IDEAL READER EXERCISE - This is probably the most important aspect of this whole list but the one I have the most trouble with. The Ideal Reader Exercise is a little more geared toward older readers. I'll need some time to go through it all and think like a young reader (target market 2-6). This is the first exercise I must complete before continuing with anything to ensure I've zeroed in on my target market. Complete by May 5th.
BOOK DESCRIPTION - I've read the guest post on the 30 Day Books site and realized my book description is simply a synopsis and doesn't give enough indication of the features of the book. Though I think the synopsis is effective, and a good hook, the emphasis is on brevity, and there is much more to this book than the story.
CURRENT DESCRIPTION: Lucy Snigglefritz, world-famous circus dog, is the star attraction of Amazing Avido's Circus. But when ticket sales slump, Lucy is left behind by the circus to fend for herself. On her own for the first time, Lucy sets out on a new adventure. What can a circus dog do without a circus? Maybe Sooty, a Dalmatian at the local firehall, will have the answer...
I want to mention its themes and inherent lessons for the parents/prospective buyers so they're intrigued by the educational and life lesson slant of the book. Rework by May 12th.
AUTHOR BIO - Major rework to do here too. It's a little witty and irreverant which is how I wanted it but doesn't really get down to business (at all) or talk about any credentials. Rework by May 12th.
WORKING OUT MEDIA ANGLES - My book is not simply dog-centric. Its broader themes revolve around self-value, confience, and bouncing back from disappointment. It also works on an educational level - each book features Lucy meeting a new breed of dog and finding out a bit of history about that breed and why they're suited to that particular job. I've started this list many times but in taking Laura's points into consideration, I also realized Lucy getting fired at the beginning of the story ties into unemployment woes (a major issue globally today). Some media angles I'd like to hone and pitch are:
- Dog Therapy - How Canine Companionship Benefits Humans in Distress
- A more kid-centric angle of the previous title would explore the benefits of dog companionship to children during stressful times, such as moving to a new neighborhood, starting a new school, and so on
- Working Dogs - why certain breeds of dogs are suited to certain jobs (this is very specific to what my book series explores as its educational slant)
- What Breed Does Your Child Need? Creating the perfect match between your child and their first pet by matching personality types
- Something completely unrelated to the subject matter of my book but broader in terms of its genre, the picture book - articles that examine the picture book as an art form, the nature of collaboration between author and illustratior (good opportunity for interviews here), profiles of legendary illustrators and what made their images unique
These are just the ones I've brainstormed so far. More to come by May 5th.
LIST OF DREAM COVERAGE - This could turn into a very comprehensive list as there are numerous dog websites, magazines, and blogs but narrowing them into a list of outlets that could be open to children/picture book-centric will eliminate the vast majority. This will take some research but might be sped up by getting my media angles right. Complete after Media Angles list is complete. Mid-May.
- Young children & pet blogs
- Working dog websites
- Therapy Dogs websites - usually not-for-profit
- Picture book blogs - any that specialize in animals/pet/dog themes?
MEDIA PAGE/MEDIA KIT - A much more comprehensive page is needed on our website. What we have now is very much about us and our projects but needs major revisions to be useful to media. I have many of the elements in different places but getting it up on the web will take longer. I'm also not very webpage savy as this is my sister's job (in addition to the amazing illustrations she lends our books). I won't prioritize this until just before I start sending pitches. Most likely early June
HOW TO PITCH - Once story angles are generated and I've listed out dream coverage, it will be time to hunt for names of editors. Complete after Media Angles, Media Page and Dream Coverage work complete. Early June.
TWEAK AMAZON - Lots of work to do here. We have submitted author pictures which have given prospective customers more insight into the book illustrations. First, I'll be reading about tweaking the book description. We also have a great book trailer I want to embed into the listing if possible. Late May.
GUEST POSTING - Very intrigued by this approach. I plan to watch the Kimanzi Constable video conversation on 30 Day Reads and brainstorm possible approaches to this in tandem with the research for different blogs and magazines to pitch in order to make that research more efficient.
PAID ADS - I'm intrigued by the Ereader News Today that takes a portion of that day's sales as opposed to an up-front payment. At least then you're only paying based on its effectiveness. This might be something to look into once I've broadened our distribution. We're currently only available on Amazon right now. I'd like to get onto Smashwords, Kobo, the Sony Store (the major ones) before I try this approach.
TWITTER - I tried to figure out Twitter last year but now realize I went about it all wrong. I should be approaching it in a conversational style and networking, not expecting each Tweet to sell a book. I'll dip my toes back in the water this spring. Late May.
OTHER THINGS I'VE REALIZED THROUGH THIS CLASS
Thanks to the research I've done so far on Dream Coverage, I came across several different apps that work like a "Netflix" of children's picture books. For a subscription fee, users have access to many different picture books which can be "borrowed" or "streamed" through the app. Individual books can also be purchased. I've been in touch with one of these app-makers, Me Books, and they seem open to adding us to their library. I have to take a look at the rather lengthy contract first. If it works out, this could be a great distribution opportunity I wasn't aware of before.