Lesson Week Two—Marketing & Publicity

The last week's set up of your online presence covered:

1) You have created clear goals. 

2) Identified what you bring to market.

2) You have identified who your reader and reader's buyer are.

4) You have identified how you serve your reader

5) You have your bio

6) You have a profile photo and a banner for social media such as facebook and twitter,

7) You have a website, and your website collects emails.


Having all this in place makes it possible for you to collect the rewards of your marketing and publicity efforts. It's like setting the table and now you are ready for your guests.

Publicity will drive readers/audiences to your website. So you want to make sure your website is set up to receive them. If you want to drive book sales then your website should share additional content supporting your reader using your book in their home, schools, or other groups?


If you want to build your branding then your website should share additional content showing your reader how you can support them in their goals. Speaking, how to's, and so on...



Is KEY. Pay attention to what kind of marketing copy makes you want to know more? What delights you? Intrigues you? Inspires you? Keep a file of headlines that you find clever, inspiring, or thoughtful.


Headlines are the first contact: Some possible ways to structure headlines are around curiosity, teasers, and play. Generally speaking, questions are better than answers and problems are better than solutions. There are tons of directions for email subject lines, generally speaking:

email subject lines under 50 characters

customer focused










Make your writing easy to scan. Many people don't or won't read a lot of text, and so: 

use white space,



short paragraphs,

simple fonts,

style format,

small digestible bites,

and keep it short and efficient.


Write copy the way you speak to your friends.

Look through your text messages to remind you of your language.

Write copy as if you are standing in your reader's shoes.

Does your copy move you and inspire you?

Do you want to buy your book?

Write to one person—not a group.

Use contractions it's more personal and conversational.

Use concrete specific language.

Write in your voice.



 Your Reader

Looking at your favorite reader or reader's buyer study pdf from the last lesson. Identify why they buy books and where they hang out online and offline: 

Choosing Your Marketing Strategy

There are so many options for marketing your book that you want to choose what works best for you.

Would you rather meet people in person at events or speak on a podcast or youtube channel? Would you rather write as a guest blogger and/or create your own blog?

How can you get your illustration to work for you?

You can craft your efforts to what you enjoy and highlights you. 


Email Signature

You can set up email signatures with a small thumbnail of your book cover and a link to buy or preorder so everyone knows you have a new book coming out.


Instagram Ads

I prefer using the Instagram interface to set up Ads over Facebook. It's a pretty easy click-through process to create an ad out of a post. Below are the screens to create an Instagram ad.

1) Where do you want to send people?

2) I select my website.

3) You can even set the action button here.  You can set up a book buying page on your website or a book landing page with a link to buy your book online from a third party.  

2) Select a target audience.

4) Here you can define your audience. See the power here? You can create a post that serves teachers looking for classroom content and direct them to your book and website. You can look for homeschoolers. Whatever your market you can start to define it here. 

5) My audience is defined. I have 6,400,000 people in my group that has one of the interests defined, live in the United States ages 25-41.


6) Here I can set my budget.

7) Here is my profile page. If I click on promotions I get to the next page. 

8) This page can show me my active or inactive promotions. 

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads have even more controls than Instagram. You can define your audience even more—such as income, occupation, school status, life events, and so on. You can create still images, videos, animated gifs, or your book trailer with a link to buy your book or a link to your website to collect an email. The powerful option about Facebook and Instagram ads is that you can target your audience. It can be local, worldwide, a particular occupation or interests. Costs can add up quickly, so track it and make sure it's worthwhile. 


Creating an Ad

When creating an ad you will want to take a photograph of your book. Some photos are angled a bit so that it is clear it is a book. You want that to be perfectly obvious. You can photograph your book, or if you don't have it yet, photoshop your cover onto a photograph of another book.  



















Here are two approaches to create an ad for Mystery Bottle. For a Facebook or Instagram ad, the algorithm doesn't like text in the ad. You could animate a gif of the book. Perhaps a character from the book, pulls the photograph of the book onto the frame?


Another approach is to pull from reviews. You will want to narrow down a review to just the most enticing parts. You can also use this technique of selecting parts of reviews to highlight on your website. This is what I pulled from the Kirkus review below: 


"...Delightfully dynamic cut-paper-style illustrations, scattered with cultural details of Brooklyn and Tehran..., sweet, magical and visually fascinating. —Kirkus Review




If you are mid-level in your career and you think your next book is marvelous and you have a budget for your marketing... I suggest considering a publicist. If your online presence is set up and you are ready for larger national exposure—it is something to consider. It doesn't mean that you won't have to do the work. You will work with your publicist to spread the word.  In the meantime, you can also create your own publicity. You can create allies with those who are doing similar and inspiring work. Use your network to promote them. Perhaps they would like to interview you, or you can write a guest post for their blog? Any collaborations, of course fully credit on social media with tags and such. 


The key to making a content-maker's life easy is for you to find the angle and write the content. You can pitch flushed out ideas to different media channels. You can start locally and with media that you know, that you like, that you are a fan of, and that your reader's buyer is a fan of. Reach out to that medias submission guidelines and pitch your idea. 


Once you start to have online reviews, interviews, or videos—you can add those with links in your website and bio. It can read something like..."As seen in Publisher's Weekly or New York Times" And use those links to spruce up your Amazon author page.

Media Kits

Pinpoint media that your buyers hang out in online or offline. Prepare media kits that make the reader want to know more about you. You can include: a couple of business cards, a photo of your book, a headshot, basic biography, info about your book and where to find it a recent press release (click here to see the format), media coverage, and book reviews. You can also make sure this info is on your website on your "about page".


Content to Pitch

Think of each media outlet in relation to How can I charm my reader with my new book? What can I give them or what can my book give them that they want to know about? Here are some offshoots of ideas to extend content around your book.


1)Projects (such as art and craft or cooking or science) that create more content related to your book can be an easy way to bridge from your book into audiences interests. 

2)History can tie together your book and an audience with themes, locations, or people.

3)Your life experiences or family experiences can be of interest to an audience.

4)Your creative process can be an inspiration to others.




You can create a blog for your readers, or you can also guest blog for another blogger. Find those people who are doing things you love and collaborate with them.

Newspaper & Magazines

Create an angle to write about your book for newspapers and magazines. You can submit books for reviews, but even better is to create editorial content for them related to your book.


Guest Appearances on Podcasts, Radio, and TV

What are your favorite media outlets? How can your story contribute to their mission?



You can create your own youtube channel to connect with readers. You can add any additional content or back story about your book.



Booking Speaking Engagements can make you an expert in your field. Instead of waiting for speaking requests, you can reach out and offer programs based on your book. You can create the idea and description to offer a range of programs on your website, but wait for the booking to actually create the content of the program. You may consider speaking at schools, libraries, trade shows, Book fairs, or colleges. Be sure to take photos or videos at events to use to promote yourself. Here are some inspiring children's book author speakers:

Amy Krouse Rosenthal TED talk

Amy Krouse Rosenthal 

Cat Zaza

Mac Barnett TED talk

Maira Kalman TED talk

Maira has tons of other wonderful talks. Youtube her.

Maria Carluccio

Marla Frazee

Book Signings

Tell your publisher's publicist that you want to do book signings. You can give them the info to make a contact (The store and event coordinator's contact)or you can contact the bookstore yourself. Bookstores prefer to do book signings when your book first comes out, so schedule these in advance of your book release. You can prepare simple activities for these events and have "giveaways". It's easy to spot a seasoned author/illustrator at a book signing. They take the time to connect with each book buyer, write the name for the inscription on a post-it first, use a pen that doesn't smudge, has an idea of a clever inscription, knows where in the book he/she wants to sign and perhaps even creates a drawing in the book. Show up, be your charming self, and be happy with whatever the turn-out.  


Keep stocked with books, pens, and cards at the minimum for any event to turn it into a book signing. 


For more reach, if you want your book to be featured for storytime in a book store you can provide an authorless event kit. Create a simple activity that is based on the book or enhances the book. Send supplies or send a list of supplies. You could even create a link to a video on your website where the bookseller or a school can play a video of you workshopping the activity. You could even sell a kit on your website to schools for a much lower cost than having you visit in person. 



You can photograph and make videos of any events to use in order to book other events. Whatever event you want to do create an interesting angle about your book, or about you depending on your goals.


Launch Party

Celebrate your book birthday! Look for a good venue for a launch party. A Favorite Local Bookstore? A Library? A Children's Museum? A Science Museum? A Local Town Hall? A Gallery? A School? Your Studio? A Rented Space? A Friend's Home? What are your goals? How would you like to create this event? Could you do an art installation related to the book and create the launch party around it? Can you sell originals or prints from the book? Can you and have a gallery opening/launch party? Do you want a public event or a private event? A dinner party or cocktail party with a smaller group of industry people? An open studio with a workshop to show your process? Perhaps a short speech? a slide show of book and process? You can invite the media, your favorite editors, teachers, librarians, those you would like to collaborate with on projects. Document everything to use in pitches later. | Brooklyn, NY 

© 2018 by Kristen Balouch

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