The Long Road to Publishing Success… Begins Now

I recently self-published a new children’s book, “Ug Goes Out,” which you can read more about at http://uggoesout.blogspot.com.

So far I’ve spent $129 and have made a net profit of $11, mostly after selling books to friends, family, and coworkers. In this post I will explain my early marketing strategy, its successes and shortcomings so far, and my visions for its future.


I am a middle school English teacher, and the neat thing about my job is that I have a captive focus group who can critique my work and maybe learn something in the process. After hearing my students’ feedback, I spent $28.88 to print 100 smart-looking bookmarks with a color image of the cover on the front and distribution information on the back. I managed to pass out the whole batch between students and coworkers. I have not been able to track the sales from this campaign, but I guess that it may have garnered about 5 books and many promises. I liked the bookmarks, and in the future I would like to print more to hand out if I can get a gig reading my book in bookstores. More on that later.

2. Social Media

I published a blog to which I try to lead people from my Facebook/Twitter posts; on this blog I try to stay current with book news, and then I redirect them from the blog to online purchasing locations. This is fun to write, and it’s a nice way to give people a small preview of the book. In the future I would like to use the blog as a stage to review other people’s books and websites related to children’s books and self publishing.

3. Customer Reviews/Book Review Websites

These go a long way to building credentials toward the product, and I am fortunate to have received some nice reviews so far. I would like to gather the reviews in one place; I think I will do this on my blog. I have received reviews from parents, young adults, and faculty from both secondary and higher education. So far all positive! My next step is to get a book review website to agree to review my self-published children’s book. Many flatly deny the possibility of looking at a self-published book; I suppose because they can’t handle the load of new entries that would come flooding in.

4. Getting Out There: Marketing Strategies for the Future

My goal is to get in a bookstore to do book readings and presentations for kids. I’m having issues getting an ISBN and UPC from Lulu.com for my book, but one day this too shall pass. Once this is resolved, I can use a service offered by Lulu to put the book on Barnes and Noble’s website. Once the book becomes a B&N product, I will convince a local store manager to order a million copies for use in the store, while I do readings for the kids, age-appropriate writing workshops (Me: “Should our hero be a Martian visitor or a puppy with no tail?” Kids: “Puppy!!!”), and autographs. Here again, I’ll make sure to pass out bookmarks. This way the kids can go home with a free gift, a memory, and a reason to beg mommy or daddy for a copy of this book.

Some day, the book may be a success, or it may not be. I plan to use this book as a jumping-off point to write a series of mythical characters like Ug, living in Suburbia and learning to recognize and celebrate their differences. I even have plans to have each new character in the series represent a learning disability in an adventure that will require the character to learn about his/her strengths and weaknesses AND about teaching others how to respect them.

  • To these good suggestions, I would add:

    Get book readings followed by a signing at the local level–libraries, daycare centers, pre schools, etc.

    Press releases with local newspaper dailies may result in a feature.

    Good luck!