Writing, designing and illustrating Penguins Can’t Fly was easy and fun, at least compared to the marketing, promoting, and selling part of the process. Since the beginning, I knew that the bulk of the latter was on us, not the publisher. This is something that few authors grasp.
You see, with all the books that they publish, there are only so many resources a publisher can put behind a first-time author. (Technically, I am not a first-time author, with four books and several thousands of copies sold, but I AM a rookie when it comes to the traditional publishing game.) St. Martin’s has invested a considerable amount of money in making this a full-color, hardcover book, and for that I’m super grateful.
Since the day we signed the contract, Kim and I have known that creativity is our number one asset when it comes to promoting this book. Especially since we don’t have a ton of A-List blogger friends or a boatload of money to invest in marketing.
A few months ago, one of the women on our marketing team sent us a list of potential bookstores where she could arrange book signings. Although you might consider book signings to be exciting and glamourous, I can assure you that unless you are already famous or have a relatively large online following, they look something like this: you are sitting at a table with a stack of your books. What seems like a thousand people walk by without even a glance. One person stops, picks up your book, puts it down, and walks away, without a single word. Another person stops to ask you where the bathroom is. Finally, another person stops and buys a book. This person is either a) your mom or b) your dad.
So yeah, sign me up for a few weeks of that. Not.
In any case, when you write a book about breaking rules that don’t exist, you kind of put a bit of pressure on yourself to not do things the way they are always done. [Read more…]