Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hop! Plop! - Life of a Picture Book, Part IV - Birth and Early Years

Hop! Plop! hit the bookstores on April 4, 2006. (nearly three years after getting our contract) Up until this point, pretty much everything went well. There were some minor glitches... oh, such as losing two editors along the way. But for the most part, we were pleased. Walker had given us a double page spread in the Spring catalog and we had received favorable reviews in all the major journals. We were sure we'd fly off the shelves.

When it came to writing, we had good instincts. When it came to submitting, we had the necessary knowledge (from simple research). When it came to marketing... we had zilch.

We had no skills and no clue what to do. I also, due to two very young kids and a recent move, had no local contacts and no time. So, essentially, we just did nothing and hoped for the best. For those of you with a book coming out, let me tell you, "This is NOT a good strategy!"

We sold 5000 copies in the first three months! We were ecstatic. What we didn't know is that after three months, bookstores return all unsold copies. Even if stores sell out, they do not reorder. Our sales ground to a halt.

Publishers are not kidding when they say that it is up to authors to promote their own books. If you are reading this blog, hopefully you also visit resources like Market My Words which are full of info and ideas on how to generate book buzz. If not, start now!

13 comments:

Shelli said...

Thanks Corey :)

Kelly H-Y said...

LOVE hearing the background behind the publishing of your wonderful book! Thanks so much for the fabulous information and advice!

beth said...

That was so interesting--and you're right, Market My Words is brilliant!

Rebecca said...

Corey, I can't wait for you to have a chance to market your next book!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Wow, it's amazing what you learn along the way. At least next time you'll be better prepared, and you've helped the rest of us, too!

Sheri said...

That's great! Congrats! You write with Becky, right? Was this book also written with Becky?

Z-Kids said...

Wow - did the book originally have a different illustrator then? And, 'two years into the process'? I'm lucky if I get more than a two month deadline when illustrating a book.
Z-Dad

Sue Eves said...

Thanks for your comment on Candy Gourlay's interview with me on 'notesfromtheslushpile'.

You are absolutely right. The same happened to me with the first picture book I wrote and illustrated. I knew nothing about children's books (I came from children's theatre and TV) and thought the publishers did everything. I vowed that I would be active in the publication of my next book - to be published 5th Feb next week!

I am the author of my second picture book, The Quiet Woman And The Noisy Dog (illustrated by Ailie Busby) and I have been working hard to tell everyone about it.

Now I know why publishers don't organise book launches for all their books - it's so time-consuming.

Thanks, I'll look at Marketing My Words!

Sue Eves said...

or should I say:
Market My Words!

hytime said...

Hi Z-Dad. I probably should have explained. My editors began a search for a new illustrator, but a few weeks later, Olivier Dunrea reconsidered and "unquit." It was very frustrating for Walker but it all worked to in the end.

Corey Schwartz said...

D'oh! That last comment was from me, obviously. (I'm visiting and i didn't realize I was signed in as my dad)

taralazar said...

Oh Corey! We didn't discuss marketing on Friday! I have ideas for you! We need to make another date, just you and me (and the kids, of course)!

Like Becky said, I can't wait for your next chance to market a book. I'm sure it's coming soon.

The Book Chook said...

Is it too late for Hop! Plop! ? Walker books are now sending me any books I ask for, to review, so I will check their catalogue to see if it's there. Meanwhile, would it be any use getting Walker to send any copies out to reviewers? Or are there now no copies? I am getting books sent to me from Aussie authors that were published not recently.