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And this little piggy went to market…

Posted by on June 21, 2010

Two of my fabulous writing friends and critique partners are giving away signed copies of To Find A Wonder along with other fabulous reads like The brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner at Laura Pauling’s blog and Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rules by Cynthia Lord on Kris Asseslin’s Blog. Check them out!

If you’ve come over from Laura’s blog welcome and here’s the marketing post I promised.

So, marketing has fallen into the hands of us authors. I don’t think anyone could refute that point. Unless your name is….well, you all know who they are. So, how do you put your own talents to work for you?

Thinking out of the box is scary sometimes. People might think you are crazy…or possibly brilliant. For my To Find A Wonder book launch party I could’ve chosen any of the marvelous independent bookstores in our area, but I went with Wingdoodle, a creativity store in Warner, NH instead. Why not a traditional bookstore? Because a big part of my marketing plan was to use my other talents to market my words.

And what are those other talents? I create sewing pattern for fantasy creatures and characters (see my Dragon Charmer page) and I had created sewing patterns for the main characters in my book. I hoped to hook those sewing pattern fans into wanting the story to go along with their creations and readers into wanting to create their own characters with the patterns. I think I’ve been fairly successful in this endeavor and the kids (and their parents!) love to see the characters in 3-D when I visit schools and libraries. I’ve had many moms and grandma’s buy the book and patterns together with the intent of making the characters for their grandchildren.

So, that is one way in which I used my other talents to market my words.

Even more exciting is the fact that I used my writing ability to script my book into a play. It was pretty easy, the worst part was the formatting! But if your story is already written it’s very easy to script it. Here’s what it looks like:

–The beginning of the Book–

Whooping a victory cry, Mortimer dashed around the muddy contest field. He jumped onto the split rail fence and addressed Sir Emberly, his liege knight. “These men are but pups, Sir Emberly!”
Mortimer twirled off the fence to meet Will, his next challenger. A powerful stroke sent a jolt through Mortimer’s arm but he followed through with another thrust, and then threw his elbow into his opponent’s stomach.
Will crumpled to the ground gasping for air. Mortimer turned in a circle, his wooden practice sword raised and ready, heart thumping in his throat, but not a single competitor was left standing.
Sir Emberly nudged his palfrey, steering her from the vantage point on the hill. The knight’s mouth set in a grim line, his knuckles white-gripped the reign.
…tub of lard…always bossin’ me about…if only I could carry a knight who didn’t weigh as much as his armor…
Mortimer grinned despite the sour look on Emberly’s face. If only the other squires could hear what Emberly’s horse thought of his rider the way Mortimer could.
“Shall I be dubbed a knight now, Emberly?” Mortimer asked eagerly, shaking his bobbed red hair. Being a knight was the only thing he ever wanted. The only dream he ever had. “No squire compares to me, with sword or lance, I dare say.”
Sir Emberly’s lip curled as he shifted in the saddle. “You dare too much, Mortimer.”

–And here is the beginning of the play–
Act one, Scene one


Castle grounds

Opening Song—To be a Knight (Mortimer and other Squires)

At rise:
The castle squires are practicing sword play during the opening song. During the course of the song squires fall out, nursing injuries. The defeated squires throw dark looks and scowls at the three squires remaining in the fight at the end of the song.

Mortimer: These men are but pups, Sir Emberly! (Twirls to meet Will, the only remaining squire to beat)

Will: I’ll show you who’s a pup! (Sir Emberly approaches the field while the two boys spar. Mortimer beats Will easily.)

Mortimer: (turning to Emberly) Shall I be dubbed a knight now, Emberly? No squire compares to me, with sword or lance I daresay.

Emberly: You dare too much, Mortimer.

Mortimer: I am the best fighter you have. Why do you not present me to the king for knighthood?

Emberly: You may be good with a sword and a horse, but are you a leader of men? Would they follow you into battle? Give their lives to protect yours? Believe in you above all others.

Mortimer looks at the other squires, they all shake their heads

Emberly: There’s your answer. (he turns to go, the other squires snicker and follow)

okay– as you can see everything is pared down to bare bones. Most of the dialogue has stayed the same, but there has been an addition. Because Will doesn’t show up much in the book he doesn’t have any dialogue, but for the play (actually it is a musical), he needed some. There will be small changes like that. It’s kind of like the show don’t tell rule in writing. What an actor can show you through action or movement on stage, he doesn’t need to talk about. But at other times there needs to be dialogue to point the audience to look in the correct direction or to smooth an action sequence back into dialogue.

The third way I’m marketing my book–thanks to the Fabulous Kirsten Cappy at Curious City was to make up an event kit. This event kit uses the knowledge I gained while writing my book. In every story, even fantasy, there are things in which we writers have to learn about in order to make the story ring true. For me, it was learning how boys became knights and the code of chivalry. I used this insight to create A Knight’s Event kit that stores, libraries, Renaissance faires, etc. can use to promote books about knights and chivalry. Any book, not just mine–but in the hopes that they would buy some copies of To Find A Wonder to use at this Event. I already have three libraries and two stores that will be using the kit this summer and I put it up two weeks ago.

Something else I did for teachers was to create some classroom activities they can use. This helps promote the book for classroom use.

So, what are you going to do to market your words? What other talents do you have that you can use to help promote your book? I’d love to hear your ideas!

2 Responses to And this little piggy went to market…

  1. kris

    Hi Jen! *waves*

    Cool marketing ideas– I’ve got some marketing ideas for my book…hopefully I’ll need them soon… 😉

  2. Laura Pauling

    Great ideas, Jen. I can’t wait to see the play!!!

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