Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Marketing Makeover: Promoting November As Picture Book Month

Guest post by Dianne de Las Casas

Have I got a great story to tell about how a literacy movement I created called Picture Book Month that went viral and was featured on the Oprah Life Lift blog. First, the answers to your questions:

How large is your platform or network? Did you use your platform or network in marketing your book? If so, how?
  • Personal Website: 10 million+ hits per year
  • Email newsletter: 12,000+ monthly
  • Facebook: nearly 2,871
  • Facebook Page: 1,210
  • Twitter: 5,338 followers (60 Klout)
  • Google+: 598 have me in their circles
  • LinkedIn: 942 connections
I heavily use my website, the Picture Book Month website, email newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with my network.

What publicity produced the best results in terms of book sales? Magazines, newspapers, radio, TV? Which TV shows or magazines created the most impact?

Oprah Life Lift blog, Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Deccan Herald (India), tons and tons of blogs

What Internet marketing technique produced the best sales results for your book? Did you do anything interesting to boost the effectiveness of the technique?

I sent out press releases to major industry media. Stories by the media coupled with social media using Twitter and Facebook produced the best results.

So here's the story.

November is Picture Book Month!

I am a children's book author and storyteller. I specialize in picture books. In October 2010, the New York Times published an article that declared "Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children." It set the children's book world on fire and it set me on fire.

In September 2011, I had the idea to create a campaign, an international initiative designating November as Picture Book Month. I enlisted the aid of several movers and shakers in my industry and created a marketing plan. I wanted Picture Book Month to be repeated year after year so the first year in existence was very important.

Picture Book Month

A timeless logo was created by Joyce Wan, a picture book author and owner of a stationery company. I created a hook: "November is Picture Book Month! Read * Share * Celebrate!" My web designer and I built a website:, which featured an essay a day about the importance of picture books by Picture Book Month Champions, prominent people in the field - authors, illustrators, bloggers, and literacy experts.

I reached out and found major partners like the Children's Book Council, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Better World Books, and Scholastic. I wrote a press release that was sent to all the children's book industry media. Digital badges were made so that people could put them on their websites. A Twibbon was created for Twitter and Facebook. A Twitter hashtag (#PictureBookMonth) was created. The website featured a month-long theme calendar, activities, and printables for librarians and teachers. Professional videos were produced by a motion graphics designer. All of this was done in less than a month!

My co-founders (Katie Davis, Elizabeth Dulemba, Tara Lazar and Wendy Martin) and I began shouting it out on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. The initiative struck a chord and became a movement. It took hold on Twitter, Facebook, and all over the kidlitosphere.

The movement became so big that it was written about in School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Huffington Post, and OPRAH! ( A story about Picture Book Month was featured on Life Lift, The Oprah blog. By the time it hit Oprah, the movement had gone viral and went worldwide. I was getting emails, photos, and videos from around the world with schools and libraries holding Picture Book Month celebrations.

You know you have a cause and a movement when the "me" becomes a "we." Picture Book Month was also written about in Jamaica, Philippines, Australia, Canada, and India, to name a few countries. Go ahead and Google "Picture Book Month." You'll get a few million results.

To create a cause like this you need a few things in place. The first and most important thing is a genuine passion and a love for your cause. Secondly, others need to share that passion. Next, you need to have a balance of what I call newsmakers and news reporters. The newsmakers are the celebrities people want to read about. The news reporters are the people who evangelize the cause.

You must also have a strong network. Without this network to spread the news, there is no news. Your vision must be backed up by a solid plan. Finally, be prepared to work. Movements need leaders and leaders must work.

I have already lined up Picture Book Month Champions for next year. 2012 promises to be even bigger and better. It will be even more international in scope, bridging picture books and picture book lovers around the world. If you would like to be involved, please fill out the contact form on our website at

November is Picture Book Month! Read * Share * Celebrate!

When submitting your answer, please also send me your name and website or blog, plus a short sales message. This information will be featured at the end of your interview.

About the Author

Diane de las Casas

Dianne de Las Casas is an author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Check out her storyteller website at And, of course, the Picture Book Month website at

Please leave a comment below to tell us how you plan to celebrate Picture Book Month during November next year. Thanks for sharing.
blog comments powered by Disqus