Thursday, July 25, 2013

Innovations In Book Marketing - A Guest Post by Melissa Stewart

As part of our occasional "Innovations In Book Marketing" series, I asked author Melissa Stewart to tell us about what she's created for her latest non fiction picture book...

When I visit schools, kids (and their teachers) often seem stunned by how much time it takes to create a book and how many people are involved in the process. My new picture book, No Monkeys, No Chocolate, is an extreme example.

It took 10 years, 56 revisions, and 2 fresh starts. Let’s face it. Sometimes dumping everything and starting from scratch is the only way to find the story you really want—and need—to tell.

When it came time to think about promoting No Monkeys, No Chocolate, I knew I’d do the standard stuff—Teachers Guide, Storytime Guide, Activity Sheets, reach out to bloggers, solicit radio and print interviews, etc. But I also wanted to do something special, something unique, something useful.

That’s when I remembered all those stunned kids. I can only reach out to so many of them at in-person visits or via Skype. How could I share the idea that revision is the heart of the writing process? How could I let kids know that creating a book takes hard work, dedication, and patience? Students shouldn’t balk at the idea of revising their writing assignments once or twice or even three times. Just like playing a sport or learning a musical instrument, writing takes practice.

To communicate that message, I decided to create an Online Interactive Timeline that tells the story behind the book. It’s a combination of clickable elements—videos, WIP manuscripts, an interview with my editor, sample sketches, and even “final” art that didn’t make it into the book.

I hope readers will find it useful.

A detail of the No Monkeys, No Chocolate timeline

Melissa's Timeline for the creation of No Monkeys, No Chocolate is not just useful - it's a remarkable tool that's well worth exploring fully - for both young readers and for adults that want more insight into the process of writing a non fiction picture book! 

Thanks, Melissa!  And I guess we should thank the Monkeys, too!

Illustrate and Write On,


Michelle Cusolito said...

Melissa, this is amazing! I LOVE the timeline. What a great tool for teaching kids about revision! (And yes, I'm a writer who just used 3 exclamation points! That's how exciting I think this is). I'm going to tweet it and share it with all of my teacher contacts.

What software did you use to build it? I could see kids using that tool to build their own timelines. (What an improvement over the old "Timeliner" program I used to use).

dj said...

I love this! What a great idea!

Mary said...

Melissa, I love this interactive timeline. It seems as if it, too, was quite a production. Obviously didn't take ten years, but it would be really interesting to know how you put all the component parts together.