Swoon Reads Behind the Scenes: School & Library Marketing
Since collaboration is a big part of what we do in School & Library marketing, Summer and I have decided to team up on this blog post and tell you a little bit about what we do and how our efforts promote the Swoon brand and titles to teachers and librarians.
People often think that in order to have a place in the school and library market, their book needs to be serious or educational or teach a lesson of some sorts. While that may help with getting your book on a classroom lesson plan alongside The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby, school and library marketing is so much more than that.
As an industry we are constantly looking at how readers discover new books and time and time again we find that personal recommendations play a huge part in introducing readers to new authors and titles, and that’s what teachers and librarians do every day—connect the right reader to the right book. From graphic novels to debut authors to literary award winners, or action-packed New York Times bestsellers, teachers and librarians are champions for any and every book that enriches the life of a child. We in School & Library marketing are lucky enough to be working right alongside them in this mission. We’re in a unique position in that we get to regularly meet face to face with the market we’re serving and are able to make sure in real time that we are providing them with all the information and materials they need to connect the right readers with new and upcoming titles.
Often times these readers don’t have access to books from other sources due to geographic or financial limitations, so classroom libraries, school libraries, and public libraries can be a real lifeline for them. At a recent conference an educator came up to me in our booth and asked for a recommendation for a book that "would save a child’s life.” Maybe it’s cheesy, but I really believe that’s what teachers and librarians are doing and how awesome is it that we get to help them do it?
Now that I’ve told you a little bit about what we do I’m going to turn things over to Summer so she can give you a better idea of how we do it. Take it away!
— Katie H.
Thank you, Katie! As you can see, School & Library covers a wide range of things, so let’s just focus on two of the fun parts today: Conferences & Awards!
As Katie mentioned above, a large part of our job here in School & Library is connecting with our market of teachers and librarians directly at conferences. There are some ways we can help them from our desks, like creating teacher’s guides or sending them books, but the best way to reach them is at conferences! We attend 5-7 educator and librarian conferences a year, and each market is a little different, so there are variations, but mostly we have a booth that looks something like this:
(And we stand inside and look charming! Just like this!)
It’s a bit like working at a bookstore (which a lot of us have in the past), except that the only people who come into your bookstore are book lovers, and half of the books you can give away for free! We do bring finished copies for display, as you can see in the photo, but we also bring stacks (and stacks and stacks and stacks) of ARCs or advance reader copies to give away to teachers and librarians! We give away these early editions because it’s one of the best ways to gather excitement for a book before it publishes. It’s a great system because many of these professionals not only work in individual classrooms, but some of them are college professors who teach other teachers, and who knows, that person’s reach could be in the hundreds or thousands!
Do you recognize some of those titles? We feature some key titles on our banner at each conference to bring extra attention to it.
And sometimes we get cool swag (with the help of Kelly
and the rest of Ad/Promo) that we can give out at these conferences, including
these adorable fans.
One of the other super fun parts about being in School & Library are the awards. Everybody loves awards! They are fun and exciting and sometimes, just sometimes, you even get a special shiny sticker on your book when you win an award. In School & Library, we are in charge of submitting all of the books that we publish for different awards (with a few exceptions). This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because we don’t just send every book to every award. There are all different kinds of criteria for awards that you can’t even imagine! Some awards are just for books whose authors are from Michigan. So awards are just for books where the book takes place in Michigan. Some awards require both. It’s our team’s job to know what books fit the criteria for which award. The Morris Award might be of special interest to Swoon Readers and Writers because it’s an award for a first-time writer writing for teens! Which might be a lot of you! As a reader, the Morris Award Finalists are a great place to start if you are looking for new YA that might be a little under the radar.
— Summer O.
And that’s it for now! That’s just a taste of what we handle in School and Library, so if you are interested in hearing more… your prayers have been answered…we have our own Facebook page!
Have more questions about the wild and crazy world of
School & Library Marketing? Feel free to ask us questions on our Facebook
page or below. Our expertise is vast, and ranges from “stacking books in a
fancy tower” to “packing for seven days in a carry on suitcase.”
Want to learn more about the publishing process? Check out the other entries in our Swoon Reads Behind the Scenes series: