Friday, January 27, 2012

Illustrators Intensive - John Rocco - New Methods for Promoting Your Book

David Diaz introduces the still-high-on-Caldecott-fumes John Rocco as our first speaker for the morning!

He's got some great tips for illustrators. The first few might be tough to do, though:

John Rocco's Self Marketing & Promoting Your Book in Three Easy Steps

1. Win a Caldecott
2. While waiting for step 1, add the word "licious" to the end of your title
3. Change your name to Mo*

And while you wait for the legal name change papers required for Step 3 to be approved, why not spend your time making promotional materials that shine instead of researching the yacht you will buy with your Caldecott royalties? If you have a new book coming out, here're a few things John does right off the bat:

Step 4. Make a website! Put your new book on it!

Step 5. Create a book trailer. John has an entertainment background, so he thought he could "make the hell out of a trailer!" But bells and whistles aren't always what make for a good trailer. He shares two with us. John says the trailer for BLACKOUT is the simplest trailer he's ever made, and it's really stunning:

John says to make a trailer all you need are Photoshop and iMovie, or a flip camera, or your iPhone—simple(ish) tools that most illustrators have access to. (The FLINTHEART trailer was made using AfterEffects.) Licensing the music in FLINTHEART cost John $35 and Candlewick did reimburse him for it.

Put your trailer on your web page, but not just a Quicktime movie, make sure it's the Youtube version so it can be shared. iMovie exports directly to Youtube.**

Be sure you put your web address in the trailer itself as well as its release date, people will want to know where to see more.

He talks about Step 6. Branding, Step 7. Making your own promotional materials, and Step 8. Doing themed events or group events.

Step 12. My favorite takeaway from John's talk: is the free takeaway. He prints out really lovely one-sheets with a short bio as well as images of his book covers and info about each of them, plus his web address. John knows there is a lot of pressure at book events for people to feel like they have to buy a book to get to talk to the author/illustrator. John provides these one-sheets for people to have something to come up and get from his signing table, and who knows, maybe someday they'll buy a book because of something they saw on that one-sheet. And there are rare instances when your books AREN'T at your scheduled book event, so it's a great thing to have something to give the audience.***

Thanks, John!

*But not if your last name is Lest.
** And space.
*** Other than your spleen.

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