When you publish a book and want to bring attention to it, it’s a good idea to get some reviews and create some buzz. Traditionally, writers, publishers, and publicists target mainstream media. But, sometimes it pays to go right to the source.
As an author, I’m always trying to figure out ways to share my work with a new audience. As I’ve learned time and time again, Mommy knows best.
My storybook for children, Flightless Goose, is a good illustration of the “mommy knows best” idea. When the book was published, I not only sent the book to the usual list of book reviewers and local newspapers, but I targeted other audiences with an unconventional tie to the book as well: wildlife enthusiasts (goose tie in), automotive industry (road safety lesson), schools (anti-bullying message), disability periodicals (lessons on disability), and the likes.
Over a period of a year or so, I was thrilled to see the reviews and blurbs come in, from columns in the local papers to reviews in academic journals. Approximately 25 periodicals gave the book some “good ink,” from the community newsletter to the Los Angeles Times. We considered that a success and were happy with the coverage.
One editor who declined to cover the book due to review copy overload offered a bit of advice that proved to be even more valuable. She suggested I pitch the goose to mommy bloggers.
Mommy blogs? That was a target I hadn’t considered, but after the idea was presented to me, it seemed like a no-brainer. Who buys books for children? Mothers! What do Mommy blogs tend to do? Offer advice and make recommendations for other mothers. Who better to share a book that teaches valuable lessons to children than the mommies who blog to audiences of other mommies?
I shared the idea with my publisher and she agreed. We focused our efforts on offering review copies to popular mommy blogs.
The result? Within a few months, we’ve scored about as many positive reviews on mommy blogs as we did the previous year and a half trying to pitch to overloaded book critics and mainstream media. Since the bloggers aren’t receiving truckloads of books to choose from, and they’re not limited to a set number of column inches on the page, they’re more likely to review the book. And while it’s true that the readership is smaller, the readers tend to be engaged. Mothers who read mommy blogs tend to trust the bloggers they read. So when trusted mommy bloggers call Flightless Goose a “wonderful story” that “every family should have,” it means something to the mommy readers.
Do you have a “flightless” book for children that you’d like to see soar? A good bet is to get the support of mommy bloggers.
The same concept can work with other audiences. A book on politics: political bloggers. A cookbook: foodie bloggers. A book about keeping up with technology? Tech bloggers. The list could go on.
So if you’re looking to get reviews from a source with an active readership that trusts the reviewer, you may find that Mommy knows best.
Eric D. Goodman is a full time writer and editor. TRACKS, his novel in stories, is being published by Atticus Books in Summer 2011. Eric has been published in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Review, The Potomac, Arabesques Review, The Baltimore Sun, Slow Trains, JMWW, Freshly Squeezed, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers, among others. He regularly reads his fiction on WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR station. His children’s book, Flightless Goose, is available in bookstores and at . Visit Eric at his literary blog, http://www.Writeful.blogspot.com, or on Facebook.