Sharing the Love of a Favorite Book
Authors and publishers have a lot of work to do when a book is published. Every book needs a marketing campaign! They send advance copies to reviewers, write enticing teasers, print posters, buy advertising in magazines and newspapers, sponsor author visits, host book launch parties, and create book trailers. They also hope for word of mouth from readers, more so in the age of online networking. In fact, readers are becoming a very powerful voice in the book publishing world.
Kids can promote their favorite book, too. Sharing their love for a particular title encourages them to go back and read their favorite parts, and even read more carefully as they think about ideas to promote their book.
Begin by allowing them to pick their favorite book. Have them write about why they want to promote this title over others they have read. Why did they like it? Why do they think other kids would want to read it? These are the things they will want to think about when planning a marketing campaign.
Once the book is chosen, here are some activities that can be done individually or as teams:
1. Book Jacket Teaser
Write a blurb about the book that will make people want to read it, without giving away too much. Don’t just write, “This is a book about…” Make it exciting and suspenseful, for example, “Harry finds himself in a terrible predicament when…” Let the reader know what kind of book it is, for instance a mystery, adventure story, fantasy, biography, or historical event.
2. Campaign Poster
Design a poster, with instructions for a photograph or illustration, that depicts a compelling image that you think will encourage people to read the book. Include the book title and author, plus a blurb that you think will make the book sound worth reading.
3. Pitch it in a Minute!
What would you say to grab a reader’s attention in a small amount of time? You only have one minute, so make it good. Write your pitch, and then practice in front of friends or a mirror.
4. Character Interview
Pretend to be a book character and set up an interview. Write the interview questions and the character’s answers. Introduce the character first, then ask questions about the character’s role in the book. Again, don’t give away surprises or the ending. Ask questions that create more questions, and leave those questions unanswered. People will want to read the book to find out what happens to this character!
5. Movie Market
What would your book be like if it was a movie? Would people want to go see it or rent it? You can be the screenplay writer. It is your job to turn your book into a blockbuster movie! Pick an important chapter or scene from your book and write it as a pivotal scene in a movie. Add more dialog and action. You can even change what happens if you think it works better as a movie. Screenplay writers do that all the time.
6. Author Presentation
A lot of times, people want to read a book after they have met the author and heard him or her speak. Play the part of the author. You’ll need to do some research to find out more about the author. Why did she or he write the book? If you can’t find that out, why after reading about this author do you think she or he wrote it? Write an author presentation where you as the author talk about yourself and your book/s.
7. Book Trailer
A book trailer is a terrific way to promote a book because they are very visual, like a TV commercial. They usually consist of a series of pictures with narration and sometimes music in the background. You can create a book trailer for your book using a flip-chart or Powerpoint if it’s available. To begin, write down the key scenes that you think will most interest the audience. Then create a storyboard on paper, which is a visual map of all the scenes in your trailer.
You might begin your storyboard with a key element that will grab the viewer’s attention. Then introduce the main characters and the setting of the book. Is there a bad guy? Introduce him or her, too, and bring up the conflict in the book. Then show a few scenes, without too much detail. A book trailer is meant to leave the viewer wondering what happens next, so it’s fun to end with a cliffhanger. Don’t tell the entire story and don’t give away the ending! Finally, give the title of the book and the author’s name, also illustrator if there is one.
Next, write the narration that will go smoothly from one scene to the next. The narrator can be like an announcer, or he or she can be one of the characters. Think about what would be the most interesting and try different ideas. Now you can put together your trailer using the storyboard as a guide.
Here’s an example of a book trailer: