Middle grade novelist and nonfiction author Timothy Tocher (Chief Sunrise, John McGraw, and Me) finds that book festivals and poems posted on his website generate the most opportunities to make connections with readers.
Tocher: “Book festivals are prime spots for meeting teachers, librarians, and parents. Being a former teacher, I love to make school visits. I've got a quirky website that has everything from poetry to book reviews. My humorous poems seem to generate the most attention with teachers and future teachers asking permission to use them in their classrooms.”
Jacky Davis (Ladybug Girl) is part of a writer and illustrator team with her husband David Soman and believes that reading aloud in group settings works the best for their readership.
Davis: “We find that book readings at bookstores, schools, and libraries are the best way for us to connect with our young readers. We do have a Ladybug Girl Facebook page and a website that has cute games and some information about the books on it, too.”
Kimberly Sabatini (Touching the Surface) has come up with her own creative way to connect with readers through libraries and schools.
Sabatini: “My favorite thing to do is to play library tag. I participated in a contest that donated a copy of my book to a school library and when I sent the package, I asked the librarian at the winning school to recommend another fabulous school to win a book. And then I do it again. It’s kind of like a game of Librarian Telephone. The nice part is that I end up with a list of librarian contacts ... It’s all about making great relationships and helping each other out. “
Like many others I came across in my research, crossword puzzle author Jeff Chen (Bridge Crosswords) thinks that his regular blogging keeps him connected with the sort of people who might be interested in his book.
Chen: “I write for a blog that gets about 2,000 visitors a day that is crossword-related. The daily blogging has attracted readers for my book, and I get to occasionally mention Bridge Crosswords when appropriate.”
Iza Trapani writes children’s books (Haunted Party) and uses several social media platforms in a tactful manner, but also remembers to notify her connections directly via email.
Trapani: “I stay in touch with my readers via social media: my website, blog, Facebook and twitter. When I have a new book coming out, I will also send e-mails to my contacts notifying them of the book release date and events I'll be participating in. On social media, I am careful not to toot my own horn too much because I think that turns people off. For every one post on my work, I will post at least three on someone else's.”
K.L. Going, who writes books for young readers of all ages (The Garden of Eve), doesn’t concern herself so much with outreach. Instead, she keeps it simple by letting her writing speak for itself.
Going: “Actually, my favorite way to reach out to my readers is through my books. It's easy to get hung-up on social media, but nothing is more powerful than the writing itself.”
I’d like to thank all the authors for contributing their ideas and to encourage our readers to check out their wonderful books. And at least for today – or rather this month – I can hold my head up and say I’ve done something to connect with a few readers!