I've been thinking a lot about book marketing lately, and what actually "moves the needle" in terms of selling a children's/YA book to a customer. So I thought I'd survey my readership and ask: When you're standing in the bookstore or sitting at your computer on a bookselling site, what makes you actually purchase a book? (Beyond the title, cover design, and flap/descriptive copy, of course, as I take it for granted those need to be great; and friend recommendations, as those can be personalized to you.) I don't expect anyone to answer all of these questions, but just to list some things I'm curious about:
- Are you usually buying books for children in your life, or for yourself?
- Do you pick up a book because you've seen a great review? In that case, what sources (which blogs or publications) matter most to you as a reader? Do you pay attention to user reviews or stars on Amazon.com?
- Do you watch book trailers? Why?
- Do you ever click through banner ads for books? On what sites do you notice them?
- Do blurbs matter to you?
- Do awards matter to you? What about lists? (E.g. Horn Book Fanfare, Texas Bluebonnet List)
- Given the small world of the kidlitosphere: Of the last ten books you've bought, how many of the authors did you actually "know"? (Meaning you've had some substantive contact with them either online or in real life.)
- If you pay attention to buzz, at what point does that translate to your seeking out a book? When it's everywhere? When the right person says it?
- Which of these factors -- again beyond the title, cover, flap copy, and friend recs -- has the MOST influence on you as a reader?
- Opening it up: Given our limited budgets, what should publishers be doing that we currently aren't doing in order to market books? Are there places we should be advertising to reach kids or teens? Media we should be in*? Cross-promotions we should be seeking out?
Thanks for sharing!
* Writing this, I suddenly had a vision of a video game in which somebody sits down and reads . . . but then the camera dives through the book, and you participate in the marvelous adventure in that book, until that comes to an end, and that tired protagonist sits down and opens a book . . . and then the camera dives through the book, and there's a completely different protagonist and you have to win through THAT adventure, which again would conclude in a book. . . . It would be the If on a winter's night a traveler** of video games! And awesome.
** Though I guess the TRUE Ioawnat video game would end each level with the protagonist sitting down to play a video game, thus keeping the loop going. And also there would be meta-commentary on what you-the-player would be doing between levels. This also sounds awesome.***
*** Now someone will tell me this video game was actually created in 2002. Go ahead, spoil my dream.