Zen and the Art of Book Promotion

The whole point of Emu’s Debuts is that we’re beginners here. We’re figuring this out as we go. No matter how long we hoped and worked and dreamed that we would be published, for all of us, this is our first time out of the gate.

It’s like parenting. You can’t practice, not really. You can’t prepare, though countless self help books and seminars would have you believe otherwise. There is a steep learning curve. For everyone.

These days, authors are expected to be very active in promoting their books. This introverted, often painfully shy sector of society is supposed to suddenly transform into a dervish of charming, bubbly wit. There now, I’ve made writers sound dull, haven’t I? It’s not that—it’s just that sometimes we are more comfortable in our imagined worlds than we are in the real one.

There are plenty of informational articles and even entire blogs that spell out exactly what an author should do in each of the 12 months leading up to launch day. Here is a short list, just to give you an idea:

  • sign up for twitter
  • contact book sellers
  • print bookmarks
  • design catchy tie-in temporary tattoos
  • build a website
  • tweet
  • make a book trailer
  • plan a cover reveal
  • arrange a blog tour
  • make a press kit
  • host giveaways
  • tweet
  • contact media outlets
  • present at conferences
  • sign up for ARC tours
  • plan a launch party
  • schedule school visits
  • tweet some more

Really, I could go on. And on. And on. If you let it, promotion can completely take over.

The thing is, nobody is going to remember my fancy press kit. And those temporary tattoos are going to fade after a shower or two. But our young readers will remember our stories.

I have just over three months until Parched hits the shelves. In that time, I’ll pick and choose from the list above, doing the things that will connect me with bloggers and teachers and librarians, with the kids who have been craving a story just like this one.

But most of the time, I won’t even be thinking about marketing and promotion. I’ll be writing.

MC Author Photo CroppedMelanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the forthcoming middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2013). A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

Visit her online at melaniecrowder.net.


Filed under Blogging, Book Promotion, Promotion, Social Media

13 responses to “Zen and the Art of Book Promotion

  1. I think you’re right. I mean, “they” say we should do all this stuff, but they don’t really provide compelling evidence that these things are effective. Except the tattoos. I’m sure those generate scores of sales.


  2. Joshua McCune

    Well, I’ve signed up for twitter and started a website. All that other stuff kinda terrifies me :).


  3. And, it goes on and on–even a year out! Sigh.


  4. I found that tackling one or two things a week was doable. Some things will build a momentum of their own, such as “hosting giveaways” which will probably happen as part of your blog touring. Plus, I expect your book will garner the kind of rave reviews that elicit many opportunities.


  5. Amen, Melanie! Your amazing book will be the very best promotion in and of itself – word of its brilliance will spread quickly among readers everywhere.


  6. anny

    You mention that there are lots of blogs and articles that spell out what an author should do in the months leading up to release. Would you please recommend some good ones to visit–just to get the lay of the land.



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