Aiming High and Aiming True: Finding Your Book’s Audience

by Allison Pottern Hoch

WHILE WORKING ON YOUR BOOK, you probably imagined your ideal reader. Maybe an eager young bookworm so drawn into your story they miss their stop on the subway. Or a retiree relaxing by a pool, cracking the spine on your newly minted tome. While this is a great tool for crafting your novel, when it comes to marketing, you need to think bigger. I guarantee you have other readers beyond that ideal, readers you may have not even thought about yet. The key, of course, is getting those readers to show up.

If you read my first post or attended one of my workshops, you’ll know how strongly I believe in preparation. When it comes to marketing yourself, it’s important to have both realistic expectations and a sound plan. Knowing your desired audience before you lift the phone to make a cold call is critical. “Readers” or “fans,” even “children” or “adults” isn’t sufficient. In pitching yourself to any venue or media outlet, they’ll want to know who is going to tune in and how many.

Audience is key to everything: it’ll help determine the best venue, event style, promotional partners, and event date and time. Most books have more than one audience; that’s representative of a rich and varied narrative, bravo! But trying to aim for all those different audiences at the same time, while not impossible, can stretch you thin. By identifying the key audience for an event or marketing strategy, you are focusing and amplifying your energy to reach those specific readers. You’re designing a program in which a consumer can easily see themselves and their interests. And if you know who you’re marketing to, your venues and media outlets will too.

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Stealing the Cat: How My Theft Led Me to The Writers’ Loft

by Lisa Rogers

MY CONNECTION TO THE WRITERS’ LOFT began when I stole Heather Kelly’s cat.

I didn’t intentionally commit a crime: my husband, daughter, and I were on our daily hour-and-a-half walk with Tucker, our 90-lb. Treeing Walker Coonhound. After our Dalmatian nearly had his ears cut off by a cat crouched in some bushes, we’d been wary of letting this dog nose his way into shrubs. So when Tucker’s sniffer started eye-deep into a patch of greenery near a baseball field, we pulled him back.

What was in there turned out to be Heather’s cat, Jelly.

I’m allergic to cats, but my daughter isn’t, and she reached in and snatched up a beautiful calico female. We figured she was lost, so we took her home and safeguarded her in Tucker’s never-used crate.

Days later, I connected with Heather, and she claimed Jelly as her own.

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Anticipating My First SCBWI Conference

Eager but anxious, this first-timer will rely on The Writers’ Loft light-blue lanyards to find family.

by Cathy Stenquist

I WAS NOT OFF TO a good start. I had forgotten to scribble the SCBWI conference registration date on my calendar and to pre-read the course guide. I quickly ran downstairs to the computer, sure that it was too late. Missing the sign-up meant I’d need to wait till next year; but on the other hand, I could save some money I really didn’t have. That honestly didn’t sound so bad.

Then I had a second thought…I had worked hard over the past couple of years to learn about the craft of writing picture books. I knew deep down that I should go, that I was ready to go. Continue reading

Book Clubs—Not Just for Adults or Bookworms! A 7-Year Kids’ Book Club Veteran Shares Her Best Tips

by Wendy M. McDonald

IN 2010, AS MY DAUGHTERS finished first grade, I realized there was a huge difference in their reading abilities. Hermione was a voracious, confident reader, but Luna clung to Picture1.pngher step-one readers. Witnessing her twin zip through the Geronimo Stilton series and anything else she could find, Luna felt jealous and more than a little hopeless. She had
a collection of books she wanted to read, but was too afraid to try. The letters were too tiny. There were few—or no—illustrations. The long blocks of text may as well have been Mt. Everest.

I decided that not being able to read at grade level—yet—was no reason for Luna not to enjoy the stories that interested her. I would read to her, and she could read ahead whenever she wanted. But wouldn’t it be even better if a bunch of Luna’s friends read (or heard) the same book and I got the kids together to talk about it, just like a regular book club?

If you’d like to start your own kids’ or teens’ book club, I offer these tips based on what I’ve learned during my seven years leading a successful group. Continue reading