Ten Steps to Become a Book Marketing Wizard

Jan 26th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Our Street Books

Image of author Daniel Ingram Brown

Author of The Firebird Chronicles series, recipient of the Taner Baybars award (2016), Artistic Director of Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre, Author in Residence at Beckfoot Upper Heaton School in Bradford, and part of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival team, which he chaired from 2013-16.

There’s not much he doesn’t know about bringing his characters from the pages of his book to life and now, Our Street Books author, Daniel Ingram Brown, gives us a back stage pass to his tried and tested methods of marketing a children’s book in today’s competitive world.

10 fun, creative ways for writers to promote their work

I’m an author, not a publicist, but these days most authors have to invest some time and energy promoting their work. My approach is to find ways of connecting with readers that are fun, and which are themselves an extension of my creative work.

Not all of these will appeal to you, but hopefully there are one or two ideas you’ll find helpful. And I hope you’ll be encouraged to see this aspect of an author’s work as being full of creative potential rather than a chore!

1. Creating images

I love working with images. It’s a different way of engaging creatively than words. For me, it’s a break from writing that keeps me imaginatively awake. Images often then inspire and give clarity to my writing. Find a quote from your book – just a sentence or two – that captures an idea or atmosphere, then choose an image, for example from Shutterstock or Adobe (paid) or Pixabay (free) and put the two together. I use Photoshop to create my images, but there are plenty of free, easy to use apps that do the trick. Here are some images I’ve made for my new book, Through the Uncrossable Boundary (released soon). Let me know what you think!

 Image for Firebird Chronicles The Uncrossable Boundary Book    Image for Firebird Chronicle Book The Uncrossable Boundary

2. Write a short story

So far, I’ve written three short stories based in the same world as my full-length books. Each book centers around a character modeled on one of my supporters. I’ve released two of these stories as FREE eBooks and the third is coming soon. I used Lulu for this. It’s a print-on-demand service, where you can create eBooks too. It’s pretty easy: you upload the story as a Word document, and a few days later it’s available on Lulu, Amazon, iBooks etc.

It takes a little trial and error to work out how to format it correctly, and you have to create a cover, but there’s plenty of info about how to do that on Lulu. At the end of each of the stories, I add a sample chapter from one of the full-length books and a link to where people can buy it.

I’m about to release the third story, Kumpas’s Treasure, which is a prequel to The Nemesis Charm. Watch this space! You can read the other two for FREE here.

Image of The Gell   

3. Audio recordings

This is a new idea for me. I’m planning to record Kumpas’s Treasure and release it as a free audio story. I’ve had some experience of recording and editing sound. All you need is a USB microphone and an editing programme (I use Cuebase, mainly used by musicians, but there are free programmes like Audacity too).

You can read the story yourself and then add sound effects and music. There are lots of sites where you can access free sound effects, for instance the Free Sound Project. You can also buy professional music from companies like Shutterstock. If you’d like to hear the free audio version of Kumpas’s Treasure when it comes out, please like my Facebook Page – I’ll be announcing it there!

4. Make a trailer

I made my own trailer for each of my last two books. I wrote a script (keeping it short and simple), recorded the audio, and then added images and video footage (again available from sites like Shutterstock). I used WeVideo to edit my trailers: it has some fun transitions and effects, as well as music beds and sound effects; and it’s all online, so you don’t have to download software. Have a look at the trailer I made and let me know what you think!

5. Film a reading

I had a go at this for a Crowdfunding campaign a while back. I was a bit nervous about it, but I love giving live readings, so I thought I’d give it a go. You can see the result here. It took a few takes, but the nice thing is, if you don’t like a take, you can delete it! I’m planning to film some more, as it seems like a good way to connect readers directly to my writing, and I was given a phone tripod for Christmas, so it should be fairly easy! Again, watch this space!

6. Turn one of your books into a play!

I run my own small-scale touring company, Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre, so it made sense to join things up and create a play of my first book Rise of the Shadow Stealers. This might not seem like an easy option for most authors, but there are relatively lightweight ways of presenting your work theatrically. My company started as a collaboration with an actor. There are plenty of actors out there looking for work – why not team up with someone and see what you can produce? Start small and build from there. Book a room in a pub and run an evening of dramatic readings. Who knows where it might lead! Here’s a blog about my experience of adapting the book from page to stage.

Image for Suitcase and Spectacles theatre show    Image f Suitcase and Spectacles theatre show

7. Write a song

Again, this is one that’s on my to do list. There are a couple of songs in my new book, and I want to have a go at recording them. I play the guitar a little and have recorded a couple of songs in the past just for fun. So, why not? Well, when you hear it you can let me know…!

8. Visit a school

This is one of my favourite things to do! The children are always so excited about having a real-life author visit their school. It inspires their reading and writing, and you get to share your work. Everyone wins.

Why not approach a local school and see if they’d like you to come in for a Q&A session? It can be scary at first, but in my experience, once the children start asking questions, the sessions fly by. I offer a free book for the best question, which is always a good motivation for the children. You can sell and sign books too.

Once you’ve visited a few schools, you can register on a website like Contact an Author to get further work. I also work with First Story as an Author in Residence. It’s brilliant working with the same group of children over an extended period and producing an anthology of their work at the end.

Image of Daniel Ingram Brown giving a school talk

9. Have a lounge gig

This is something I did before releasing my first book. I invited a group of friends over, brought some sweets (and wine!) and then read some sections of the book. My friends asked questions and gave feedback. It was relaxed, fun and helped to build a community of supporters around my work, who then become ambassadors for it. I’m open to invitations, so if you have a lounge and a few friends who might enjoy an evening with an author, get in touch!

       image of Daniel Ingram Browns Lounge Gig event     image of Daniel Ingram Browns Lounge Gig event

10. Write a blog

I couldn’t really leave this out, could I? I’ll be honest, writing blogs isn’t my favourite thing on this list. When I’m writing, I like to be writing stories! All the other things on this list are different but complimentary to writing. But it’s nice to write a blog every once in a while.

There are plenty of bloggers out there looking for content. One of the fun things is connecting with them. I’ve made some good friends in the book blogger community, and that’s what it’s all about for me – connecting with people in fun, creative ways. I hope this blog has given you some ideas. If it has, let me know!

I know the advice with social media is to be consistent and post regularly, but don’t let that be a pressure. It’s okay to leave that space for a bit and then come back with something new and exciting. Don’t forget, writing is your main job – so keep the marketing fun and don’t be overwhelmed by it!

What fun, creative ways have you found of promoting your book? Do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Image of author Daniel Ingram Brown

Daniel is the author of The Firebird Chronicles series for Middle Grade and Young adults alike. Rise of the Shadow Stealers was his first book in 2013 followed by the eagerly awaited The Nemesis Charm in 2016, both published by Our Street Books. The third and final installment, The Uncrossable Boundary is set to be released later in the year.

Sneak preview for The Firebird Chronicles: The uncrossable Boundary:

Gigan Ticks foretell the end of time. The world is beginning to fade.
As the NIGHTMARE army advances, can Fletcher and Scoop cross the Threshold into our world?
Will they be able to reunite their creators, before they slip into oblivion?
Fletcher and Scoop are apprentice adventurers at Blotting’s Academy, where all Story Characters are trained. Join them on their final feat as they discover the cost of crossing the Boundary in Daniel Ingram Brown’s thrilling conclusion to the Firebird Chronicles.

Echoes of C.S. Lewis…a thoroughly absorbing read – John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds (2000-2014).

If you are a book reviewer and/or blogger and would like to be one of the first people to read Daniel’s final chronicle, please get in touch for a review copy: emma@jhpbooks.net

Image of Book cover for Through the Uncrossable Boundary

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