It may be June and this week may have had some of the hottest days on record but today I've been thinking about the snow and sparkle of Christmas. Last year I 'soft launched' our first independently published picture book Angel's Great Escape: A Christmas Story. I treated the experience as a bit of a test run as I wanted to see how the CreateSpace print on demand model worked and to gauge reactions to the book. It's my first foray into the independent print publishing world and I wanted to make sure I was producing a professional product that 'stood up' in the marketplace.
I was really pleased with the results so this year I'm being a bit braver and would like to share the book with more people and to really start showcasing And So We Begin as an independent boutique publisher. Part of the reason I love independent projects is that I can have a go at everything, I can learn lots and be really proactive. But one of the most important lessons I've learned is when to recognise it's time to bring in the professionals! For example, engaging Kristyna Litten to illustrate Angel's Great Escape at a time when I was only just starting to draw and really couldn't translate my ideas to the page. Or working with a professional book designer who could bring her experience to the page layouts and word design to make sure the pages were consistent and eye-catching.
So now, when I think about how to approach PR and marketing for the book this Christmas, I know that someone with knowledge and experience will really give the book a boost. Especially in such a busy Christmas marketplace. I have approached a small number of book bloggers before but found I was too late for their schedules and had no real idea what was meant by book blog tours or who accepted free books and who didn't. So, this week I'm excited to say I've engaged a freelance children's book PR and marketing professional. We had our first planning chat today and within five minutes it was very clear what he could bring to the process. He'll be working on approaching book reviewers and bloggers from midsummer to ensure we have a good chance of being featured at the right time for Christmas buyers and advising me who to approach to offer the book as a competition prize to attract more readers.
I have to confess, it's really nerve-wracking thinking about sharing the story more widely and more openly when it's been such a labour of love. But I'm focusing on how exciting it is that the book will be seen by more people than ever and I really hope Angel's Great Escape will make lots of little ones feel super excited about Christmas this year.