How I Launched My Book:
Author and New Hollywood Member, Beth Navarro, writes about her journey.
I’d written a story. And now I held the finished book in my very own hands. Was this real?? This had been a dream of mine for a long time. When I found out that would actually happen, I nearly imploded. The wonderful publishing company, Be There Bedtime Stories, that had published two of my picture books as ebooks, decided to publish my book Grambo as their first hard copy book! I was beyond honored. Grambo is a story about a boy who finds out his grandma is not your average grandma. She’s a secret agent!
They worked hard on the printing end of it. As for me, my Virgo brain went into overdrive. Marketing strategy. I needed one big time. Even if you are published by one of the big publishers, authors are expected to do a lot of the marketing themselves. I had a product I was very proud of so the idea of taking this on was really fun. Not to mention this meant I could make lists. Many lists. I don’t think I did this perfectly. I learned many lessons along the way that’s for sure. But it went pretty darn well so I’d like to share what I did.
I made sure Grambo was listed on Goodreads and told my friends and family about it. I created a facebook page for my book that both the illustrator, publisher and I told people about. There we created a community that was not only for promoting the book, but a place that really got to the heart of why I wrote the book. To spread the message that grandmas are AMAZING! I wanted to build a buzz. #GramboMarch26 is the hashtag I put on creative posts like news stories of cool and Grambo worthy grandmas. I posted on FB, twitter and instagram enough, but tried not to over do it. You have to find a good balance.
I also did a giveaway on the facebook page. If they shared a photo of the Grambo cover with the launch date, they would be entered to win an autographed book. This was a hit. It was shared 54 times and reached 2,623 people.
Book Blog Tour
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that really asking for something from a place of genuine excitement, never felt like begging. It’s really inviting people to be a part of what you’re excited about. I decided I wanted to do a week long blog tour leading up to the launch. I approached blogs that I loved to read. Mom blogs, book blogs, author blogs and asked. Scary I know, but get this (And this is something my publisher told me): Blogs need content. You are filling a need for them too. So I asked. I sent them a press release and everyone I asked were happy to have me! I was so grateful. Some were interviews, some were guest blog posts about why I think grandmas kick butt and some were about my writing journey. All in all it was a great way to get some exposure and a fun way to get the message of the Grambo out there.
Launch day prizes
Because I wasn’t published by one of the big six, I felt like I need a way to make a big splash on launch day. I decided to have incentives if you bought Grambo from Amazon on launch day. The prizes were only good if they bought on launch day. Here they were:
Buy 4 or more books: You get one more book free! Plus the incentives below.
Buy three books: You get a limited edition 8X10 Grambo illustration print autographed by the illustrator plus the incentives below.
Buy two books: You get a gift certificate for one Be There Bedtime Stories ebook plus the incentive below.
Buy one book: You get a discount! (It will already be shown on the amazon link.)
This worked. This made a big splash. Totally worth it.
Reviews and Blurbs
I approached authors and reviewers I loved and respected to write blurbs and reviews. This was tough. You’re basically asking “Can you read my book and tell everyone how much you like it if you do?" Ugh. Not fun really, and though I didn’t get all the blurbs/reviews I wanted I’m humbled by what I did get.
This part was fun. Stuff to give away! I made bookmarks (mini cards from moo.com) and bookplates (stickers from moo.com). I made a summer reading program worksheet for kiddos to do and if they turned it in they were entered to win a BIG box of Grambo and secret agent goodies. I also had an educational guide created by the amazing Debbie Gonazales. It blew me away! She made Grambo Board game and everything! Literacy is very important to me so getting Grambo into schools is definitely part of my vision.
Bringing Grambo out into the world
So far I have done three book signings (one more coming up in September). That has been fun. As a former actor the performer part of me gets to come out and play. I did story time, a secret agent craft where the kids get the make badges and I signed books. I also gave away illustrator prints and books at women’s events and I’m honored to be featured at the National Women’s History Museum luncheon. If you are promoting a book or anything really, get creative. Where would your book fit in? How can you introduce it to more people? As I mentioned I want to get Grambo into schools and I’ve even approached the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. to see if they would like Grambo in their gift shop. Think out of the box!
I have to say one of my biggest thrills in the journey so far was visiting my daughter’s class (before the launch) and reading them Grambo. My daughter sat next to me during the visit and looked at me with such pride, I will never forget that. The kids asked amazing questions and I overheard a boy saying he couldn’t wait to read it with his grandma. That was priceless.
The other big moment was when my grandma, my Grambo, came to my book signing. We both teared up.
If you have a friend with a book coming out….
I was asked a few times by friends and family: “How can I help?” Here are some ways!
Buy the book. Recommend it to friends. Give it as gifts if it resonates.
Put Grambo on your “to read” shelf on Goodreads.
Like the book’s facebook page.
Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
These things go a long way in helping.
A lesson I learned from this is that if you’re proud of what you’re doing as I am with Grambo, it never feels like selling. I just want Grambo in as many hands as possible and more then that I want kids to walk away after reading it wanting to spend time with their grandmas. Theirs might not be a secret agent like Ryan’s is in the book, but they are special.
I’d like to invite you all to my book signing (and belated launch party):
Celebrate Grandmas and grandkids!
Story time, secret agent craft, photo booth (secret agent dress up!) and spectacular chocolate chip cookies
September 7th, 2014
Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee House
1010 Foothill Blvd.
La Canada, CA 91011 www.flintridgebooks.com
For kids and adults (who I know want to fulfill their childhood secret agent fantasies!)
All royalties earned from August 23-September 30th will be donated to the National Women’s History Museum.
To keep up with all things Grambo like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Grambobethnavarro?ref=hl&ref_
To keep up with all things Beth check out her website:
To download the free educational guide and for information on school visits:
*Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of the “The New Hollywood.” We are a group of shepherds, not sheep.