On December 1, the SCBWI will throw its first ever Book Launch Party. Three launch parties will follow in 2016—Spring, Fall and Holiday. Our Book Launch Parties will provide a special forum for SCBWI members to publicize, promote and sell their new books. For a $25 fee, you can purchase a page, design and individualize it yourself, populate it with photos, videos, reviews and even a contest. Your page will put forward what you’d like viewers to know about your book. Every launch page will feature a BUY button where viewers can connect to Amazon, Indie Bound or your website to buy the book.
Creating this Book Launch Party initiative is a radical step for SCBWI, an authors’ and illustrators’ organization. But we felt the time had come to do it. The children’s book marketplace is full of high-quality first-rate books that never achieve the success they deserve. The SCBWI will now include in our mission statement the goal of helping our members increase recognition and sales of their work. Our community needs to come together to help creators have their work discovered and find a way into the hands of readers.
Even though marketing dollars for children’s books have always been modest, publicity and marketing were the responsibility of the publisher. Well, those were the good old days and they’re gone. Today, we are expected to have a social media presence and platform. We are busy blogging, tweeting, instagramming, skyping school visits, forming marketing coalitions with colleagues, conducting real and virtual tours—an endless variety of tasks to make our books known.
Publishers still do what they can, but often their marketing budgets lean to high profile authors, high concept books or lead titles that are pre-destined for success. If your book isn’t one of those, you have to be The Little Engine That Could. That goes double for independently published authors or those published by a small or regional press. Sustaining a career in children’s books requires marketing know-how, gumption, and commitment to the process. That’s a tall order, and hard to accomplish on your own.
Enter the SCBWI Book Launch Parties. We have created a space where ALL our members can launch their books. You design the page, make it your own, and fill it with personality. On December 1, it goes up on our busy SCBWI website. Our job is to drive traffic to the site. We will contact bookstores, libraries, community and parent groups, newspapers, bloggers, and trade associations. We will advertise on Facebook and other media platforms. Our goal is to make SCBWI’s Book Launch Parties a destination for buyers to discover new books—to discover YOUR book.
It is said that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” By banding together for our Book Launch Parties, we all benefit. Every book, whether it be from a best-selling author or a brand new illustrator, gets its own page. There is power in community, and together, we can turn a ripple into a wave.
I hope that if you’ve had a book published in 2015, you will create a Book Launch Party page. (LOG IN to scbwi.org and click MY BOOK LAUNCH PARTY on your profile page.) If you have a book coming out in the spring, sign up for the Spring Book Launch Party as soon as it’s available.
If you don’t have a book coming out, then come and visit the parties. Don’t worry, we’ll send you an invitation soon. Look for it! And come visit again and again. Buy books. Support your community! Remember, we need to be the rising tide that floats ALL our books. All books matter.
Lin Oliver is an author and Executive Director of the SCBWI. She and her partner, Henry Winkler, will be launching two books in the December 1 Holiday Book Launch Party.