We are always so lucky to get Linda Sue Park to share her insight on anything children's book related, and her session on marketing is no exception! If you forgot, Linda Sue is a writer for all ages and won the Newbery for A SINGLE SHARD. She has graciously shared some great links below for everyone that couldn't attend, and below some of her personal wisdom and experience with book marketing:
The good news/bad news of marketing your own books is You Need to Do Something. We no longer live in a publishing industry/world that allows for an author to succeed by leaving the marketing solely to the publisher/publicist. BUT! Says Linda Sue, do only what you personally know you can do and what you are willing to do and that's enough.
Linda Sue talks about her early career, her first book was sold in 1997 and came out in 1999 all while she had two young children at home and worked full time as an adjunct ESL professor. She only had enough spare time for writing her next book and trying to make it better than her first, she did not have time for anything other than that. After selling the second book, the same schedule held for her third book, too, which then happened to win the Newbery...
So, crafting your next book (if you want to have more than one) is Job One. Linda Sue admits that she does now do marketing, but only what she feels comfortable doing—of all the social media she's tried, Linda Sue enjoys Tweeting the most. She's also comfortable doing school visits, but she knows any time those are scheduled will mean time she is not writing. Linda Sue's trade off means she's going to schedule as many paid school visits (don't do more than your first few for free) as she can to make it worth her time not writing. Other authors have different relationships to the school visit schedule: Some as many as they are offered because they are able to write on the road; some authors will do no more than 15 a year; some are only open to scheduling them in a certain time of year, like only the month of April. Do what you are comfortable with is again the motto.
My favorite takeaway from Linda Sue is about the true purpose of a book tour, whether paid for by your publisher or bootstrapped by yourself. The goal of a a live bookstore/library tour is NOT to sell books! It is to lavish as much love and attention on the bookstore and sellers as you can and that building those relationships is paramount.
Links from Linda Sue's talk: