Guest Blog Post – George Ivanoff
#2 son and I are reading Gamer’s Quest by George Ivanoff. #2 is not all that open to non-Goosebump books at the moment but the cover caught his eye. He gave it the ‘one chapter read-aloud-by-mum’ test. I stopped at the end of Chapter 1 and asked, “Well?” “Keep going”, he waved me on. Instead of Goosebumps? High recommendation indeed. Today George joins me to talk about promoting Gamer’s Quest.
Case in point: my first book, Life, Death and Detention. It was published in 1999 by Margaret Hamilton Books, which had recently become part of Scholastic. I was young and naïve. I assumed that once the book was out there, my job was over. So I moved on to my next book, while Life, Death and Detention garnered a couple of good reviews and sold rather poorly.
Ten years later, older and hopefully wiser, I watched attentively as Gamers’ Quest was published by Ford Street Publishing. This time, I knew my job was only just beginning. Writing the book was the comparatively easy part — now the really hard work began: publicity!
Ford Street is a small publisher, but they actively publicise their authors. Gamers’ Quest had posters, bookmarks and stickers, and over 80 review copies were sent out. On top of this, I’ve been writing articles, guest blogs (just like this one) and publicity emails, as well as doing interviews. I’ve jumped onto the FaceBook bandwagon and even starting Tweeting (or is that Twittering?). I did a few school visits towards the end of 2009 and am trying to line up some more for this year. (Hey, if there are any teacher-librarians reading this, why not drop me an email and book me for a talk or a workshop. J)
But my two biggest endeavors have been the Official Gamers’ Quest website and the computer animated book trailer.
The website was the easier of the two because in a past life I used to work as a web development consultant (before I gave it all up for the financial stability and worldwide recognition of a career as an author). I looked around and found a cheap hosting and domain registration company based in the States. Then I put together the website myself using the book’s cover artwork (by Les Petersen) as a design starting point. To attract readers to the site, I wrote a couple of short stories using characters from the novel (which was a lot of fun) and made them available as free downloads. For some initial impact, I included a specially written piece of theme music on the homepage (my brother-in-law, Marc Valko, is a part-time muso and generously offered to write and record the theme).
With the website done, I moved on to the book trailer. In my previously mentioned past life, I had some limited experience with a web animation program called Flash. So I thought I’d whip up my own trailer (since I didn’t have the money to pay someone who actually knew what they were doing). I started work on it, and… well… it was terrible! I happened to make a passing mention of my misadventures in trailer making to a friend at a party. Said friend, one ‘H’ Gibbons, runs a one-man 3D animation studio, Fingers to the Bone . Next thing I know, he’s producing a computer-animated trailer, bringing to life several short scenes from the book. To say that I am overjoyed with the final result would be a massive understatement.
The result of all this promotion is that I’m EXHAUSTED! And I’ve not been doing as much new writing as I should be. But in the end, it has all been worth it, as it has been drawing attention to Gamers’ Quest. And the more attention it gets, the more people will read it.
If you’re feeling generous and want to help me with the ongoing promotion, consider linking to the website and/or the trailer from your Blog, Facebook page or MySpace page, or mention it on Twitter. And if you’ve read the book and like it, please tell people. After all, word-of-mouth is the best promotion.