How's my marketing plan for my MG book? (Tips greatly needed)

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The Second Moon

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I am ready to market my first book and I think a website might be the best way to do that since it is MG. I am pumped about the idea. I've been looking up MG author websites, but I have no idea where to start. This is what I was thinking...tell me what you think.

I'll have the basic stuff like, contact info, stuff about my book, author bio, etc. Then I'll have a fun little blog (I've never blogged before, though). The blog will be centered around the book and the characters in it (The book is going to be part of a huge series...9 or 10 books) Of course I won't have spoilers, though.

Does that plan for my website sound good? What else can I do to market my book? Buy ads? But where so that my MG readers (or mainly their parents) see it?

I would also like to read some of my book at some places like libraries and schools (once this virus thing blows over).

What do you guys think about my plan? Is it any good? Tips are greatly needed. Thank you in advance.
 

Girlsgottawrite

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A website is 100% necessary! Anytime you tell someone about your book you can easily direct them there for more info. I might also include some fun things for kids or parents (Like games or activities) or even link to other sites with fun stuff. I would also look for other middle grade writer's sites and offer to link to them if they link back to you. The more often your webpage link shows up online, the higher it moves in the google search engine. (Don't pay someone to build your site. It's a waste of money. It's super easy to create a site on WIX even if you're not super computer savvy)

Beyond that, you will want to do some interviews, if possible. Contact book and writer blogs and see if they're willing to do interviews with you or reviews of your book (you will have to send them a free copy if you want them to do a review).

Look for blogs that may be looking for writers, whether it be about children or writing and see if they might be willing to post a piece of yours. It can be about anything: self publishing, writing for children, parenting (if you have kids). Offer your work for free as long as they link to your book.

Buying ads is VERY expensive and often not worth the cost. The only adds that might help you are amazon adds that come up when people look at other middle grade books. I don't know how much those cost though.

Going to schools is smart, but public schools may be a hard sell. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to go there. Charter schools and private schools are often more open to these sorts of things. My kid's charter had at least one writer talk to their class every year and they sold a ton of books. Just please don't be the jerk that only goes there to advertise. Talk to them about being an author or how they could do your sort of job. Kids know when someone's being disingenuous.

Also, go to your local indy bookstores and ask if they would be willing to carry your book. Often indy bookstores are happy to support local authors that way.

I hope that helps! Good luck!
 
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The Second Moon

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A website is 100% necessary! Anytime you tell someone about your book you can easily direct them there for more info. I might also include some fun things for kids or parents (Like games or activities) or even link to other sites with fun stuff. I would also look for other middle grade writer's sites and offer to link to them if they link back to you. The more often your webpage link shows up online, the higher it moves in the google search engine. (Don't pay someone to build your site. It's a waste of money. It's super easy to create a site on WIX even if you're not super computer savvy)

Beyond that, you will want to do some interviews, if possible. Contact book and writer blogs and see if they're willing to do interviews with you or reviews of your book (you will have to send them a free copy if you want them to do a review).

Look for blogs that may be looking for writers, whether it be about children or writing and see if they might be willing to post a piece of yours. It can be about anything: self publishing, writing for children, parenting (if you have kids). Offer your work for free as long as they link to your book.

Buying adds is VERY expensive and often not worth the cost. The only adds that might help you are amazon adds that come up when people look at other middle grade books. I don't know how much those cost though.

Going to schools is smart, but public schools may be a hard sell. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through to go there. Charter schools and private schools are often more open to these sorts of things. My kid's charter had at least one writer talk to their class every year and they sold a ton of books. Just please don't be the jerk that only goes there to advertise. Talk to them about being an author or how they could do your sort of job. Kids know when someone's being disingenuous.

Also, go to your local indy bookstores and ask if they would be willing to carry your book. Often indy bookstores are happy to support local authors that way.

I hope that helps! Good luck!

Cool Thanks for all the info. I hadn't thought about indie bookstores. I've also tried WIX in the past, but I find it very difficult. Anyone know of any other easy-to-use website creators?
 
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Cool Thanks for all the info. I hadn't thought about indie bookstores. I've also tried WIX in the past, but I find it very difficult. Anyone know of any other easy-to-use website creators?

Both blogger.com and WordPress.com have free options.

Go create a free account at both just to play around and then use one of them.

Do Not Use Wix. It sucks. There's no way to backup your content, for instance. There's no way to export your content. It's difficult to link to a specific page.

Keep in mind that middle grade books are mostly bought by schools and libraries and parents.
 

The Second Moon

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Both blogger.com and WordPress.com have free options.

Go create a free account at both just to play around and then use one of them.

Do Not Use Wix. It sucks. There's no way to backup your content, for instance. There's no way to export your content. It's difficult to link to a specific page.

Keep in mind that middle grade books are mostly bought by schools and libraries and parents.

Thanks. I'll check those sites out when I have time.
 

The Second Moon

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I decided to go with blogger. It's free and easy(-ish. Much easier than WIX, I mean). Which were the two features I was looking for. Thanks for suggesting it, AW Admin.
 

The Second Moon

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Ugh. I don't know if a website is a good idea anymore. Everyone I know IRL is saying not to do it because I won't keep up with it or it's not a great marketing technique. Plus the thought of blogging is now making my stomach hurt. I hate listening to negative voices (particularly mine) but I just can't help it.
 

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It's a marathon, not a race. (((hug)))

I see very few sales from my website. But it's still a place for me to promote 'stuff' and keep a blog and a newsletter sign up. There's some free content there, world building stuff, a couple pieces of fan art. I've done a few podcasts (three or four now) and they go onto the website. It's a place for me to compile and build. Build, build. Marathon, marathon.

Keeping it up? That happens occasionally, not often. I think I pay some amount for the domain name, and there is no way I recoup my expenditures in book sales off the website.

So. Marketing? Keep expectations low, and do whatever gives you joy. There are 2000 new self published books on Amazon every single day. I did swing by a few indie bookstores and meet the owners and so on. I gave them free signed copies. Again, not too many sales from that, but a few, but again--part of it is meeting the people in the book business, and building relationships.

Good luck.
 

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You don't need to blog at all.

What you do need is an informational page that shows your current published work, with links to where it can be purchased.

Anything beyond that is entirely optional.

Buy a domain name (they're cheap; pretty sure I pay about $15/year for mine), and set up a static page with blogger (or whatever platform you choose). Have your book front and center. You can include some biographical information if you want, but the page should be about what you're selling.

Keep the page up to date with your published work, and you're fine.

Now, you can do more than that if you want, but it's difficult to know if it's going to help you at all. In general, people suggesting doing what you're comfortable doing: don't make yourself blog if it's not your thing; don't tweet if you don't like Twitter. Essentially: Be professional, and be yourself.

And it is indeed unlikely a web page is going to move the needle for you sales-wise. But people who hear your name will expect to be able to google and find you.
 

indianroads

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As a certified 'old fart', I don't Insta-grump or twit at people.

I do have a website though - and publish something new on it monthly. I have a short story of the month (currently though, it's the first chapter of my newly released book), and there are updates on my writing, and sometimes trips I take on my motorcycle.

I also have a Facebook author page - and that works just ok... I have ~300 followers there.

I self publish on Amazon, so I advertise there... because it makes sense - people go there to buy books, so they've already taken the first step, I just have to entice them to pick mine.

Building an audience takes time - so be patient, and write more books.
 

Marissa D

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Marketing for MG is hard. Publishers can do it because they have the relationships and the sales reps for the school and library markets where most MG books are sold.

If you don't want to maintain a blog, don't. If you're not enjoying it, it will show...and besides, why make yourself miserable? But maybe investigate the popular MG group blogs and start "making friends" there by commenting regularly and participating in a genuine fashion (i.e. not being creepy or constantly plugging your work); that might lead to being able to do guest posts or even joining the group. And yes, a website is a good idea, but it doesn't need to be constantly updated or fussed with: a simple, professional-looking page with info on your work and contact info is quite enough, as lizmonster said.
 

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Coming from someone who has little experience in this, but I was looking at famous author websites, and most of the MG ones targeted parents. I think targeting parents in your case would be easier than targeting kids since adults use social media where your age group (8-12) isn't allowed to. (Although I'm sure some don't follow that rule).
 

The Second Moon

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So, I've been thinking (like starrystorm said) maybe I should target the parents, like maybe on Instagram?

How does that sound?
 

Marissa D

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Not to beat a dead horse, but I would really, really urge you to go back and read the link AW Admin posted above. Effective marketing and promotion targeting aren't about hunting, about going after people; they're about drawing people to you. Part of that is having info about your book(s) available, but it's mostly about being a person with interesting, amusing, helpful or useful things to say. It's about cultivating potential buyers and readers. How will you plan to use Instagram for that?

Also, an even more important pool of potential readers and buyers is librarians, school librarians, and teachers. Books are important to them.
 

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So, I've been thinking (like starrystorm said) maybe I should target the parents, like maybe on Instagram?

How does that sound?

Bluntly put, it sounds like spam.

Look. If you're self publishing you do have be your own marketing and sales force. But you don't see big 5 publishers of Middle Grade books "targeting" parents the way you seem to be thinking.

Who are your favorite Middle Grade Authors?

Go look at their Web site and social media.

What do they do?

Where do they do it?

How do they do it?

That said, there's good reason why very few Middle Grade authors self-publish.

* Libraries, schools and parents buy most middle grade books.

* Generally speaking, libraries aren't going to buy a POD book; the don't have the kind of quality production values (at the level of printing and binding) that will stand up to library and kid use. A library book is expected to be borrowed and read many times. Like 20 or more. POD books just aren't up to that.

* Middle grade readers generally aren't reading ebooks.

So you need to concentrate on content, on the book. On the story.
 

MaryLennox

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Ugh. I don't know if a website is a good idea anymore. Everyone I know IRL is saying not to do it because I won't keep up with it or it's not a great marketing technique. Plus the thought of blogging is now making my stomach hurt. I hate listening to negative voices (particularly mine) but I just can't help it.
A website is a great landing page, but you don't necessarily need to be blogging if it's not something you feel up to. Personally, I don't blog because I can never think of anything I want to write about and doubt anyone cares to read it, lol. I don't read/visit any author blogs...But I will visit author websites for basic information about their books, especially if it is a series.

I think the main things for a website would be a page a about your books (synopsis/where to buy/etc), a brief page about yourself, maybe include that you're happy to do school/library visits > so you should also have your contact information readily available. Most websites have a "contact" page you can set up. You can also use your website as a way to have people sign-up for a possible newsletter. I do a newsletter, but only send out 3-5 a year. I don't want to feel spammy.

Since it's a mg book, I like the idea the other poster suggested about having related games and activities that correspond to the book. Does the book have any illustrations? I've done one picture book and a fun giveaway at events was clouring pages of illustrations from the book. You could have the same thing as a download on the website. Just an idea!

Good luck! And you can also play around/tinker with the website. If something is not working, you can take that part down. If you think of something months later, you can add it, etc.

And boo to the IRL peeps being negative. Do what you want! At the end of the day it's your book/platform, not theirs.
 

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The best way of knowing what to have on your website is to simply visit your favorite authors' websites and see what they have on theirs.

For an MG book, your best bet is to reach out to school teachers and librarians and send them a pitch which includes what your book is about and why you think kids would really enjoy them. Include bonuses like a reading and discussion guide and let them know that you would love to do school visits.

This author https://www.wingsofebony.com/educators has hands down the *best* marketing technique I have ever come across for kidlit. She is such a powerhouse and I am in awe of her. There is a whole section on her website for educators, and teachers love her, for good reason! If I had the time and the energy, this is the kind of marketing I would do for my YA and MG books.
 
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