I’ve been thinking about this recently. I had a book out last year and, while it sold some copies, it didn’t break any records if you know what I mean. Now I’ve got some friends (yes—I have friends. You're jerks for thinking I didn’t.) who have books that have been recently released and I want to support them. These friends include fellow D2PB bloggers Barbara DiLorenzo and Patrica Keeler. (See — they’re friends!) I’m trying to take what I learned from my first book release and apply those lessons to them. This list is, by no means, exhaustive. I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten or things I just haven’t figured out yet but here’s what I’ve got:
1)Buy the book.
DO IT (if you can)! I try to support all my friends in their endeavors. Which also means I end up buying a bunch of books. I will say, sometimes my wife looks at me funny (not ha-ha funny) when I’m making a huge book purchase —mainly because we’ve run out of room to put them. If that’s something you're not able to do, go grab it from the library and read it over and be proud of your friend’s accomplishment.
2)Talk to the library.
|Pretend those are books in her hands instead of shampoo.|
If you live locally and can attend a launch party or a book signing, do it. Your author/illustrator friend will be so pleased that you did. I mean it. There were people that showed up to some of my events that I hadn’t seen in years and it meant more to me than I know how to communicate. You do not have to buy a second copy. I promise. I’ll also add that we’ve all had the book event that no one shows up to and deep down inside, it can be heartbreaking. Don’t do that to your buddy. Bring your kids. Sometimes, there are even cookies. COOKIES. Who doesn’t love cookies?
4)Talk it up.
Tell your friends and loved ones and people on the street about this book. Lend your copy out to friends with kids. Word of mouth really helps with these things and people love a book that they have some connection with — however tenuous it is.
|I can't help it. That's my face. I was born that way.|
Do post about your pal’s book on social media. Hold up the book and take a picture with it or a shot of your kids reading it. Or repost a great review from PW or Kirkus. Don’t cram it down people’s throats. Sometimes a pic and a blurb are enough.
6)Talk it up - Internet Style - Part Two.
If you've got a blog or access to a blog, do a post about your amigo’s book. It can help. Most kidlit blogs are great sources of knowledge and can also be a cornerbIock for building great kidlit communities. I will say, however, that sometimes I feel like we’re just selling to ourselves. I think the things we see again and again on kidlit blogs sometimes have little bearing on what the outside world is seeing. But I digress.
I actually think this one might be the most important and it probably takes the least amount of time and effort. Go to amazon.com and goodreads.com and any other review site, and review your friend’s book. Go give them 5 stars and write a nice description of why you love it. These reviews and rankings can be so important to sales and noticeability. We can argue over the finer points of these things another time. There are always going to be jerks who write really crappy things and troll a book with 1 star so be the other end of the spectrum and bring the average back up. It’s emotionally gratifying for your author/illustrator friend to read too.
|3 Stars isn't awful. Those are some of my fave bad reviews for Mr. P.|
There’s always more you can do but I think that’s a pretty good list to start with. Be proud of you friend. You all know that making a book is hard. Spread the word and I’m pretty certain that your friend will do the same for you when your book comes out. And go support my friends and review Patricia’s Lizzie and Lou Seal and Barbara’s Renato and the Lion. And if you’ve got another free second, go review Mr. Particular. It’s never too late.
By day, Jason is an emmy nominated set designer for television, with credits that include Harry, The Meredith Vieira Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Late Show with David Letterman. By night, Jason is an author and illustrator of children's books. You can find his debut picture book, Mr. Particular: The World's Choosiest Champion on shelves in bookstores everywhere. See Jason's work, both illustrations and set designs, at www.jasonkirschner.com . Follow him on instagram @jkirsch118.