Wednesday, September 26, 2018

After the Debut: Strategies for Marketing Subsequent Books with Guest Author Laura Sassi + Giveaway, posted by Tina Cho

Author Laura Sassi is no stranger to the Grog Blog. You can see past interviews of her here and here. Today Laura shares how she markets her books #2, #3, and her latest #4 Love Is Kind, by ZonderKidz, August 2018.



There are many posts about marketing your debut book. But what do you do when it’s your second, or third… or tenth book?  Is your strategy the same?  If not, what’s different?  Well, the big difference is that as soon as book #2 is published, you are no longer a debut author so your marketing/promotion efforts should keep that new reality in mind. In my opinion, your new goal - with every new release - should be to generate interest in your new book along with renewed interest in all your titles.

With that in mind, here are 8 strategies I have found for effectively marketing - not just your debut book - but all the books that follow. I hope they generate even more ideas from your readers so we can work together to build a great list!


1.Keep your BIO updated. This should be obvious, but with each new release, be sure to update your bio, book info, and keep your headshots up-to-date on all your various platforms. And don’t forget to update your author page on Amazon, SCBWI, Goodreads and other sites that you don’t necessarily consider “your platform” but which include bios about you.

2. Go on blog tour, yes STILL. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find blog tours to be a wonderful way to make a splash with even post-debut books.  I know, for example, that if I hadn’t set up my own blog tours for books #3 and #4, I wouldn’t have had many blog appearances, and each one of those blog visits, in my view, has been a great opportunity to let people know that I have new books out. My goal with each blog tour has been to make stops at a cross-section of readerships so that I get the chance to interact with folks in all those sectors.  For me that has meant visits to writing blogs, library blogs, and mommy/daddy blogs. 

3. Set up guest blog appearances (or write articles for publications) - as an expert.  Now that you have more than one book, it’s time to market yourself - not as the debut author - but as the expert. Writing posts from this perspective will give you a chance to reference your books in the context of a bigger topic which is a great way to get your name and your books out there in an interesting way. But even if you don’t reference your own books, and sometimes that won’t fit the topic you are writing about, you’ll still be on people’s radar as a seasoned author and your books will still be included in the bio at the end of the piece.

4. Maximize the Sales Impact at School/Library Visits. When arranging signings and school events, request that all your books be available for purchase on their order forms or on their shelves, rather than just the newest one. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how having this option at signings actually increases sales. Instead of buying just the newest release, folks often decide to get one or more of my other titles as well!  

5. Think outside the box when it comes to visits. For my first book, most of my events were your typical library and bookstore story times. I also did readings at local preschools. With my subsequent books, I still do a lot of those, but I’ve also broadened my visit opportunities by thinking outside the box. For example, instead of just having a book reading at my local library, next month I will present a workshop for ages 5+ where we’ll delve into the world of book jackets - using my latest release LOVE IS KIND as the jumpstart.  I did similar workshop-style events for previous books and they all had a waitlist! I’ve also spoken at MOPS groups, led a rhyming picture book workshop at my local SCBWI June conference, been the keynote speaker at a college women’s club scholarship luncheon, and was even the featured guest on a local faith-themed tv show - all events that provided opportunities to creatively promote my books. My publisher also asked if I’d be interested in doing a few radio interviews. Of course I said yes, and thus was open to even more out of the box opportunities. If this sounds interesting, the first step is to brainstorm creative presentation ideas that you’d enjoy in lieu of - or, better yet, in addition to - the typical author event readings and signings.

6. Network, network, network!  None of the above would have been possible, had I not first stepped out of my comfort zone, to gather and then reach out to contacts. The children’s author community is a great place to start networking and places like the SCBWI blue boards can be wonderful resources. I’ve also had success networking through social media and through chatting with parents, teachers, librarians etc. who often then offer to introduce me to the contact. Even if you’re shy, as I am, be sure to follow through on every contact because, as I’ve discovered over the course of four years and four books, reaching out often leads not only to that event, but it also open the doors to other opportunities. I call this the snow ball effect and I wrote a whole post about it. (link:   https://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/marketing-the-snow-ball-way-2/) And be sure to loop back to each and every contact with each subsequent book. You might just be invited for a return visit with your newest release!

7. Develop extension materials for each book.  Educators and parents LOVE when they can extend a story with fun activities and/or learning-based follow up materials, so I think it’s well worth your time and effort to put together either a teacher kit or a series of activities for each book which are then available on your blog. Be sure to share these via social media  - and make them easy and eye-catching so others will share them as well.

8. Be smart about swag, book trailers etc. Different houses handle promo materials like posters, bookmarks and book trailers differently. I’ve been fortunate that Zonderkidz, the publisher of three of my books, has generously provided me with book trailers, bookmarks, event posters and coloring pages for each of my titles with them.   I’ve found the bookmarks and book trailers to be especially invaluable.The bookmarks are a hit because they are eye catching, useful, and promo-smart because they include my social media contact info etc. They, in essence, have become my business cards! The book trailer has also been a fun addition to blog tours and a visually effective way to introduce the book to potential venues for book engagements.

If you have to create these yourself, they can be expensive, so definitely decide how much you can spend and then decide which will have the most impact for your promo plans. My top four choices are bookmarks, event posters, coloring pages and, if possible, a book trailer.  Having a trailer professionally made can be expensive, but I just learned how to make a book trailer from a friend and the final clip is cute as can be!  I’m still waiting to hear back from the publisher on it, but I hope I’ll  soon be able to use it as yet another visual way to pitch bloggers, bookstores, libraries etc. about possible visits.  


YOUR TURN!  This list is just the beginning.  What would you add -either as a newbie starting out, or as a veteran.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  And happy book promoting, all!

Wow, Laura. Thank you for all of these tips! I'm certainly going to bookmark this post so I can try these marketing tips for my forthcoming books. Please check the reviews for Love Is Kind here. It's a gorgeous FALL-looking book that can be used any time of the year. If you'd like a chance to win LOVE IS KIND, please leave a comment below how Laura's tips will help you or any questions for her. We'll choose a winner October 3rd.
To enter, you must be 18 years or older and have a U.S. street address to which Zonderkidz will send you the book. 

BIO: Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme.  A graduate of Princeton University and UCLA, she had a successful teaching career before becoming a children’s author. She is the author of four picture books including the best-selling GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014) which was a Christian Book Award Finalist, GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) which was featured on BBC’s Cbeebies Bedtime Stories, and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018).  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.













Children's book author and poet
GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, August ’14)
GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, October ’15)
DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, Spring ’18)
LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, Fall  ’18)
twitter.com/laurasassitales

35 comments:

  1. My only thing to add is that authors can create programs before the first book is even published. It might have to do with writing or a topic you love. Once you provide one, be sure to ask for feedback and a testimonial for your website. Then, improve it and do it all over again. This helps to get your name established for programs before you NEED the marketing help for your book. :) And if you're unsure, ask a teacher if you can visit their classroom or your local library. (But eventually you should charge for well-developed programs.)

    I'd love to win this! Thank you! annettemwhipple at gmail dot com

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    1. Great idea, Annette. Thank you for your comment for Laura!

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  2. This is a treasure trove of good advice for all of us looking to market ourselves and our books. Congrats on your newest book, LOVE IS KIND.

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    1. It's a beautiful book. Thank you, Kathy!

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  3. What amazing ideas! Thank you! This is very inspiring.

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    1. Glad it was helpful, Emma. Thank you for your comment.

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  4. Great idea - thank you for sharing them. Going to pass this along to my SCBWI shop talk group!

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    1. Excellent idea, Sue. Thank you for your comment for Laura!

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  5. Great ideas! Congratulations on your books!

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    1. Indeed. One to keep in mind! Thanks, Beth, for your comment for Laura.

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  7. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous post! I’m planning supporting activities and materials for all of my books now! 😁

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    1. How cool, Verbenabeth! Happy writing & planning!

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  8. So many great ideas! I'm keeping this front and center on my computer! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Glad Laura's post was helpful. Thanks, Cathy!

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  9. Congrats on the new book, Laura. Thank you for the tips and links. All valuable info for marketing!

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    1. Thanks for your comment for Laura, Charlotte!

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  10. Great tips! Thank you, Laura! I hope that one of these years, I'll get to put these into good use. Cheers!

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    1. I'm sure you will. Thanks for your comment for Laura!

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  11. Facing my debut soon, and this information is great information for that too. Thanks for the post, Laura!

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    1. Indeed, Wendy. Have fun planning your release!

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  12. Great timing! Definitely putting this to use. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Glad it was helpful, Keila! Thanks for your comment for Laura!

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  13. This post came at a perfect since my agent and I are putting together my marketing proposal. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips!

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    1. Awesome to hear. Good luck on your marketing endeavors!

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  15. This is a great post, and very timely. I have books #18 and #19 coming out fall 2019, and I still sincerely value, input from others on how to connect with readers. Thanks much. I've shared out to my social media accounts.

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    1. Congrats on books 18 & 19! Wow! Good luck marketing!

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  16. Such a helpful post. I'm not quite there yet, but if I get a book published, this will come in mighty handy. Thanks, Tina and Laura.

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    1. Thank you, Sherri, for your comments for Laura!

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  17. Love these tips although I'd probably never publish a book, BUT I will "publish" them in my classroom lol I have my students develop their writing and once they're strong writers, they "publish" their books and add them to our class library. They love it! I will definitely have them add extension activities because it's true we love them and so do the kids.

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