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Musings July 2008

Marketing and Promoting a Picture Book – One Writer’s Journey




Kim Chatel, a rising star in the world of literature, has recently had her first picture book, Rainbow Sheep, published by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP). The quirky, delightful story is beautifully presented, and complemented by illustrations created from Kim’s own fiber art.


When I asked Kim why she chose the small but fast-growing GAP, Kim said, “That's like asking ‘Why did you pick this lottery to win?’ - especially for a first time picture book author.”


Like all clever writers, Kim did her research first. “I checked out their catalogue before submitting and I was impressed by two things. First, they have a diverse range of topics and lines of books including the Academic Wings (which Rainbow Sheep is published under) and Angels to Angels (which is books by kids for kids.) Second, GAP publishes eBooks, print books, CDs, and flip books. Since I've joined the list of authors, they've also added DVDs and are looking into other avenues such as translations. I think this progressive attitude is very important for modern publishers to become successful.”


Kim found her publisher, Lynda Burch, open and supportive. Even though the company’s relatively small size means authors are responsible for all promotion, Lynda backs her authors’ efforts. A friendly and helpful community of GAP writers shares ideas and promotions. As Kim says, “We realize that when one GAP author does well, it reflects on all of us.”


Before she began promoting Rainbow Sheep, Kim read as much as she could about marketing plans, and then formulated the Marketing Plan Overview, below.



Rainbow Sheep Marketing Plan Overview


Press Materials:

Tip Sheet: Cues about what is interesting in this book

Background articles (for blogs): Research history of felt. Find other simple felt ideas for kids

Press Release

Sales Handles: Includes, blurb, hook and bio

Pitch Letter: For demos/signings at stores


Signings and appearances: Local bookstores, libraries, elementary schools, craft fairs, fiber festivals, spinning stores (teach felting), conventions


Internet Marketing:

Group blogs

Radio interviews

Book reviews

Author pages to update:  Jacketflap, Shelfari, Author’s Den, 

Book awards (New Covey Book Cover award, Moonbeam award)

Book trailer for YouTube and similar sites



Kim Chatel Website Update:

Optimize search engine submission

Contest: Free sheep music box drawing (for children’s writing contest)

Create page where children can send in pictures of their felt sheep.

Put up a “Contact Me” page for school/library readings.

Add article on felting

Online Press kit


Promo Materials

Large copy of book cover (mounted on foam core)

“Signed by Author” stickers

Postcards (with ordering info and book formats)

List of felt suppliers

Freebies to give-away at signings: felt sheep (with adoption certificates) & soaps, felting kits, bookmarks


Send Press Release to: Local media (newspaper, radio), craft stores, art schools, local parenting magazine, PA arts council, local pediatricians & dentists (offer free book for waiting rooms)




Create an email database for mailings: Use addresses from raffle of felt sheep music box


How-to Video: Create a video about making a sheep. Have it burned to DVD and then make a YouTube video with music, book cover etc.


Groups to join:

Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (for local contacts)

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators



Big Mouth List: Celebrities who might be interested in the book


Next, she began implementing her plan, much of which is ongoing. She added other aspects, like “…craft fairs, a buy page for my books on my site, and a postcard mailing to fiber stores.” She also learnt to take advantage of Google alerts. “When I get an alert for ‘needle-felting’ I leave comments on other people's blogs. I don't hard-sell my book in these comments. Instead, I invite them to my site to watch the movie of me making a felt sheep. This technique has led to several book sales and invitations to review the book.”


Kim used Amazon to promote her book. She asked several reviewers to post their reviews at Amazon, added photos from inside the book to ‘customer photos’, and gained Amazon approval to add the trailer for Rainbow Sheep to the video review section. Most exciting of all, Kim found the secret gateway to the Amazon Blog. “This is such a well guarded secret, I felt like Indiana Jones cracking a long lost code to get in. It's like they're testing you to see if you're worthy of being an Amazon connect author. You seek out the trail to the sign up page and then jump through all their various hoops to join. And woe to the author who doesn't bookmark that sign up page, because you'll never find it again! But I did it, and I have my first blog up on the Amazon Rainbow Sheep page.”


Rainbow Sheep is available for sale on Kim’s own site as well as at Amazon, Ficitonwise, Barnes & Noble and Guardian Angel Publishing. To make the buying process safe for her customers, Kim used the Paypal check-out cart. She explains, “I've had a business account with Paypal for some time because I used to have an ebay store for my felt ornaments. I’ve always found Paypal trustworthy and helpful. It was a very simple process to set up the check-out carts.”


A visit to Kim’s site ( ) showed me the results of her hard work and creativity. The site is uncluttered, fast-loading and easy to navigate. I could link to reviews about her books, enter a contest to win a Rainbow Sheep music box, or discover more information about felting if I’d already bought the book. Kim has certainly added value for her customers and deserves her great success.



Quote of the Month


Author Jonathan Coe when asked; Is there a secret to writing?

(read the whole interview:,,2289815,00.html )



Have you been to these sites?


Galavanting Online Women's Travel Magazine

Call for Submissions

Pays $50 published essays; $15 travel tips & blog entries


101 Useful Web Tools for Writers


Brio Magazine

Seeking short fiction up to 2,000 words to suit teenaged girls. Romance stories, sibling rivalry and situations faced daily by teen girls are especially welcomed. Brio’s target audience is teenaged girls from 12-15. Brio & Beyond’s target audience is older teenaged girls from 16-19.

Pay: between 15 and 35 cents per word, on acceptance.


Glass Woman Prize

No fee. Deadline September 21, 08

See details and former winners at link above.




Until next time…

Write on!