Taylor Rogers is the Publicity/Promotions Assistant at Charlesbridge, and she is in charge of promoting my books. She first contacted me in November of last year, with a general email offering to help authors and illustrators set up bookstore and library visits to promote their books.
I replied, telling her what I was already doing to get the word out (sharing my creative process, which includes reading from my books, whenever I do art workshops in school classes) and the contacts I had. I sent her a list of bookstores I thought might be likely venues for book readings/signings, and I told her my travel schedule as far as I knew it and asked if she could set up events for me at those destinations.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that Taylor has really been on the ball, scheduling me for quite a few bookstore events, including ones in NC, LA, and NY. I have also continued to book events on my own whenever the opportunity arose.
Taylor and I converse regularly through email. Although we’ve never met (yet), we are developing a great working relationship. Here is an excerpt of an email she sent me after I reported back about reading to only one child at the bookstore in Durham, NC:
“First of all, let me just tell you how much I love the book you have coming
out in spring '09! Our spring launch was Wednesday and your book drew oohs and ahhs from everyone in the room. I've been a bird watcher all of my life and recently started getting more serious about it (i.e. I've purchased bird feeders and a field guide) although Boston's not quite a birder's paradise. Anyway, the book looks beautiful and I can't wait to help you publicize it. [It’s comments like this that make me so glad to be working with Taylor and the other folks at Charlesbridge.]
I am so glad that you came away from the [North Carolina bookstore] experience with a positive attitude. But you're right! Getting to know booksellers and getting them to carry, remember, and even recommend your book is so important. I hope that none of your future events are quite so small, we'll try to avoid that from now on. Sending the bookstore a list of contacts in the area is always great, or emailing the contacts yourself can be even more effective, especially if you ask them to forward it to anyone they know who may be interested. . . . Also, don't be afraid to walk into any bookstore and introduce yourself. If you woo the bookseller they may order the book or remember you with future books. If they already have books on hand, ask if you can sign them. This will encourage them to possibly place them face out, or with a sign that says ‘autographed by author.’ This is especially great to do near the holidays. “
Isn’t that great advice? Perhaps I’ve heard it before, but I heard it from Taylor in a way that sticks.