Hey Spring Spirit go-ers. Thank you for attending Staying Relevant: Life After Publication, my PAL session at the SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference. In lieu of a handout, I’ve created this web page as a resource for the various documents that I collected from established authors. I hope you find them useful in your life after publication.
Updated speaking resources for tech-savvy educators can help you stay relevant:
Annette Bay Pimental’s Author Visit Brochure
Patricia Newman’s Author Visit Brochure
Larry Dane Brimner’s Performance Contract
Leslie Helakoski’s Author Visit Contract
Create Engaging School Visits — closed group on Facebook
Several authors market outside the traditional trade and school/library audiences. Here are a few ideas:
School Visit Experts resource blog for authors and illustrators by Alexis O’Neill
Conservation scientists for my Sea Otter Heroes
The Society of Young Inklings as a mentor to young writers
National Biodiversity Teach-In webinars in February (sponsored by Illinois high school students)
I’m not sure how frequently my teacher guides are downloaded, but I find that I use the activities listed within them at educator conferences. The following three teacher guides had three different designers: two were designed by freelancers and one was designed by my publisher:
You don’t have to recreate the wheel when building or redesigning your website. Survey some of your favorite authors’ sites. What do their websites do well? What could be improved? Incorporate the good stuff into your own site, and redesign the not-so-good stuff. Above all, make sure your website reflects your personality.
PAL MEMBER SURVEY
I conducted a survey of several PAL members that I know. I asked all sorts of questions about life after publication and how they stay relevant in the marketplace: what tools they rely on, strategies to balance the creative and business sides of publishing; and the niche markets they’ve carved out for themselves. View their responses.
REFRAME A BOOK SIGNING AS A BOOK PARTY
Gwendolyn Hooks from Oklahoma repackaged her book store signing for Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas as a Book Party. She emailed invitations to librarians and teachers to local school districts—even those she didn’t know. She also emailed the OK Library Association, the Reading Association, and science teachers. She asked people to bring their family and friends, and submitted the event for her two local NPR stations to announce.
Gwendolyn hosted her event at a small art gallery, and had a photo booth and doctor paraphernalia for the kids and adults to use. Kids made heart-shaped foam necklaces and she fed her guests heart- shaped cookies with tiny red stitches.
She says, “I invited everyone I had ever crossed paths with in my life even if they lived out of town. My family invited their friends, etc. My invitation was a postcard with the book cover on the front, plus a review, etc. On the back were the party details. I also made a Facebook event.”
Gwendolyn had a great time and sold 70 books. The event was the same night as the local SCBWI book club meeting, so Gwendolyn invited her SCBWI pals, too.
SURVIVING A DROUGHT
Marsha Diane Arnold experienced a 7-year drought in sales. Here’s how she survived.