. So how can you keep yourself in her mind long enough to make it into a conversation with her colleagues? Here are three things you can do near the end of your visit, or afterwards, that may impress her enough to recommend you. [Read more…]

Four website MUST-HAVES to win more author visit invitations

MustHaves_150I’ve had a few friends ask, “How do you get so many author visits?” While I have quite a few colleagues who do a far greater number of visits than I do, I did manage, sometime around my third year of doing school visits, to triple the number of events on my calendar, (from 12 to 36) and that number has stayed fairly consistent since then. I think this jump was mainly due to some key changes I made to my website. [Read more…]

Don’t forget advance promotional materials

I have a collection of promotional materials I offer schools at various points in the booking process. Immediately after a school contacts me inquiring about an author visit, if they’re simply looking for more information, I “snail mail” my advance packet. (See below.)

Kim Norman's author visit advance promotional packetEven if a visit never comes to pass, they’ll have my brochure and other materials, including a music CD of my “Storytime Boogie,” and they may remember me in a coming year. I have had PTA coordinators tell me they were handed my packet from an out-going committee member, so it’s clear that at least some of the recipients really do value and hold onto the packet for future years. [Read more…]