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Marketing Plan

I’ve never written a formal marketing plan. When I was a newspaper reporter, I received press releases and calls from public relations people. In the dozen years since I left the newspaper business, I have served as an unofficial (volunteer) public relations consultant for several nonprofit organizations and schools. I have written press releases, taken photographs, written cutlines, and called reporters and editors to pitch stories.

Now that I am implementing a marketing plan for my own book Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator, I am finding out that the nuts and bolts are pretty much the same. The first step is research, which admittedly, I have been doing for years. I have been collecting clippings about regional book festivals and conferences, making lists of bookstores I’d like to visit, and noting the area schools that invite authors.

Once I had the targets in mind, I needed to develop promotional materials. In my years of going to SCBWI conferences and reading books on writing for children, I’ve learned that first time authors often have to produce their own materials, but that the publisher should always be kept in the loop. I sent the designs for my business card and bookmark to my editor and the marketing director at Boyds Mills. They were enthusiastic. I went to a local printer I have worked with for my freelance clients and, for a little more than $100, I got 600 bookmarks and 500 business cards printed.

The marketing is working pretty well so far. I’ve scheduled my book launch at Lemuria. I’ll be presenting a workshop at the Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in April and at Writing and Illustrating for Kids (SCBWI-Southern Breeze) in Birmingham in October. I’ve also been asked to be a part of the Eudora Welty Library‘s summer reading program and to visit elementary and middle schools in my home city.

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