Austin SCBWI writers and illustrators gathered to learn and share tips about speaking, booking events, marketing and career strategies on Feb. 25 at our Marketing Boot Camp. As well as presentations from local and far-away experts, attendees and faculty participated in group brainstorming sessions to extend the ideas they learned. Each was also given a goal sheet to fill out and take home to guide them on the next steps for their own careers.
Here are some highlights from the day:
Teaching about booking speaking engagements, author and The Booking Biz owner Carmen Oliver advised attendees about organization and to be well-prepared, with everything they need for a presentation in a bag always ready to go. For example, keep a flash drive with the presentation slides, remote for slide advancement, any props, fliers, postcards, bookmarks, etc., all together and handy.
Authors Cynthia Levinson and Lindsey Lane and author/illustrator Shelley Ann Jackson discussed the lessons they learned from speaking coach Margaret Keys, as well as from their own experiences. Tips included that audiences trust a speaker more if the speaker moves and smiles, and knowing your presentation so you don't have to read is key to being comfortable and successful.
Speaking via Skype, Curious City owner Kirsten Cappy told attendees that it's never too late to market a book. Create games or activities around your book that librarians can play with children. Have discoveries made in the game lead back to unlock extra material on your website. And include social media sharing information on all your materials.
Author P.J. Hoover moderated a panel with authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Chris Barton, Jennifer Ziegler and Shelley Ann Jackson on Career Strategies and Tips for Long-Term Success. Among the strategies they suggested were reading the books of the authors you admire in order of publication date and seeing how they progressed in their skill and career. Support other writers and illustrators by going to their launches and write down your takeaways from their presentations. Write articles for publications such as The Horn Book to gain exposure as someone who can deliver a keynote address. And look for opportunities where you can join with others for joint marketing efforts.
At the end of the day, the brainstorming groups shared their tips, including: the importance of enewsletters, start marketing locally and move outward, and partner with others on panel proposals for conferences.
Attendees and faculty alike said Austin SCBWI's Marketing Boot Camp was an informative and inspirational day, and they left feeling supported and ready to move to the next level of their careers.
Thank you to everyone who participated! We look forward to the next one.