Marketing one's book is the thought that gives all authors nightmares, or, at least, that is my impression from numerous blogs, TikTok and YouTube videos, as well as conversations with some of my fellow writers.
It is more to be feared than Writer's Block, Typist's Tendonitis, Illustrator's Interpretation, or, *gasp* the dreaded cramping of Plot Twists! Carpal Tunnel is the least of our worries...
I am not immune to any of the above conditions and I am, in fact, one who suffers from chronic Copious Melodramaticus* and Marketus Horribilus.** (I kid you not...just ask my Very Patient Dave.) So, trepidatiously (adverb meaning "with great amounts of nonessential nervousness"), I embarked on my marketing strategy.
The goal? New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Picture Book.
These lists are based on sales. Sales are based on advertising. Advertising is conversely based on salesmanship. Vicious cycle. Plot Twists incoming...fetch the Advil® ! (no endorsement from the makers of Advil® is implied in this mention, but I will accept fees for promotion if they wish to provide some...)
Enter into the radar a helpful list of book awards for which you can apply or have your publisher apply for you. There are many. If you are a fellow author, use my contact me form and I will send you a list as I've gathered it. There are likely more. Google® is our friend.
I filled in some application forms. I arranged for books to be shipped to the review panels***. I marked dates on my calendar which I then began to check obsessively for deadlines or expected announcement dates. It's worse than wanting your TikTok video to go viral while you sleep, thereby doing all your advertising for you!
Monday dawned. I ate my cereal (which shall go unnamed as General Mills has declined to send me spontaneous cash for mentioning their product previously) and, with great restraint, finally, opened my email app on my phone.
Ta-da! An email with the subject line "Mom's Choice Awards® Decision - Geckos in the Garden". Goosebumps.
I attempted to rip it open with a flourish, but lacking the texture of a paper envelope and accompanying sound of tearing, my cell phone remained intact, with a satisfying but anti-climactic "ping", and filled the screen with the news.
"2023 Mom's Choice Awards® Gold Award"
I was tickled. I bounced around. I interrupted a Very Patient Dave at his computer to give him the news. He was tickled. He bounced around. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but he emailed many people with the news so I know he was chuffed!
There is something satisfying in receiving an Award, as there is with a great review from a reader, or the smile on a child's face when I tell them one of my silly stories. A validation that what I do is not without value. A knowing that I am good enough. A pride in what I do.
When people ask me what I do, instead of "I play all day and call it research for my book..." or "I make up silly stories and draw things to go with them...", I can now say:
"I am an award-winning author and illustrator of children's picture books!"
Now I have to go check my email for 827,463,123.738th time today in case I have finally made that New York Times Best Seller List! And, before I forget...please go buy my totally amazing and 100% organically written children's book! Geckos in the Garden. You'll find it on the Bookstore tab above.
*Copious Melodramaticus is a debilitating condition in which sufferers often make a much bigger deal of something than it is. For example, getting excited about a gecko hanging out on the curtains while you work at your desk and deciding it is your personal friend...or creating an entire blog post out of a book award email.
** Marketus Horribilus is another debilitating condition in which you are forced to brag about your work in the hopes that someone will appreciate it enough to buy it and give it great reviews or perhaps just to shut you up....
***Eternal gratitude to my sister-in-law Cheryl for her assistance with mailing out copies of the book for me. Her patience is endless and she's the World's Greatest Moral Support!