Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marketing 2.0

As we begin the second decade of our century, I’m still back in the first decade, technologically speaking.

I did enter the blog world several years ago thanks to this esteemed blog. And I’m making progress: on my recent author trip to Africa I finally abandoned my old acetate overheads for powerpoint. I now trust the software and hardware not to fail, and they didn’t.

But my publisher wants more for my new book, due out April 1. [Full disclosure: it’s middle grade fiction: All the Worlds’ a Stage: A Novel in Five Acts (Holiday House.)] Their Author Appearance Questionnaire asks for the old-fashioned contact information, like email and websites, but also wants my facebook, twitter, and personal blog addresses. Their Note About Social Networking is actually a whole page of information about things like book trailers and linking all the abovementioned data to all those accounts, both mine and the publishers’.

I signed up for facebook a while ago but have ignored it. Until now. I don’t have a personal blog. And I don’t tweet. But I do have a film editor friend who has offered to help me create a book trailer as an upcoming birthday present.

So here’s where I stop telling you stuff, and ask questions to you authors, editors, librarians, teachers, and general readers. I would love to know your habits and preferences for using social networking to find out about children’s books and authors.

• Where do you look first to get information about authors and their books – their websites or facebook pages?

• Do you friend authors to find out more about their books?

• Do you prefer to look at an author’s general facebook page, or would you prefer a page dedicated to each of his/her books?

• Do you use twitter to give and receive information about books?

• Do you look at book trailers and do they influence what books you will read?

• Do you read more group blogs or individual blogs?

End of quiz.


This month I traveled to ALA in San Diego where I attended a Holiday House reception, and roamed the exhibits, meeting and greeting editors and authors, and filling a wheelie suitcase with ARCs (advance reading copies.) In the evening I met fellow INK blogger Sue Macy (see left) and we talked shop, until Nancy Feresten, VP of Children's Books at National Geographic, showed up whereupon we shouted shop over salsa and chips in a noisy Mexican restaurant.

The following weekend I attended an SCBWI writing retreat at the Santa Barbara Mission. Four grateful editors from the frozen north talked more shop for two days in the warm California sunshine. I spent a day in workshops with Brenda Murray, Senior Nonfiction Editor at Scholastic, and her message to every writer was the same. And it was the message I had gotten the night before from Nancy Feresten at Nat Geo.

To sell these days, nonfiction books must be tied to curricula. So check the state curriculum standards, (e.g. and be sure your content is written for the appropriate level. Perhaps things will ease up in the future, and we can write whatever we like for whatever level we like, but the economy dictates the boundaries these days.

Now, please take my quiz (above) and leave comments, not on facebook or twitter, but right here.



Mary-Esther said...

Hi Gretchen,

I've got a facebook page too, and I'm still not sure what to do with it. I've joined a few groups, but that's it. As for author info, I would look for a website. It's never occurred to me to friend them. The few authors I've met aren't on facebook. It's hard enough to write something without having to worry about facebook updates.

I don't twitter. I find it hard to follow the conversations when they're so broken up (because of the word constraints). I've seen some good book trailers, and did buy a book (Duck! Rabbit!) As for blogs, I read both group and individual ones.

I really like I.N.K. so I mentioned it on When I Grow Up, my nonfiction book site ( Friend me!

Sue Macy said...

Thanks for including the picture from my book party. I made my book trailer as a challenge to myself, but I'm finding that the marketing people love it and it's got all kinds of uses. You can put it on your author page, for example. Anything that "animates" the story of the book is a good thing. As for Facebook, most of my "friends" are actual friends or work colleagues, with a few library contacts thrown in. I don't use it much, but I just posted a link to a review of my book. That was really easy to do and I figure, why not? But I'm still figuring this stuff out.

rglaser said...

Hi Gretchen,

I'm still new to all the Web 2.0 stuff too, but here's a few answers. For author info I either look at the author's or publisher's web site. I've looked at a few on Facebook if they post things related to writing regularly (there's no need to have a separate Facebook page for each of your books... too much work!) Book trailers are great; Lerner has done some really nice ones. You don't necessarily have to be a video editing whiz--I made a simple one once using Keynote, the Mac version of Powerpoint. It seems that anything that allows people to preview books online these days will help sales of the book. Not sure if I remembered all your questions, but hope this helps!


Gretchen Woelfle said...

Thanks for all your comments. You'll find my updates on facebook, eventually - I hope.

Stacey said...

I teach 5th grade. While I use Facebook at home for personal reasons, I don't use it for school. One reason is that the school blocks Facebook. I can't access it and neither can the kids. I prefer to check author's own websites for author information. I also often use the publisher's site, if they have one for the author, and Wikipedia. Sometimes I watch publisher's book trailers but not often.
My kids post daily on Twitter but I don't have time to follow all the authors and people I would be interested on it.
I also follow several blogs including INK. I don't read it daily but every once in awhile I get caught up on my blogs using Google Reader.
Hope this is helpful.

Loreen Leedy said...

Hi Gretchen,
I’m finding that different people prefer various forms of outreach. Some like Facebook for links to blog posts about my books, activity sheets, plus education-related articles. My FB author page led directly to me being invited to the Mazza conference (2012.)

Twitter has come in handy to monitor conferences, like the recent Digital Book World publisher conference in New York. Using the hashtag #dbw11 (and session-related tags) I got a sense of what was going on and connected with some people and asked/answered questions. Author-illustrator Barney Saltzberg was there, and we invited him to repost his on-the-scene observations on the blog, which was very cool. No waiting was done within half a day and our blog readers were very appreciative.

Book trailers are great for getting a sense of what a book is about, but even an image of an inside spread gives a good idea.

To find out about an author, I generally go to their web site, but how I get there is often due to a Tweet, a blog post, or a listserv of other authors/artists. I tweet every blog post I write with hashtags such #kidlit; #science; #lessonplans, #edchat, etc. so people can find them. I also tweet posts written by other people that relate to education, books, ebooks.

I like group blogs because of the diversity of voices. Individual author blogs with long posts about personal vacations, etc. don't interest me especially, but some readers may enjoy peeking into someone's life like that.