Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stirring Up the Snakes Book Marketing Brainstorm

Rattlesnake Jam
Written By: Margot Finke

Illustrated By: Award winner Kevin Scott Collier


Website: Margot Finke’s World of Writing for Children
http://www.margotfinke.com

Margot’s Books for Kids + Writing Help

http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/

Hook Kids on Reading

http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/

Email:

mfinke(AT)verizon(DOT)net

Always happy to chat about books & writing


Author Bio:

Margot Finke is an Aussie who writes mid grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.

Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Husband Alan is supportive, though not interested in children's books. Their three children are now grown and doing very well.

Early on, a great deal of writing help and mentoring came Margot’s way. Payback for this comes in the form of her Website, her 2x Blogs, and her Musings Column. As well as promoting her children’s books, all four sites offer lots of free advice and guidance for beginning writers. “I am always thrilled when a critique client of mine has one of their books accepted.”

“You are my Heroes!”


Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.”

“You are my Heroes!”






RATTLESNAKE JAM


ISBN – eBook: 13: 978-1-935137-24-5

ISBN – Print: 13: 978-1-935137-00-9

Format: Picture book for ages 4 – 9 years

A good choice for “reluctant reader.”



Rattlesnake Jam is a rhyming romp, with crazy old Gran and Pa arguing over how to cook up the rattlers he catches. Gran wants to boil and bottle them into her cure-all Rattlesnake Jam, but Pa longs for a rattlesnake pie. Suggested age for readers 5-12 especially boys.



Book Review –

by Mayra Calvany –for Blogcritics.com

Rattlesnake Jam is a hilariously funny children’s picture book about an old couple who share an irresistible affection for rattlesnakes. There’s only one problem: While Pa would rather have the rattlesnakes turned into fritters or pie, old Gran prefers them turned into jam… disgustingly green, sweetened, gooey rattlesnake jam!

Colliers’s colorful, wacky illustrations complement Finke’s humorous rhyme perfectly. Gran is grossly comical with her toothless grin, warts, bell pepper nose, and tough exterior. The reader will feel sorry for Pa, who seems completely under Gran’s control. The book has 28 pages in all, and each story page has an illustration with a short text at the bottom—a two or four line rhyme, like this one:

Drop in chunky slices, stir well with a spoon.

Add mysterious spices! Gran hummed a wild tune.

The way to Gran’s heart was through rattlers galore—

Making rattler jam bubble, ‘till it flowed on the floor.

The song-like cadence will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Snakes are reptiles that inspire both fear and fascination, especially in children, and it was clever of the author to use them as victims instead of villains in this book. This is a fine addition to Finke’s series of rhyming books about animals. Whimsical and amusing, Rattlesnake Jam is one of those books young children will beg their parents to read to them again and again.




Book Marketing Brainstorm


Blogs, Websites & Magazines to Advertise and or Review Books
  • Blogsites that focus on books for boys
  • Magazines that target boys
  • Camping magazines
  • Parenting magazines

Stores & Places to Stock Books for Sale
  • Natural History Museums
  • Rattesnake Round Ups (Many states in the midwest & south hold them). Stores in those areas
  • Zoos
  • Snake houses - recreational places
  • Visitors bureaus & camp site stores, in areas known for having rattlesnakes

Website Promotion Tools
  • Downloads - tip sheets on rattlesnake bite treatments, venom uses, history exercises on snakes veneration and uses in societies
  • Free temporary Tattoos for SASE
  • Look at boy scout badges & see how to market books to them
  • Contest giveaway - rubber snakes, snakes in a can gag, snake key chains
  • Rattlesnake trivia
  • Rattlesnake links
  • Contest - for anyone that can send in a receipt for purchasing a book enter their name in a drawing
  • How to make a snake charm craft, salt dough recipe for making a snake, make a snake from Dad's socks..
CAN YOU THINK OF ANY OTHER WAYS FOR MARGOT TO PROMOTE HER BOOK? LEAVE A COMMENT & SHARE.


COMING SOON... COMING SOON




Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind
By Margot Finke

Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind – A young girl gets all bent out of shape when her family move far from familiar places and friends.







Monday, July 13, 2009

LICK YOUR LIPS.......RATTLESNAKE JAM

Rattlesnake Jam
Written By: Margot Finke
Illustrated By: Award winner Kevin Scott Collier


ISBN – eBook: 13: 978-1-935137-24-5

ISBN – Print: 13: 978-1-935137-00-9

Format: Picture book for ages 4 – 9 years

A good choice for “reluctant reader.”



Rattlesnake Jam is a rhyming romp, with crazy old Gran and Pa arguing over how to cook up the rattlers he catches. Gran wants to boil and bottle them into her cure-all Rattlesnake Jam, but Pa longs for a rattlesnake pie. Suggested age for readers 5-12 especially boys.



MARGOT FINKE
Website: Margot Finke’s World of Writing for Children
http://www.margotfinke.com

Margot’s Books for Kids + Writing Help
http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/

Hook Kids on Reading
http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/

Email:
mfinke(AT)verizon(DOT)net
Always happy to chat about books & writing


Author Bio:

Margot Finke is an Aussie who writes mid grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.

Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Husband Alan is supportive, though not interested in children's books. Their three children are now grown and doing very well.

Early on, a great deal of writing help and mentoring came Margot’s way. Payback for this comes in the form of her Website, her 2x Blogs, and her Musings Column. As well as promoting her children’s books, all four sites offer lots of free advice and guidance for beginning writers. “I am always thrilled when a critique client of mine has one of their books accepted.”

“You are my Heroes!”

Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs.”

“You are my Heroes!”


Interview with Margot Finke


Aday: Rattlesnake Jam is a delightful book. What spurred the impulse to write it?


Margot:

It was a crazy idea that came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep. Inability to sleep is the cause of many book ideas I have dreamt up over the years. The darkness and quiet somehow jolt my muse into overdrive. I always keep pencil and paper handy in the upstairs bathroom. . . just in case. No good letting those wacky ideas slip away at dawn, now is there?



Aday: Have you run any contests with prizes for Rattlesnake Jam? If yes, can you describe the guidelines and awards?


Margot:

No, I have not run any contests as such. However, when anyone buys one of my books from my website, I autograph it, and include a link to an AUDIO of me reading that book + the illustrations. I have a series titled “Wild and Wonderful,” of rhyming books about animals from the US and Australia. They are fun as well as educational. I often offer a link to an AUDIO of me reading one of these stories as prizes. I have done this for those who offer comments when I am interviewed, or when I am interviewed for various Blog Talk Radio segments. Each of these books include 3 different stories, and if people like the one they hear me read, they often buy the whole book – this also entitles them to the complete set of AUDIO readings for that particular book.



Aday: I know one of the marketing tools was a promotional video preview. Where do you post them? Why did you choose to use one?


Margot:

The latest technology sells books, and book trailers are the big thing these days. They grab reader interest, and offer sound and movement, something a mere synopsis can’t. I have a book trailer for “Rattlesnake Jam,” made and designed by the very talented Kim Chatel. It has music, and is a great “tease.” I plan on having her make a trailer for my next book, “Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind.” This should be out soon. The illustrations, by C.T. Snider, are a treat to see. That pink Hippo on the cover steals the show!!



Aday: Did you set out to write a book to attract reluctant readers and boys? What can a writer do to appeal to this demographic?


Margot:

My son was a reluctant reader as a child, and I had come to realize that books boys are happy reading need to be very different from those we write for girls. That testosterone, and the macho thing boys have going on, demands fast action, bathroom humor, fun adventure and yucky stuff. The odd frog dropped down some girl’s back is also a winner for boys. Keep the frills and girly stuff for girls. Boys WILL READ if you find them books with boy-type action and adventures. “Rattlesnake Jam” is meant to HOOK young male readers.


You really have to forget the estrogen you came with, and borrow a little testosterone, if you want to write books that HOOK boys. About 95% of those who write terrific fiction for boys are men: they have what it takes, mate. No borrowing the big “T” is needed. Learn the art of making gross underarm sounds, the finer points of bathroom humor, and the need for lots of fight-or-flight scenes. Cultivate the tension of narrow escapes, and being chased and almost caught by a variety of large animals, outer space critters, or bullies who make your life miserable. Fast-and-furious is the name of this game. Give the dialogue a “boys rule” flavor.



Aday: The coloring sheet, rattler eating poll and verbiage on your website seem designed to pull a kid’s interest. Was it? Why did you choose to do that instead of the parent?


Margot:

I did it this way, because I felt “Rattlesnake Jam” could be read by young grade school boys for themselves: a first reader perhaps? And the sheer audacity of offering rattler recipes would hopefully intrigue parents. And what second or third grader doesn’t like coloring? Coloring the characters makes the story more personal. It gives kids a real stake in the plot. I have come to realize that you also need to appeal to the parent as well. After all, they are the ones with the money. If Mom hates snakes, I guess a sale is pretty iffy!

The truth is, that grown people in some places do hunt, cook and eat snakes, plus lots of other critters that city dudes might throw up about touching, let alone eating!! I have eaten snails, and snake – taipan in Australia, one of their largest and most venomous snakes, and I am still here to tell about it. No sweat, as the Aussies say!



Aday: Why do you participate in blog book tours? How do you get your prospective patrons and not just other writers?


Margot:

My experience shows that Blog entries and virtual book tours don’t necessarily translate into big sales. However, they do get your name out there into the buying public’s realm: especially if you use Facebook, Twitter and such, to promote your Book Tour or Blog entry. This is called “Branding” – associating your name in the public mind with whatever you are promoting: children’s books, manuscript critiques and help for writers, like myself, or any other commodity or service you might offer.

And yes, we writers do tend to Blog to the converted – other children’s writers. Best results come from broadening your scope to include, home schooling parents and the magazines that cater to their needs. School districts and libraries, + searching various groups on Facebook, and other Social Networking lists, and targeting likely ones. This all takes a huge amount of time, but it can eventually have a sales payoff. And it certainly Brands your name as a writer of books for kids.



Aday: What has been your most successful (greatest # of books sold) book signing/author visit/speaking engagement? What did you do, how many books did you sell, what was the occasion and why do you think it was so successful?


Margot:

In the past, school visits have been the most successful venue for me. Kids lap up the fun and information in my “Wild and Wonderful” series of books, about animals from the US and Australia and I sold dozens of books. My PowerPoint presentation shows all my books, sounds each animal makes, plus specially tailored writing lessons for older grades. I loved visiting schools.


However, the economy in Oregon tanked just after “Rattlesnake Jam” came out. School funding where I live dried up, and independent bookstores closed in droves. Oregon is the second hardest hit state in the union. On top of that, my arthritis has made it hard for me to move around, and stand for very long, further hindering promotion. So now I am experimenting with ways to promote my books via the Internet, and through my well known website and my two blogs.


With this in mind, my latest Blog, “ HOOK KIDS on READING,” is geared to parents, and people who want to buy books for the kids in their lives. I want to reach more home schooling parents, and other places where the book buying public visit. I know this will be a long haul, but I have to tackle the areas of promotion that are open to me.


* WEBSITE - My Books, Critique Service and Help for Writers: http://www.margotfinke.com

* BLOG #1 – Margot’s Books for Kids + Writing News: http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/

* BLOG #2 – HOOK KIDS on READING: How to find or write books for boys and other reluctant

readers: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/


Margot: Aday, thanks so much for hosting me here. Your questions really had me scratching my head.


Aday: I would like all visitors of my blog that are interested in designing a kid friendly and attractive website to look at Margot’s website. It’s a stunning example of what an author can do to achieve this type of design?

Thanks for sharing with us. I hope everyone has an opportunity to run out and get a copy of Rattlesnake Jam to read. If you write in rhyme it serves as an excellent example of how to do it well and if you have children your bookshelves will not be complete without a copy.


IN THE NEXT POST ON JULY 16TH ABOUT RATTLESNAKE JAM FIND SOME MARKETING IDEAS & CONTRIBUE A FEW OF YOUR OWN.