Thanks for your great feedback on Part 1. Now, for Part 2 of The Whole Megillah’s cyber-roundtable of authors who have successfully been using social media to promote their Jewish children’s books.
- Laura Toffler-Corrie, author of The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz (Roaring Brook Press, 2010)
- Steve Sheinkin, author of the Rabbi Harvey series (Jewish Lights)
- Shirley Vernick, author of The Blood Lie (Cinco Puntos Press, September 2011)
- Ellen Bari, author of Jumping Jenny (Kar-Ben, 2011)
- Shevi Arnold, self-publishing Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey
The Whole Megillah (TWM): What is your attitude toward Facebook?
Steve Sheinkin: A great way to get out little bits of info/links quickly. When I meet people who like Rabbi Harvey, I can direct them to his page to watch out for updates, online comics, etc.
Shirley Vernick: I love Facebook – and even if I didn’t, Facebook is where it’s at. Almost everyone I know personally and professionally has a page. You can communicate both en masse and one-on-one so easily, it’s a natural venue for book marketing.
Ellen Bari: I have tried to focus on content that relates to the book- making a difference—tikkun olam, health, jumping—as opposed to just shameless self-promotion. I also use it for listing my events, and have a link from the website to the Facebook page, and post photos from the events on the Jumping Jenny fanpage. The jury is still out about its effectiveness for picture books where the primary readers are not using Facebook yet. I will be using it for contests and pogo stick giveaways.
Shevi Arnold: I love Facebook. I’m friends with over 1,600 writers, illustrators, editors, agents, librarians and other people interested in books.
TWM: What is your attitude toward Twitter?
Laura Toffler-Corrie: I think Twitter can be an amusing time waster for many people, but for those of us in the children’s book world, it’s a great tool to connect up and chat with others in the industry, learn about events, make internet connections and share thoughts, etc.
Sheinkin: Never done it. Hoping not to.
Vernick: Twitter is a new frontier that I haven’t yet started to explore.
Bari: Twitter is a wonderful way to get segmented information from trusted sources, and to share information accordingly. I also think it’s an invaluable tool for getting to know the industry from the inside out, agents, editors, etc.
Arnold: I like Twitter chats for writers, like #kidlitchat #yalitchat #writersroad and #askagent. Other than that, I hardly use it at all. Still, I have over 1,000 followers, and I’m following over 1,400 interesting people.
TWM: What about the blogosphere? Did you actively seek interviews? Book reviews? Which blogs served you the best?
Toffler-Corrie: I have been interviewed and reviewed in and around the blogosphere. I think the key is to get a sense of what sites and reviewers are suitable for your book and how many followers they have. I’ve done Q and As for a few bloggers who are just starting out and have very few followers, but they were enthusiastic about my book and I wanted to give them a chance. I recently did a Q and A for two people who found me on Goodreads. One interview generated a lot of new friend requests on FB. The other was a teenager who lives in Britain. She wrote me a lovely review which gave me an opportunity to promote internationally. My book was reviewed by Barbara Krasner on her blogsite, The Whole Megillah.
Sheinkin: I’ve found it really helpful and fun to draw short online comics, and use them to promote my Rabbi Harvey books. Rather than wait for interviewers to come to me, I do comics in which Harvey reviews books and interviews writers: two recent ones were Gary Shteyngart and Ilan Stavans. These have been posted on JBooks, the Forward website, and other places.
Vernick: Yes, I’ve just started seeking blog reviews/interviews. I’m targeting Jewish-specific, as well as general interest, young adult literature blogs.
Bari: I am beginning the process now. I have had a few reviews, but have not pursued the book bloggers yet. The book was released right before Purim, and the Jewish reviewers were focused on Purim and Passover books.
Arnold: I will be actively seeking book reviews and interviews once my book is out, which should be soon.
We’ll wrap up this cyber-conversation with Part 3, addressing Jewish media, measuring success, and advice to other authors. Stay tuned!