I'm home from a trip to that place in Florida that I'm a freelancer for. I was told by numerous people that the use of freelancers will be minimal in the fore-see-able future - due to cut backs due to the - economy. Oy Vey.
Bubble - burst.
And that's in licensing. How will the near future effect Children's books?
Back in October- I had gone to a Ny Metro Scbwi evening. Susan Raab, Raab Associates, Inc. - was the speaker. The topic was "Marketing your work" - She spoke of the uncertain economic times ahead and what it all means for publishing. Issues like the cost of paper - school and library budgets - travel costs - all will impact the author and illustrator as well as the publishers. She said that in this kind of climate it is even more important to market yourself wisely.
Most beginners can not afford to pay someone like her to do it for them. She does everything from media PR (Today Show-NPR) -to banners at Target/Costco/Barnes and Noble... But she gave advice on how to think about it and approach it for yourself...
This seems like a good time to share it with you- and repeat it all to myself!
Have a mission statement. Something to define you- who you are as an author/illustrator. Have it written down and ready. You need to have a context for you as a person - not just the book. (Not a bio - more "what you are" than "who you are". This way- you make a case for yourself before you even get someone to talk to you. "Gorilla Marketing"
Think how your book topic fits into the news or current events. If you write or illustrate horses- hook up with an expert to approach publicity with not only the book but information for the public.
Blogs- Website- Facebook -etc - do it all but have it all work together - working along that mission statement. Offer give aways -promotions - excerpts - sample art - first chapters. Have color-ables and down-loadibles. Contribute to industry blogs - get your name out thru industry publications. Start a mailing list(e-mail) and send out news to continually drive traffic to your sites.
Form Alliances - form a group of authors/Illustrators (like PB Junkies) -do combined book exhibits at stores/schools/libraries. School visits - work for the beginners as well as the heavy hitters. Come out of these with photos- build your own portfolio of PR and build content for marketing.
Think of it as a campaign for yourself. Consider yourself a product line - and keep evolving your plan to fit new work.
Stay informed on the industry. Consider informational books- such as holiday-self help-historical-event related - topic specific.
**Get paid for your time**** -It conveys your value! Push as much as you can. Advocate for yourself. Don't take hits personally. Take a long term view. Believe in what you are doing - so others will too.
I just was explaining to my almost 9 yr old- It's not the destination- it's the journey - and she replied with a scrunched up face and a loud "WHAT the HEck does that mean!!?" In explaining it - I was telling myself to quiet that part of my brain repeating from the back seat..."When will we get there? When will we get there?"... SSshhhhh... open up the window- take a deep breath - look up at the sky and dream- and don't get sick to your stomach... it's gonna be a looooooong ride.
Work in progress below..