Bookmarks and postcards…Oh My!

The bookmarks and post cards arrived earlier than expected!



On the recommendation of my son, I used, and I am really pleased with the products. [They really look better than these scanned images.] The process was all done online, and the company has templates that are pretty easy to use, even for me. I chose the 4 x 6 size for the postcard, and the 2 x 6 for the bookmark. The prices were reasonable, and I ordered 250 post cards and 1000 bookmarks. I could have lowered my per-piece price by ordering larger quantities, but decided not to. (I wanted to see how they came out before I found myself stuck with a a gazillion paper pieces I didn’t like.) I saved the image files, so I can reorder later.

The card stock is a nice weight and I like the glossy finish. On the back of both articles I placed “teaser” text to pique interest in the story. I’m glad I ran the draft of the designs past the marketing person at the publisher: she had me add the publisher logo and an additional web address of the parent company.

I’ll use the post cards to send to some libraries and other organizations to promote personal appearances as well as to publicize the book. Later, I’ll also use them as invitations to my book launch party for friends who may not be on Facebook (where I’ll send most invitations).

The bookmarks are small enough to keep in my pockets and purse to hand out at work, at church, and everywhere else. I’m doing a class presentation in a Children’s Lit class soon, and I’ll give them. Of course, I’ll give them out at any personal appearances I do. I may need to order more before long.

To market, to market

I’m fortunate that Kane Miller has a nicely articulated marketing plan to support their new titles, but I still need to do my part to help them do their part. I’m currently working on a media contact list of local newspapers and broadcast media who might be interested to receive press releases. I’m also making a list of libraries and bookstores who might want to receive preview copies. Since the book is set in a historical era, I’ll also compile a list of historical societies and museums which might be likely to carry the book in their gift shops. This may sound easy, but I have a very long list, and I will need to look up addresses for all of them.

I have put together images and text for postcards and bookmarks, and have placed an order with a printer. I intend to send postcards to libraries and bookstores fairly soon, in the hopes of scheduling some appearances close to Kansas Day. I expect the cards and bookmarks to arrive in a couple of weeks, so I’ll need to be sure to have my contact information and scheduling details up on the site very soon.


Next stop, Hollywood! (or maybe Wichita)

I’m excited to be working with Ken Spurgeon and his crew at Lone Chimney Films on a book trailer! We’ve been discussing ideas for a live-action short film to promote A Voice for Kanzas. To see more about Lone Chimney (and why I’m so stoked about this collaboration), go to   I plan to post more about the process as we move forward with the film. Lone Chimney has also used the talents of a group of musicians called The Freestaters. They play wonderful songs from the Territorial era, and I’m hoping we may be able to use some of their music in the trailer as well.

The last proofread…

It’s exciting to do the final proofread on a book before it officially goes to press, but also a little scary. What if I miss something? What if it’s something big? Kira asked me to look especially closely at the many excerpts from primary documents to check them for accuracy, since she and her staff don’t have easy access to those. Thank goodness I had filed the hundreds of pages of photocopies-from-microfilm of the 1855 newspapers I used. They were in roughly chronological order, so that made it easier, too.

I had a little fun with the cover art and book title page art as I uploaded them into a template for postcards and bookmarks. I’ll send out postcards to librarians, independent bookstores, and some historical sites that might be interested in selling the books in their gift shops. I’ll also use them to generate some interest for school and library visits, and maybe some other personal appearances. I’ll order lots of bookmarks to give out at school visits and other events.

I still need to add more information to this website, such as contact information and info about personal appearances. [How does a writer know what to charge for personal appearances?] I also plan to add some teacher resources such as discussion questions and maybe even a poetry unit.

I’ve been doing some thinking about my book launch party. I had hoped to have it at the Steamboat Arabia museum, but I think that will be just too expensive for me. Now my best options seem to be (1) a local bookstore like Reading Reptile [A delightful place, by the way], (2) on the Park University campus [It has wonderful historical ambiance, and the campus bookstore would handle book sales], or maybe (3) the historic train depot in Parkville [right across from the campus]. At least with option #2 I’d be close to home, the venue would be free of charge to use, and I’d be able to arrange for food and drinks myself. The only possible negative is our distance from the main part of Kansas City. But having it on campus would probably mean better attendance from our friends and neighbors who live in this area, as well as faculty, staff, and students from Park. So many things to consider.

Meanwhile, I’m now less than two weeks from the St. Louis Rock n Roll Marathon. I almost feel like I’m in training for two events at once.


Cover Reveal!

Okay, I thought I’d seen cover art with the new file of VFK, but it turns out that was actually the beautiful front page of the book. Kira sent the real cover art today, and it’s lovely! I spent most of the day showing it off to friends, posting it on Facebook and Google+, and just generally basking in the glow of it all.

My next big task will be arranging for business cards, post cards, and bookmarks with the new image.

And here it is:

A real book…and a trailer!

October 4, 2011

I received a message from editor Kira Lynn today. She was asking me to proofread the final version before it goes to press–especially the excerpts quoted from primary documents, since she doesn’t have access to those. No problem, really, since I have hard copies of all of those. I opened the PDF, looking forward to seeing the book laid out and found….


Wowsers! I love it! I’ll post it here when I have a jpeg version. I clicked through a few pages of the book and discovered the beautiful job they did with the text and visual motif. The chapter headers (all primary documents) are printed on special pages that look like old paper. Lucy’s poems and letters are set in script font that looks like handwriting. It’s all really quite lovely.

Tonight I had a great phone conversation with Ken Spurgeon of Lone Chimney Films. Ken’s film company does dramatic films based on events in Kansas history. I met him at the Kansas Sampler festival last spring and asked if he might be willing to do a book trailer. Tonight we brainstormed some ideas (we were both thinking along the same lines already), and Ken is as excited about the project as I am. Ken also knows some musicians who play music from the 1850s era, and I’m hoping to see about uploading some music to the website.

Suddenly, it feels like things are moving very quickly!

The countdown begins…

October 1, 2011

My editor tells me that A Voice for Kanzas will be available in January–just three months from now. Amazing! And suddenly my head is whirling with things to do: photos, and website, and trailer–oh my!

I was fortunate to attend a workshop on marketing for authors at this summer’s SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. Susan Raab shared many ideas with us, and her book, An Author’s Guide to Children’s Book Promotion, is an excellent reference. I feel almost overwhelmed with the tasks before me, despite my excitement and anticipation of the release of my Debut Novel (I love that phrase!).

I have procrastinated on having publicity photos taken. I have a fledgling website that needs new photos and content. I have a long list of potential sales outlets for which I must look up addresses and then send to the marketing department at Kane Miller. I need to find the perfect place to have my book launch party! I should be contacting some libraries now to line up some book talks for Kansas Day, January 29, where I can appear with books in hand. I’m hoping to see cover art soon, so that I can have bookmarks and business cards and post cards made.  And on and on…

And then there’s that marathon race three weeks from tomorrow…26.2 miles in the shadow of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.