[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_title size=”2″]THE BACKGROUND[/fusion_title]

CanaryCANARY by Rachele Alpine will be released in August 2013. DISCLAIMER: Rachele has agreed to be featured in today’s Marketing Monday, and she may or may not use any of the ideas below. Upon request, she provided a few key images, quotes, and themes from the book as thought starters.

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Offer up ideas and suggestions that Rachele could use to help create buzz for CANARY leading up to the book’s launch. See the description on Goodreads.

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The best marketing ideas are tied closely to the audience and the product that you are trying to market, especially when it comes to a product launch. The marketing tactic should make you think of the product while appealing to the people you are trying to reach. This is the lens I use when developing a marketing plan for a book.

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Rachele shared some of the themes of CANARY, and this book sounds like one that libraries would adore. Bullying and slut shaming are just two of the issues that the novel will touch on, and librarians and teachers are looking for books they can use to generate discourse with teens. Issue books frequently find their champions through educators, and I would recommend that a good portion of Rachele’s marketing efforts be targeted toward them.

Outreach and Community Service

One of the reasons that authors often write an “issue” book is because a particular social issue has touched them in a genuine and deep way. Rachele’s book may be helping certain organizations get the word out about issues that they care about. These organizations are often looking for creative ways to advocate their causes, and there might be opportunities for them to work together. I would suggest reaching out to a few of these organizations with a brief synopsis of the book and information about the launch. Rachele could hand out pamphlets at her events or otherwise help spread the word about the organizations. She could use her social platforms to spread the word about their events. In exchange, the organizations may be able to spread the word about CANARY to their audience. Rachele mentioned that “speaking up no matter the cost” is an important theme in CANARY. There are several non-profit charities and organizations that promote teens finding their voices or girl empowerment (see here for a list), and they might be able to work together. Note: I only advocate this as a marketing tactic if the author and organization share a genuine desire to help the cause or issue that the book tackles. There has to be a symbiotic relationship here, and I would NEVER suggest “using” an organization where you did not share a common goal.

Library Contest

Libraries are forever short on funds and in desperate need of books. Rachele could run a contest for libraries, offering her book and swag packs as a prize. Another prize could be a Skype visit. To get more mileage from a contest like this, she could partner up with other debut authors or “issue” book authors to create a more appealing prize package. The hardest part about a contest like this is promoting it, though, so be aware that could be a challenge if you don’t have some librarian influencers in your sphere. More authors in the mix could help aid in getting the word out.

Library Outreach

If Rachele has the money, she might want to buy a mailing list of teen librarians. She could do a direct mail postcard to these librarians, promoting CANARY. If she’s working with a smaller budget, I would suggest sending a mailing to her local librarians at the very least. Rachele mentioned that she has extra ARCS. I would suggest putting an offer on the cards to indicate that the first “X” number of people who contact her will receive an ARC (or she will pick them from a random drawing). The cards could also be used to promote the above contest.

Teacher’s Guide

A teacher’s guide is a good idea for a book like this that could be used to generate discussion in a classroom. To make your guide more useful, it’s smart to align it with Common Core curriculum standards. If you don’t know what this is, try to find a high school English teacher who can help explain it to you. Or, if you are lucky like I was, hope that you have a friend with that expertise who you can bribe to do your guide. Here is the example of what I did for IF I LIE. Sites like www.teachingbooks.net compile these guides for teachers to find and use. Publishers also like to promote these guides on their sites.

Prepare Workshops

One way to promote your “issue” book is to be able to speak and educate people about the topics in your book. Rachele might prepare a couple of versions of a talk that she could give to classrooms, libraries, or at conferences, especially conferences targeted toward librarians (ALA) and English teachers (NCTE/ALAN Workshops). She may want to send panel proposals out to various conferences.  She could also build up cred by writing informative blog posts around her book’s subject matter.

Swag

Since a major theme of the book is about speaking out, I think a good swag item would be one that encourages and reinforces the theme. The main character in CANARY keeps a blog where she posts “TODAY’S TRUTH.” A notepad could be branded with the book cover and encourage teens to write their own truth.

A more unique item (that takes a little work) would be to buy rolls of chalkboard contact paper. This can be found in bulk rolls. Sheets could be cut into smaller squares (think a size that would fit on a locker door) and stenciled at the top with “TODAY’S TRUTH.” A sticker of the cover or the title and author’s name could be applied. Teens could stick these up in their rooms or lockers to give voice to the truth of what they are going through. The “chalkboards” would be easy to mail flat in envelopes, making them cheap to ship – a plus since swag can get very expensive. A larger, framed version of this might be a good prize for a library. They could post this in teen rooms.

Blog Tour

Since Rachele’s character keeps a blog in the novel where she explores “TODAY’S TRUTH,” Rachele might consider keeping a similar blog, or begin to post the “truth of the day” at the top of her regular posts. To expand this into a blog tour, she could invite author or blogger friends to write their “truths” on different days, or write about the “truths” they confronted as teens. A contest could be attached to this to give away ARCs.

Party Idea

The canary is a symbol in the book, and Twitter seems to be a natural tie-in. On her launch day, Rachele could ask people to tweet their teen “truths” using #canary.  She could have friends help her transfer these to signs to use at her party. If the library has technical capabilities, she might use a site like VisibleTweets.com to screen or project the tweets against a wall throughout the party. Teens and party attendees could tweet during the party and see their tweets pop up on the wall, giving an interactive feel to the party. This also ties back to the idea of speaking out, a theme in the novel.

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I’ve worked in marketing for ten years, and prior to that, I was a graphic designer for eight years. The first Monday of each month I will discuss different marketing tactics for publishers and writers. Some weeks I will be preparing case studies of new releases and offering up launch solutions to help spark ideas for authors. If you are a debut young adult author and would be interested in my services, please use my contact form to let me know.

Have a question? Let me know in the comments![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]