Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kansas SCBWI Workshop

I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Kansas SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) workshop, “Taking Care of Business: Marketing and Promoting.”

In the morning, I gave a presentation called “Promotion 101.” Which is ironic, considering that I don’t have a single sales gene in my entire body. When Airball: My Life in Briefs first came out, if you’d told me I’d soon be giving other writers tips on promotion, I would have first laughed and then passed out in terror at the mere thought of doing promotion.

I’ll never be an in-your-face promoter, but I have picked up a few things. My guiding principles for marketing are:
  1. Don’t do things you hate. Try new things that may seem scary at first (like school visits—a terrific way to connect with readers, librarians, and teachers), but if you absolutely hate some kind of event or promotional effort, don’t do it. Life’s too short.
  2. Don’t spend a fortune. Plenty of free or low-cost opportunities (like sending out press releases or speaking at regional library conferences) exist.
  3. Focus on your own piece of the world. You can’t cover the whole country anyway, and the people who live in your region are probably going to be the ones who are most excited about your book.
In the afternoon I attended Sue Uhlig Ford and Kate Barsotti’s presentation, “Websites and Blogs 101.” They gave great tips on what your goals should be for a blog and/or website and how to set them up. One of the best tips I picked up is probably one of the simplest (and also was one of those moments where I thumped myself upside the head and said, “Duh”): Make sure the URL of the About Me or About the Author page on your site is titled with your name. Search engines looking for your name will not connect About Me with you.

So I immediately came home and updated my site. Now instead of saying “About the Author,” the tabs on my web pages say “About L.D. Harkrader.” And the page they link to is LDHarkrader, rather than Author.


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