3 S.R. Johannes: Marvelous Marketer: Ingrid Law (Newberry Award Winning Author of Savvy)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Ingrid Law (Newberry Award Winning Author of Savvy)

Hi Ingrid, Thanks for
joining us
today. Before we get started,
could you tell us a little bit
about yourself?

My first book, Savvy, was released in May, 2008, from Dial Books for Young Readers (a division of the Penguin Young Readers Group) in partnership with Walden Media. I am represented by Daniel Lazar at Writers House in New York. Savvy has earned both a Newberry Honor Award
and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor,
and has spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Savvy was voted one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of the Year (2008) and chosen by Booklist as one of the Top 10 First Novels for Youth (2008).

Do you have a website/blog ? When did you start it and who manages it?

I have a website and a blog. I use my blog more as a tool to share things with and by my readers, and less as a social networking tool, so I do not enable comments.

But one of the things I love to do most is to share drawings, videos, and stories created by young readers. I love it when kids answer the question: What’s your savvy? And do so in their own creative ways.

I started both my website and my blog several months before the book came out.Penguin Young Readers Groups has also created a terrific Savvy mini-site . This site contains a downloadable discussion guide, wallpapers, and an exclusive ‘origin story’ for the family in Savvy.

Walden Media also has a wonderful, playful site where readers can listen to the first chapter of the audio book, play games, send postcards, and find even more downloads.

In your opinion, how important is social networking ?

I think a lot might depend on one’s audience and one’s personality. For the adult and young adult markets, social networking sites may be more effective than for middle grade or picture book authors. While Savvy crosses into early YA, my main audience is 4th-6th graders.

As a parent, I did my best to keep my daughter off social networking sites when she was that age, so I didn’t really feel as though I wanted to place too much emphasis on these when it came to marketing Savvy. However, when marketing a book, even if a book is aimed at young readers, one wants to reach out to parents as well.

I'm sure that some people have made a different choice.The only social networking site that I am on is GoodReads, and I’ve been surprised at how many kids reach me through that site.

Logistically, I’ve found that managing social networking sites takes up a lot of time, and time is not something I have a lot of right now. Plus, I’ve always been a rather shy person, so social networking sites tend to push me out of my comfort zone.

How important is technology to an author’s marketing plan ?

Aside from the question of social networking sites, I think technology is becoming increasingly important in the marketing of books, especially in the face of our current economy. Author tours are expensive and many authors are turning to virtual visits as an alternative. Bloggers have turned marketing into a viral phenomenon.

And one of the biggest technological marketing successes for Savvy so far has been the week-long free e-book download offered last summer, which was a factor in propelling the book onto the New York Times Bestsellers list for the first time.

What other advice do you have for authors/writers regarding marketing?

Try from the very start to find a balance between your focus on marketing and your focus on continued writing. It is easy to get so tied up thinking about the marketing of your first book that your next book, or your writing in general, becomes neglected.

For me, writing and marketing use two very different parts of my brain. Trying to do both in the same day is difficult for me. I set aside days where I try to do nothing but write, saving other days—perhaps those already scheduled with additional distractions—to work on marketing, or any other business aspect of being an author.

What creative things have you done to promote a book?

I am very fortunate to have amazing promotional backing from both Penguin Young Readers Group and Walden Media.

Because my book encourages readers to discover what is special about themselves, asking kids and adults alike the question "What’s your savvy?" has given me the opportunity to engage everyone in the creative process that I began.

I love sharing the ideas kids send to me about what their own talents might be. This has become one of the anchors on my blog. I think that any time you can engage other people in your process and invite them to be a part of it, they will respond.

Thank you for joining us today!

Thanks Shelli!


Robyn Campbell said...

Great inerview, Shelli! The week-long free e-book download was quite savvy, I'd say. :)

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

I love Ingrid! And I love Savvy! It is one of the best books for kids, hands down! I've recommended Savvy to everyone I know and peopls have all loved it. Ingrid, Summer and I are anxiously waiting for your next book!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I read "Savvy" and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I've wondered before how effective social networking can be with young readers. Just goes to show that really wonderful stories will sell based on their own merit!(And great promotional websites :-)

C.R. Evers said...

Great interview! I loved Savvy!


Kelly Polark said...

Great interview. This book is on my To Read list!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Balance is so important! This book is in my pile because I've heard so many great things about it. Thanks for the interview.

Unknown said...

Ooo, I just ordered Savvy!

Great interview! I love these! :)

Unknown said...

I loved the bit about the free download (wish I'd gotten in on that deal!)...am posting about it tomorrow!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

This is so helpful, thank you! It's so nice to read about how others get to where they want to go. So great to know about the social networking!

Anita said...

I really like the mention of "BALANCE" here...we all know it's easy to get hooked on blogging, when we really should be concentrating on writing. This is a great reminder!

Crystal said...

Thanks for the interview, Shelli! Good to know how helpful social networking can be, especially for us shy people! Savvy is on my to-be-read list.

Christy Raedeke said...

I must get this book immediately!

Vivian Mahoney said...

Another great interview! Thank you.

Deva Fagan said...

Great interview! It's kind of reassuring to see that some folks are successful even without throwing themselves madly into facebooking/twittering/etc. I love staying connected but I just can't keep up sometimes and I hate feeling guilty about it.

Thank you Shelli and Ingrid!

Casey Something said...

This book is on my TBR pile, too! So many books to read. Love it!

Another great interview, too. I love hearing about all the unique ways authors market their books!

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