Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Five Cool Things About the New SCBWI Website!

The new website will go live on as of today Wednesday, May 31. 

new SCBWI logo 2023
SCBWI gets a new website to go with the new logo!

Everyone at SCBWI is excited for you to take part in a whole new way to engage with and build community with other SCBWI members. There are so many great things about the site that will make using it much easier including improved navigation, a fresh clean design, and much more.

Here are five important functions that address questions and comments we’ve received from members over the years. These will make your experience a lot better! 

1) ALL NEW! Your newsfeed – get current news about SCBWI, upcoming events, and our social media  posts all in one place.

2) An improved Illustrators Gallery – an improved searchable database, greater ease in uploading images, and greater page personalization.

3) Regional connection – besides your home region, be connected to other regions you want to follow.

4) Flexible event registration – you control changes to your registration.

5) GDPR compliance – peace of mind for data privacy and security for European Union residents.

BONUS Cool Thing) Event links sent directly to you – conveniently check your Member Home page for Zoom links!

The SCBWI team looks forward to hearing from you as you spend some time on the new website. Let us know what you think! Your feedback and input on the site will help us continue to improve your user experience. 

Illustrate and Translate and Write On,

p.s. - Thanks to SCBWI's Tammy Brown for the early scoop on the new SCBWI website!

Thursday, May 25, 2023


By Federico Erebia, SCBWI Guest Blogger

My debut novel, Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 6) is thirty years in the making. It is a fictionalized retelling of my relationship with my brother Daniel who died when he was thirty; he would have turned sixty, just a few days ago. 

Daniel was my “fifteen-months-younger twin.” We were gay and neurodivergent, before there was awareness, let alone diagnostic testing for dyslexia, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder. But these were the least of our challenges, and in fact, we excelled in our education.

Our mutually profound disinterest in sports rivaled the intensity of a Mexican sports announcer’s voice when a goal has been made at a professional soccer match. For those unfamiliar with these lung-capacity-defying vocal expulsions, there are terrific examples online. In any case, we were expected to play sports, in an ill-conceived attempt to coax a non-existent talent out of us. We were miserable in our lackluster pursuits.

Son tal para cual.

They are two of a kind.

Despite our similarities, Daniel and I were dissimilar in our struggles, our dreams, and in our distinct approach to life. We had conflicting views about religion, and divergent relationships with the Catholic Church. We had very different experiences with HIV/AIDS: I became an HIV primary care specialist, and he succumbed to the maldito virus, when we had few treatment options to offer our patients. 

Daniel and I shared an intense passion for all things Mexico. One of our last excursions, while he was still healthy, was to attend Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries, a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Before we left the museum, I bought him the massive book that accompanied the exhibition; it was the only item of his that I requested upon his death, and I used it as a reference when writing about that weekend in Pedro & Daniel.

I’ve always been a socially awkward introvert. In contrast, Daniel was the life of any gathering. I trusted no one, yet he was unguarded and carefree. I suffered disproportionately at home. He was more vulnerable to the evils of the outside world.

Mismo perro con distinto collar.

Same dog, different collar.

Folks have asked, “Why isn’t Pedro & Daniel considered a fictional memoir?” The answer is simple. The novel is equally about each main character. There is a full arc of Pedro’s life from childhood until he is a young man. Ditto for Daniel. There are two additional arcs that follow their relationship. Part One of the book is a sixteen-chapter-arc, told in third person, detailing sixteen formative months in their young lives. The omniscient narrator’s voice changes slightly, as if these chapters are narrated by the priests, police, neighbors, social workers, and the family doctor who were aware of the children’s plight, but chose to do nothing on their behalf. Part Two through Part Five are told in first person with points of view alternating between these brothers. 

There are many other unusual elements in the structure and formatting of the novel. 

For the writing, I chose to use rhyming, as well as free verse poetry; other poetic devices for lyrical writing; and standard prose. This mix of writing is unusual, but I like its effect, causing both subtle and visceral emotions. I use Spanish and translation in unexpected ways. And I included over two hundred dichos, or Spanish proverbs, throughout the book; there is a full Appendix of Dichos at the end of the book.

Various societal themes are addressed, including colorism, racism, homophobia, domestic violence, and colonialism. The boys experience most forms of abuse that one human can inflict on another. And it’s unusual that the mother is the abusive parent, and the husband is the abused spouse.

Despite the formidable odds against them, the boys experience much joy and laughter. They have a brotherly bond that helps their indomitable resilience and hope shine through. 

The last chapters are highly philosophical, as the boys – now young men – confront their beliefs, their demons, their mortality. They self-reflect. They argue about the existence of a higher being, or other life in our universe. They grapple with the sins of omission and commission inherent in the Doctrine of Discovery, and the thievery of lands from Indigenous Peoples in Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere.

The last time I saw my brother was at the AIDS Memorial Quilt display on the National Mall in Washington DC. 

The novel ends with a full-circle, fifty word reference to the central theme in the first chapter of the book. These fifty words are the first words I wrote about Pedro and Daniel. I thought it was particularly poignant to end the novel with these words, paired with a photo of myself with Daniel, my brother, taken a few months before the events that start this novel:

I remember the assignment.

“Bring something special; your one true treasure.” 

Girls displayed dolls, dresses, diaries.

Boys brought baseball cards, cars, comics.

I’d been nervous on the bus.

How had I convinced Mom?

I remember the teacher’s face, her open mouth. 

Because my one true treasure was

Daniel, my brother.

Pedro & Daniel has been called “heartbreaking & heartwarming”; “heart-wrenching & joy-filled”; “gut-wrenching & belly-laughingly joyful.” Daniel was the funniest person I’ve known, and I believe I have brought him back to life within the pages of our book. I’m sharing him with the rest of the world, which was my ultimate goal.

Recordar es volver a vivir.

To remember is to live again. 

About Pedro & Daniel:

“An unforgettable journey of resilience and, most of all, love. Stunning.” 

- Kirkus Reviews, (Starred Review)

“Luminous. Riveting. Uplifting and heart-wrenching.” 

- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father; that Daniel likes dolls; that neither boy plays sports. Both are gay and neurodivergent. They are alike, but they are dissimilar in their struggles, their dreams, their approach to life. 

Pedro & Daniel is a deeply personal novel that spans from the boy’s childhood until they are young men. Together, they find joy and laughter as they endure abuses, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.

ISBN: 9781646143047

Publisher: Levine Querido

Publication date: June 6, 2023

About Federico:

Federico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, and illustrator. He received a BA from the College of Wooster, and an MD from Brown University. Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 6) is his debut novel. He is on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, was in the inaugural Poets & Writers publicity incubator for debut authors, is a Grubbie Debut Author, and is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and several other writing groups. He lives in Massachusetts with his husband, and their westie and whippet, in the home he redesigned and renovated.




Book cover and interior illustrations by Julie Kwon

Headshot credit: Joel Benjamin

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

TikTok Launches a Book Awards Program

In what might be a bellwether for the future...  

of TikTok, #BookTok, these awards spreading internationally, and the idea of how awards happen for creative work in general, yesterday TikTok announced a new book awards program for the UK and Ireland.

Screen shot of the press release announcing the new TikTok Book Awards Program for the UK and Ireland

From their press release:

In the past year, the #BookTok hashtag has grown more than 160% to over 138 billion views - and shows no sign of stopping! The #BookTok community of authors, readers and fans is transforming the publishing world: propelling new authors into the mainstream, reviving much loved classics, inspiring a new generation of bookworms and helping to boost print book sales.

In celebration and recognition of the titles, authors, content and creators that have made the unique BookTok ecosystem what it is, we are proud to launch our very own TikTok Book Awards for the UK and Ireland. For the first time, we're creating a true people's choice book award - giving our community the chance to vote for the winning books, authors and creators in-app.

BookTok has become known for driving interest (and sales) because of authentic book endorsements from BookTok creators. It's fascinating to see them create an awards program which 'vets' a book in a completely different way, a BookTok people's choice award.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Move The Needle . . . A Needle . . . Some Needles

Marketing Tips: Part Two

by Federico Erebia, SCBWI guest blogger

Welcome back! 

Be sure to read Marketing Tips: Part One to get some historical perspective on my publishing, marketing, and publicity journey.

I’m going to cover a lot of topics in this blog post. Many are interconnected, so I suggest reading it all, then going back to areas of interest. Use my suggestions that are right for you, leave the rest, and perhaps revisit this in the future.

I will use a lot of my own links and examples because sometimes it will be easier to “show you, not tell you.” Where have I heard that before?


Remember to care for yourself on your journey. Do what feels right for you.


We all hate them, but it’s helpful to have a budget for your marketing and publicity. Many of the items listed below are free, and others are low cost.

TIP #1: Your accountant can help you with details, but many expenses are considered business expenses. 

TIP #2: Books that you buy to support your fellow authors, 

travel [conferences, festivals, fairs, panels], 

subscriptions [Publishers Weekly, etc.], 

fees [conferences, website], 

memberships [SCBWI, 12x12PB], 

swag, mailings [Giveaways], 

computer programs [Scrivener, Procreate, Adobe], 

and office/writing supplies can be tax deductible. 

Even your writing space can be considered a business office.


Your ultimate marketing and publicity goal is to sell books. There are many paths to selling books, both before and after its launch.

It’s worth talking a little about advances and royalties. An advance is the amount of money an author gets paid prior to the publication of their book. It is often paid in two or more installments. Once your book is published, a certain number of books, ebooks, and/or audiobooks need to be sold before you will get paid any more money. This is called “earning out your advance.”

TIP #1: The larger your advance, the more units need to be bought by consumers before you earn out your advance, and vice versa. Hopefully, that makes sense. 

TIP #2: Simple math can tell you “When will I earn out my advance?” is a great calculator created by Hana Lee that does the math for you!


There are countless books and articles about this topic, and there are recent posts in this SCBWI blog about it, so I won’t go into a lot of details.

I suggest having a website where folks can access basic information about you and your writing/book(s). It can be free of cost, and simple, with at least three sections: About The Author; About The Author’s Books; How To Contact The Author. 

Or, it can be much more elaborate and detailed.

TIP #1: Twitter Card

If you use a Drag & Drop website builder, you can add a Twitter Card on any of your pages: When you type your webpage’s URL in a Twitter post, a clickable image will show up in your post. 

For example, copy and paste into a Twitter post. The entire image that pops up is clickable.

Now copy & paste into a Twitter post. There is no image, but the link will still take you to the SCBWI website.

TIP #2: A clickable image will attract more interest and engagement, which you can track, if you use a Bitly link [see Bitly below].

TIP #3: Goodreads Widget

You can embed a Goodreads widget on any webpage so that your readers can see only the 5-Star reviews your books have received. Because . . . why not?

For example: go to and scroll down until you see the 5-Star reviews of Pedro & Daniel.

TIP #4: Learn about Search Engine Optimization and Meta Keywords [if you wish]: SEO Basics


I suggest nurturing at least one social media platform where you can interact with your writing communities, which will be so important along every step of your writing journey. My primary social media platform right now is Twitter: The writing community, and the features, are too important to jump ship.

TIP #1: Try to have one handle [username] across all platforms that is easy to guess or recognize. Folks are more likely to tag you, if they can guess your name. [@FedericoErebia vs. @authorofyabooks].

TIP #2: Avoid the ampersand (&)! Too late for Pedro & Daniel.

TIP #3: Use capital letters in your handle [@AuthorOfYABooks vs. @authorofyabooks]

TIP #4: When possible, use an image, a custom GIF, a video, or a Twitter Card in your Twitter posts. Any of these increases engagement, compared to a post with only text.

TIP #5: You can tag up to 10 usernames on an image [not GIFs or videos], which frees up characters in your post, which is limited to 280 characters.

TIP #6: When possible, tag your publisher! Tagging them helps their algorithm and yours! You, your publisher, your book, and your post get boosted.

TIP #7: When referring to your book, use this formatting on social media [note the publisher tag]:

PEDRO & DANIEL (@LevineQuerido, June 6) before launch, and 

PEDRO & DANIEL (@LevineQuerido, 2023) after launch.

TIP #8: To avoid confusion, don’t use the tag (@) when referring to your book in a bio, email, etc.

Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 6) before launch, and 

Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, 2023) after launch.

TIP #9: Ask your friends/Street Team to boost your post. All of the following help, some more than others: 

  1. ReTweets are the best! When someone ReTweets your Tweet, their followers and yours will see it in the ReTweeter’s timeline!

  2. Quote ReTweet [best if they tag you, your publisher, your book; and use other hashtags]

  3. Like the post.

  4. Comment in the post. 

TIP #10: Research your hashtags. Not all hashtags are beneficial. 

TIP #11: Create your book’s hashtag, and use it consistently (e.g., #PedroAndDaniel). No ampersands. :  )

TIP #12: Try to include a Pre-Order link with all of your book’s posts. Folks don’t like having to look for the information, or to click too many times to get what they want. 


I highly recommend using the free Bitly program to shorten and customize URLs. 

For instance, the Pedro & Daniel webpage on my website is:

Instead, I use which is short for Pedro & Daniel, June 6, 2023. It’s easy to remember, and easy to type. 

TIP #1: An ampersand (&) can’t be used in URLs or social media hashtags!

TIP #2: Shorter, custom URLs use fewer characters, and generally look better.

TIP #3: Be somewhat consistent in your customization [see PD examples below].

TIP #4: On Twitter, type not  

TIP #5: Bitly keeps track of every click on your link(s):

  1. You can see what posts and marketing campaigns are working. 

  2. Bitly tells you what countries are engaging with your links!

TIP #6: Use these data to help you hone future media campaigns. For example, there was a significant increase of link clicks in posts that used custom GIFs . . . so I use custom GIFs whenever possible.

Examples of my [easy to remember] links:


This is a free tool that can give folks access to all your important links: your contact information, website, Pre-Order campaign, your book’s Goodreads/BN/Amazon pages, Edelweiss/NetGalley, etc.

TIP #1: Use custom thumbnails for your links.

TIP #2: Make your headlines easy to read for quick scrolling and access.


TIP #3: I made a free QR code on Bitly that sends folks to my LinkTree. 

TIP #4: Tape your QR code to the back of your phone. When you don’t have business cards, bookmarks, etc. on you, you can easily share your QR code, LinkTree, and all your information.

TIP #5: Place your QR code on your book’s sell sheet and bookmark.


TIP #1: Get a gmail account. You will need one for many opportunities that will require you to sign in with gmail.

TIP #2: Learn how to use Google Drive, Folders, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Meet, Calendar. You will need to use most of these along the way. They are fairly easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with Word, Excel, etc.


Use Goodreads with caution! It has a Jekyll/Hyde personality. I’ve seen too many authors languish on the site because of negative, sometimes hateful, reviews. It reminds me of the Mirror of Erised.

That being said, it’s very important to the success of a book for several reasons.

Goodreads is the primary place for folks to leave a review before the book launches. These reviews are used elsewhere, including

It can be a terrific way to promote your book, and there are ways to tip the scales a little in your favor. 

TIP #1: Your Street Team, Debut Group, or other friends can “like” 5-Star Reviews so that they rise to the top of your reviews..

TIP #2: Your Street Team, Debut Group, or other friends can add you onto lists.

TIP #3: Your Street Team, Debut Group, or other friends can “vote” on your book within a list.

TIP #4: Yes, this seems like cheating, which is why I’m sharing what so many authors do. 

It reminds me of my struggles with exams in the first year of medical school. Most students had access to previous year’s exams, and yes [it’s still hard to believe] some tests were exactly the same, year after year. Some of us were clueless that others had such an advantage.

TIP #5: You can create a widget for your website so that only 5-Star Reviews are shown for visitors to your site [see Website].

TIP #6: The primary goals of a Goodreads Giveaway are for folks to become aware of your book, and for it to be added to shelves on Goodreads.

TIP #7: The second goal is to get the ARC into the hands of folks who will read, and most importantly, review your book on Goodreads [and Barnes & Noble, etc.]. Before the launch, Amazon won’t allow reviews.

TIP #8: Every time someone interacts with your books [add it to a shelf, gives it a rating, gives it a review, etc.] this information is shared with that person’s friends/followers. It’s like a Ponzi scheme, but in a good way?

TIP #9: Publishers often offer 100 ARCs in a Goodreads Giveaway, but a much lower number does not seem to affect whether a person enters the giveaway.

TIP #10: If possible, negotiate with your publisher for a lower number of ARCs in the GG, and send the remaining ARCs to those who express interest in your book on social media, librarians, teachers, booksellers, etc., and/or have a social media giveaway.

TIP #11: I suggest a Print Book Goodreads Giveaway 3-4 months before launch, when ARCs are available. If you won’t have printed ARCs, then use the Kindle option.

TIP #12: The standard package is fine, unless you have money to burn.

TIP #13: I suggest a second Print Book Goodreads Giveaway around the time of your launch. This can be for printed ARCs or final books.

TIP #14: For each GG, everyone who has shelved your book will get a notification email that there is a giveaway for your book. Many will enter the giveaway because of the notification. Then the Ponzi scheme starts . . . their friends/followers see that they entered the giveaway, so they may enter . . .

TIP #15: By the time of this second GG, your book has had reviews, perhaps starred reviews, has been added on Goodreads lists, or BuzzFeed or blogger’s lists, so you will likely have a much more impactful second GG.


TIP #1: Remember to use media mail service when sending ARCs and books.

TIP #2: Flat swag can be mailed in an envelope, often with a regular postage stamp. Enamel pins and other swag are much more expensive to mail. 


Advanced review copies of your book can be digital [eARCs], or physical copies of an uncorrected proof. During the pandemic, most publishers sent eARCs for trade and other reviews. At this time, some publishers have begun printing physical ARCs, but it appears that some won’t resume. 

For those that do have physical ARCs, remember that the main goal before your launch is to get reviews [see Reviews]. Some giveaways will go to folks who may never read it, and will never review it. Try to target folks who have expressed interest in reading your book, teachers, librarians, booksellers, etc.. If they like/love it, fingers crossed that they will write a review. 

TIP #1: On the back of your ARC, tape a sell sheet, or any other information that will help entice a librarian or bookseller to buy your book [trade reviews, starred reviews, blurbs] when you hand the ARC to them.


I’ve addressed Goodreads Giveaways. You can also have social media giveaways. 

TIP #1: On Twitter, you can ask folks to follow you, subscribe to your newsletter, ReTweet/Like/Comment. 

TIP #2: Ask your publisher what their preferred spreadsheet formatting is for sending books to winners.


TIP #1: Partner with a local independent bookstore.

TIP #2: Offer signed or personalized books, if folks order through your bookstore.


TIP #3: For added incentive, offer swag: bookmarks, stickers, book plates, pins, illustration cards, etc.

TIP #4: Flat swag is much cheaper to mail than enamel pins, book totes, etc.


Common swag includes bookmarks, illustration cards, enamel pins, pins, earrings. 

TIP #1: For bookmarks, I suggest Uprinting required a border, and could not guarantee that they would not cut off some of my art [?!]. Vistaprint’s quality is not as good.

TIP #2: A refillable printer was a great investment. My sell sheets, illustrations, and book cover prints look terrific - just as good as a custom print at Staples. 

TIP #3: Never buy anything without looking for a coupon or discount code.   :  )

TIP #4: Print your cover or other design on fabric, and make swag. I printed various patterns featuring my book cover onto various types of fabric. I have made book totes, shoulder bags, scarves, shawls, ties, and I’ve designed a sports jacket for my launch and other events. 

TIP #5: For custom fabric, I suggest 

TIP #6: Use a high resolution [at least 300 dpi] and large file size [up to 35 MB] for best quality. 

Here is a post with some of my handmade swag:


This is a one page flier with all the information a bookseller or librarian would need to learn about your book, and to buy it: book cover, synopsis, ISBN, publisher, publication date, headshot, bio, social media handles, website.

TIP #1: Use a QR code that sends folks to your LinkTree.

TIP #2: Take a copy of this sell sheet when you go to a library or a bookstore.

TIP #3: Print four sell sheets on one sheet of stock or photographic paper for a postcard sized print.



Debut Groups may be for authors who have a first book coming out, a first book in a particular age group [PB, CB, GN, MG, YA], or it may refer to the debut of a book [not the author, who might have multiple published books].

Once you have a publication date/year, I suggest joining a debut group, or more than one. Most are free and don’t require any commitment from you. They can be very rewarding, if you put some effort into meeting and supporting your fellow debut authors. 

TIP #1: Your Debut Group(s) will be a sort of Street Team. 

TIP #2: I highly recommend them.


Various writing groups have been invaluable. They are filled with knowledgeable and friendly folks:


12X12 Picture Book Challenge

Poets & Writers

State and local groups: Boston Authors Club, GrubStreet

Writer’s Guild of America


TIP #1: There are dozens of videos to help you learn how to use these programs.

CANVA is a terrific program. You can do so much with the free version. It is particularly great for videos of various dimensions for the different social media platforms.

Nadia Salomon makes incredible videos with the free version:

TIP #2: If you join a Debut Group, they may pay for a professional version of Canva that all members can use.

PROCREATE is my favorite program, but it’s only for iPads. It’s a one-time cost of $12.99. The paper cut out graphic at the top of this post was made on Procreate. I’ve made multiple picture book dummies using Procreate. 

PHOTOSHOP is incredible, but I’ve only scratched the surface. It’s got a price tag of $240/year. I primarily use it for making GIFs [of images I make on Procreate], which are my preferred media for Twitter. 


A street team is a group of people who will help you before/after your launch. They are like cheerleaders.

TIP #1: Give incentives [swag, ARCs, signed book] for activities they can do to help boost you and your book [post on social media, recruit other members, request a book purchase at your library].

TIP #2: Make it fun.

TIP #3: Create a Google Sheet where Street Team members can add their points


Your email signature is a free way to advertise your books. 

TIP #1: An image is worth many words which might otherwise go unread.

TIP #2: Have links [website, Pre-Order, Goodreads, Edelweiss, etc.]


Embed a Twitter Card onto any webpage [see Website above].


Lots of creatives swear that these are necessary and helpful, primarily to increase your mailing list. 

There are easy-to-use emailing services to send information to those on your mailing list. These are often free, if your list is under 500 email addresses. 

I use Mailchimp which gives you data [and, I love data] about how your subscribers interact with your newsletter. You can embed hyperlinks into images and text.

Here is my latest newsletter:

FJEbooks May Newsletter


If you have a publicist, they may submit you and your book to be featured in events. 

TIP #1: In many cases, you can submit your own name, or your debut group can submit a panel proposal. 

TIP #2: Many events pay for travel expenses, and/or pay the author a stipend. 

TIP #3: Submissions for panel proposals are often due up to a year before the event. 

TIP #4: Have a spreadsheet of events, submission deadlines, criteria, etc.


Someone can rate your book [1-5 Stars] without a review. They can write a review, without a star rating. Or, they can give both a rating and a review. Each of these may have a different weight in an algorithm.


Trade Reviews 

This is a list of the most influential trade reviewers: BCCB, Booklist, Bookpage, Foreword, Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, The Horn Book

I’ve been blessed with starred reviews from both Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. These have a life of their own with regard to marketing and publicity [see other sections]. Booksellers and librarians use trade reviews when they decide which books to acquire. They use other websites to gather this information [see WorldCat & Follet].

Non-Trade Reviews 

Goodreads Reviews

These are very important, especially before the launch of your book, because Amazon does not allow you to write a review for a book before its launch [see Goodreads above]. These reviews are used by WorldCat.

Amazon Reviews

TIP #1: Amazon does not allow book reviews before your launch. 

TIP #2: It often blocks Facebook or Instagram friends from posting reviews. 

TIP #3: Don’t link your Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook or Instagram accounts.

TIP #4: Don’t use “Continue with - - -” to log into an account.

TIP #5: If the reader did not make a verified Amazon purchase [i.e., they read an ARC or bought it from their independent bookstore], there may be roadblocks to leaving a review. They can try again later.

TIP #6: Amazon limits the number of reviews your book can receive each day. Reviewers can try again a different day.

TIP #7: When your book gets 50 reviews, Amazon starts to promote your book. Over 100 reviews makes a significant difference in the algorithms.

TIP #8: Those numbers [50 or 100 reviews] may change, depending on verified purchases, ratings without reviews, reviews without rating, and the “quality” of the reviews.

TIP #9: I don’t think we’re meant to really understand their algorithms. 

Barnes & Noble Reviews

Ask folks to cut & paste their review.

Social Media Reviews

These are a terrific way to get blurbs!


Once you have an ISBN for your book, you should be able to claim it, and create your Goodreads Author Profile. You may need to ask for a Goodreads librarian’s help.


You can claim and manage your Amazon Author’s page, where you can add your headshot, bio, book synopsis, and reviews.

TIP #1: Tweak and update your book’s synopsis. Only the first few lines are visible when someone visits the book’s page: make those sentences pop!

TIP #2: Before your launch, add reviews/blurbs when you get them.

TIP #3: Whittle reviews down to 1-3 sentences, or a few choice words.

See my book’s Amazon page here [I added all the details]:

PEDRO & DANIEL on Amazon


Research all possible awards for which your book might qualify, and ask your publisher to submit on your behalf. Occasionally, an agent can submit for you. Rarely, you can submit your own book for consideration.

TIP #1: Google Book Award + Age Category/Genre/Affinity Group/Themes

TIP #2: Google Book Award + States/Regions associated with you or your book.

TIP #3: Make a spreadsheet with the name of the award, criteria, submission dates, URL, etc.

TIP #4: Share this spreadsheet with your publisher.

Bonus TIP: A well-known, best-selling, Oprah’s Book Club author told our Poets & Writers publicity incubator cohort to “harass your publishers until they have submitted your books for all the awards on your list.” 


Writing essays is a particular type of writing, but having your essay published by a magazine or newspaper can boost name and title recognition. 


For several reasons, I’m dependent on audiobooks for most of my novel-length reading. I love a well-narrated audiobook. Unfortunately, so many audiobooks are not done well [in my opinion].

TIP #1: Audiobook sales give authors significant royalties[see Hana Lee’s calculator above].

TIP #2: The narrator is so important to the audiobook’s success. If you’re given the chance to help in the selection, listen to their prior narrations, audition tapes, and available demos.

TIP #3: Some authors are terrific narrators [the Obamas, Padma Venkatraman, Daniel Nayeri]. In my opinion [stress: it’s my opinion] some authors should not narrate their books. There are many books I couldn’t finish because the narrator was not the right choice.

TIP #4: Post about your audiobook! Sell it! Tag the narrator(s) and the audiobook publisher.


TIP #1: Develop your sell sheet, and share it with others, so that they can make a library purchase request [see Sell Sheet].


“Junior Library Guild is the subscription box solution for the modern librarian.”

Ask your publisher to submit for this valuable distinction. It must be done months before launch:


“WorldCat is the world's most comprehensive database of information about library collections.”

It’s not always up-to-date, but this site tells you which libraries have your book:

TIP #1: WorldCat uses your Goodreads reviews [see Goodreads Reviews].


“Titlewave® is your online collection development and curriculum support tool for school libraries, librarians, and educators, featuring professionally curated content and support tools that help you find the most relevant materials.”

TIP #1: They use your Edelweiss data in the PRODUCT OVERVIEW section. Your publisher enters the data into Edelweiss. Gently nudge your publisher to update the content [Summary, Praise] with a short summary of your trade reviews, especially starred reviews. 

TIP #2: There is a REVIEWS AND AWARDS section, which is a list of all your trade reviews, and adds “starred” when applicable. It’s a “quick look” for librarians.

TIP #3: There is a FULL-TEXT REVIEWS section.


Nurture your independent bookstore relationships. Buy your books through them.



You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but many do. I wanted a work of art that you could identify from across the room. I really lucked out with the beautiful cover created by Julie Kwon.


When you peruse books in a library or bookstore, most will not be facing you; you will be looking at spines. It helps to have one that pops!


After the cover, the endpapers are likely the next thing readers will see. The endpapers for Pedro & Daniel, are meant to evoke the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the 40 million lives lost to HIV/AIDS:


Blurbs are short quotes from a well known author and/or celebrity that are often on the front and/or back cover of a book. Gathering blurbs can be very stressful: in theory, they need to read an ARC before they can write a review/blurb, with enough time to have the book cover designed with the blurb.

Thankfully, my publisher doesn’t use blurbs on covers. But I still got many terrific blurbs from well-known authors and influencers.

TIP #1: Use Canva/Procreate/PS to create media to share your blurbs on social media.


TIP #1: You’ll need an elevator pitch of a few sentences. 

TIP #2: Practice, practice, practice.


Reaching influencers is still a mystery to me. I don’t like to take selfies or videos, so TikTok isn’t a great tool for me. I don’t understand Instagram. 


I just found out about this at the NESCBWI conference. I don’t understand this fully, but it’s worth mentioning. It helps to know about this months before your publication date.



Edelweiss Help


I just found out about this, while researching for this post. Publishers need to initiate this months before the publication date. More info:


I’m not convinced that these are worth the expense, but you should be aware of them. If they lead to reliable reviews on Goodreads and/or on Amazon, then they are worth the costs. 


Others might disagree, but I think Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, etc. are a scam. I was foolish the first time I wasted my money on a Facebook Ad. I don’t have a child-friendly word to describe myself when I wasted more money on an Instagram Ad. Feel free to disagree.


You can advertise your book on Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and other sites. I will have three Publishers Weekly email banner ads just before my launch. They are happy to work with individual authors and debut groups.


Your knowledge panel is what you see when you Google yourself. When you claim your panel, you can help shape the content. 

Claim your knowledge panel:


Store your downloadable media kit [book covers, headshots, biographies, synopses, and sell sheet] on a Google Folder that anyone can access from your website, LinkTree, etc.

Example, my FJEbooks shared folder:


You will need at least one high resolution headshot. It’s ideal to have it cropped to three different shapes: portrait, landscape, and square [see Google Folder above].


I recommend having variations of your bio in various lengths: a few sentences, 50 words, 100 words [see Google Folder above].

TIP #1: You will be asked for bios of different word lengths or character counts. It's good to have choices ready.


You will often be asked to share a synopsis of your book (e.g., “In 75 words or less, tell us about your book . . . ”). 

TIP #1: I recommend having synopses of your book in various lengths: a few sentences, 50 words, 100 words. 


The following are data from Bitly.

Many folks from Germany, France, Belgium, the UK, Canada, Portugal, Israel, Spain, Luxembourg, India, Brazil, Suriname, and Mexico have clicked on my Bitly links. I find that fascinating.

There have been 1121 clicks on my Pre-Order links. I realize that most did not lead to a book sale, but those clicks indicate that 1121 individuals were motivated by my newsletter or social media posts to get more information about Pedro & Daniel. Of course, these are just folks who have clicked on my links. There are many ways to pre-order a book [without the use of my Bitly links]. 

There have been 541 clicks on links for Edelweiss and NetGalley, and most did request a digital ARC.

There have been 211 clicks for my book launch on June 6. Again, these are folks who clicked on my link.

There are probably more topics which I’ll add over time. 

What topics did I miss?

About Pedro & Daniel:

“An unforgettable journey of resilience and, most of all, love. Stunning.” - Kirkus Reviews, (Starred Review)

“Luminous. Riveting. Uplifting and heart-wrenching.” - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father; that Daniel likes dolls; that neither boy plays sports. Both are gay and neurodivergent. They are alike, but they are dissimilar in their struggles, their dreams, their approach to life. 

Pedro & Daniel is a deeply personal novel that spans from the boy’s childhood until they are young men. Together, they find joy and laughter as they endure abuses, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.

ISBN: 9781646143047

Publisher: Levine Querido

Publication date: June 6, 2023

About Federico:

Federico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, and illustrator. He received a BA from the College of Wooster, and an MD from Brown University. Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 6) is his debut novel. He is on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, was in the inaugural Poets & Writers publicity incubator for debut authors, is a Grubbie Debut Author, and is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and several other writing groups. He lives in Massachusetts with his husband, and their westie and whippet, in the home he redesigned and renovated.




Book cover and interior illustrations by Julie Kwon

Headshot credit: Joel Benjamin