One of the things I learned from my self-publishing experience over a year ago is that if you don’t believe in your work, you can’t expect anyone else to. When I spoke to the Western Ohio Writer’s Association (WOWA) and Northern Ohio Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (NOH-SCBWI) about self-publishing, I advised them: “When you self-publish, you are your entire marketing, promotion, and sales team. You have to be able to walk up to someone and boldly say, ‘Buy my book. You’ll love it.’ You can’t afford to be shy.“
With the power of a major publishing house behind me for Pretty Girl-13, I have a team. Thank goodness. And thank Katherine and Katie and Megan and Casey and Laurel and Lauren and Amy and Jaime. But that doesn’t mean I relax while they do all the work. I have to be an active partner, and that requires shedding inhibitions just as much as if I were self-publishing.
So this week I hung up book launch posters and left a sample copy at my hair salon and my local coffee shop; I met my local public library YA librarian and gave him a copy; I pitched my local grocery chain about carrying the book; I ordered a cake decorated with book cover images; I ordered champagne for the launch party; I emailed independent bookstores to offer them signed book plates; I offered my services for an annual SCBWI conference; I registered for a book fair; and I pitched a telephone solicitor who called to ask for a donation.
Whot!? I solicited a solicitor? Oh yes. Shameless.
When I was a wee small thing, somewhere around 8 or 9, my piano teacher, who has more chutzpah than anyone I know, dragged her vanity published book The Wonderful World of San Diego around town, inviting all the local shops to sell it. She made me trail around with her–I have no idea why, probably to carry a bunch of them. Her unabashed self-promotion was inspiring on a weird level.
This nice policeman called to ask for a donation to sponsor locally hungry families for Easter. I gave him a generous donation and told him I could afford it because I was launching my first book next week. And then I pitched him. And I slipped my business card into the donation envelope.
Originally posted March 13, 2013.