What to Expect When You’re Promoting: Why a First-Time Author Changed Her Expectation

I’m a proud, picture book mommy. This means that you’ll most likely see me (a) squeal at the sight of my book, (b) pass off a copy to family, friends, and anyone within arm’s reach, or (c) smell my new book’s smell, often. This picture book is my baby, and I’m in love. Aren’t you in love, too? I know. You’re probably not... GIVEAWAY: Gina is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: DebbieL won.)
Author:
Publish date:

I’m a proud, picture book mommy. This means that you’ll most likely see me (a) squeal at the sight of my book, (b) pass off a copy to family, friends, and anyone within arm’s reach, or (c) smell my new book’s smell, often. This picture book is my baby, and I’m in love. Aren’t you in love, too?

I know. You’re probably not.

(Click here for a list of picture book agents.)

GIVEAWAY: Gina is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: DebbieL won.)

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Guest column by Gina Bellisario, author of several forthcoming picture
books. Her debut book, THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN ILLINOIS
(Sterling Children’s Books), was published in October 2012, followed
by four titles in the series, Cloverleaf Books ™--Community Helpers
(Millbrook Press). The titles are set for publication in February 2013.
To learn more about Gina, her books, and her upcoming promotional
events, visit her online at www.ginabellisario.com.

Being a new author, I thought the opposite. I figured others would embrace what I’d created. I had this expectation with the birth of my twins, then again with my very first book. It has Ferris wheels, a true ghost story, Midway monsters, and sock monkeys. And who can resist an adorable monkey face?

So when I set out to promote THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN ILLINOIS, I did with my expectation in mind. I planned to show it and say, “It’s arrived! Check it out!” and my contacts would be openly enraptured. If I heard dulcet angels at the sight of its cover, it’d naturally happen for everyone.

(Will a literary agent search for you online after you query them?)

Call my feeling, new author instinct.

I went ahead and paraded a copy around. I visited booksellers and stores with an Illinois interest, and I spoke to relevant parties across the state. I shared the title, the book’s premise, and a joy that felt catchy. “Go ahead. Take a peek,” I offered onlookers. They’d hold it and see it was meant for great things. I was sure as I stood there, tall and gushy. But as they turned the pages—those precious, happy pages—I heard:

“Okay. Come back when our event coordinator is in.”

or…

“Send us a review copy. Thanks.”

It wasn’t “Sensational!” or “Wow, cool!” or “Everybody, come look!” It wasn’t a gasp to catch an overly-eager breath. Instead, their response was all business, a business about money, and delighting in my book was not part of that. They were book buyers, I had to remind myself. Every book costs them something to carry. So I passed along my card and thanked them for their time. Then I smiled, first at them, then at my book. I was still a proud author, but I quickly had to realize that no one could feel my same pride. They couldn’t about what they didn’t create.

(What are overused openings in fantasy, sci-fi, romance and crime novels?)

It struck me that I had to change what I expected. I could continue to promote, give the release date and that, but I’d have to accept a reaction other than mine. I had to quit with the baby pictures and chill.

Now when I stop in a store, I’m a different kind of mommy. I’m relaxed about the response towards my picture book. Sometimes, I’ll get someone who refers me to someone else. Other times, I’ll get a question about cost. The responses aren’t meant to celebrate my happiness or what I’ve written. They’re meant to conduct business, and that’s okay.

But then there are times I hear:

“Awesome! This book is great!”

or…

“Fantastic! We’ll do a signing.”

or…

“My daughter loves sock monkeys. How adorable!”

And to hear that I couldn’t be more proud.

GIVEAWAY: Gina is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: DebbieL won.)

2014-childrens-writers-and-illustrators-market

Writing books/novels for kids & teens? There are hundreds
of publishers, agents and other markets listed in the
latest Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.
Buy it online at a discount.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

Novelist Rebecca Hardiman gives us an insight into the obstacles that cropped up for writers at the start of the 2020 global pandemic.

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

Mystery and crime novelist Russ Thomas explains how best to create a police procedural that will hook your reader and keep them coming back for more.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 560

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an alien poem.

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

Shakil Ahmad provides the top 3 things he learned while co-authoring the book Wild Sun with his brother Ehsan.

Viet Thanh Nguyen | The Committed | Writer's Digest Quote

WD Interview: Viet Thanh Nguyen on The Committed

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses the challenges of writing his second novel, The Committed, and why trusting readers can make for a more compelling narrative in this WD interview.

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

In this post, Dinty W. Moore shares what inspired his most recent book To Hell With It, what lesson it taught him, why writers should have fun with their writing, and more!

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

In this post, Arisa White shares how she was able to piece together her past with her present, how some works freed her to write, and more!

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.