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Thursday, May 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR: After the Book Deal: This Part is Awkward by Jonathan Auxier

Hi guys!
Welcome back to the site that loves getting bookish in the morning, well....or any time really...Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're hosting a spot on a SPECIAL tour.  It's called 'After the Book Deal' and it stars author Jonathan Auxier via Regal Literary.  Name ring a bell?  Great...just as it should.   He is the mind behind the Children's Fiction title Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes and the forthcoming release The Night Gardener (available May 20th via Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS).  Believe it or not though, this isn't just another book promo tour, though we do love and adore those.  This is a tour that highlights one of those questions I LOVE asking authors....what do you know now that you wish you knew then.  The answers can be very telling of an author's journey from idea to print and never fail to surprise me.  So, with that in mind, when this tour presented itself, of course I said yes and the rest as they say is history.  

Without further ado, allow me to introduce today's featured author, Jonathan Auxier!


Guest Post by Jonathan Auxier

The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

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This Part Is Awkward:
Navigating Appearance Fees

We’re nearing the end of the month-long blogging marathon. Earlier this week, I talked about author Skype visits and school assemblies. Today I thought I’d talk about the tricky topic of appearance fees.

My Own Experience ...
In some ways, I’m a terrible person to give advice about speaking fees. When Peter Nimble came out, I spent a year doing FREE school visits to any place that would have me: my only requirement was that they allow a local bookstore to sell copies of my book. This led to a lot of schools booking me—include a large number of schools that would not otherwise be able to get an author visit. At the end of a year, I had done about 100 events. It was terrific exposure and experience, but (as I explained last week) it really hurt my productivity as a writer. Moreover, when you factored in things like gas and supplies, I had actually lost money on a lot of schools. Whatever the value of this experiment, it was obviously not a sustainable model.

Author Fees Are Good

I quickly learned when talking to other writers that what I was doing was considered “bad.” By offering free assemblies, they argued, I was lowering the value of school visits for other authors. I’m not sure about the validity of that fear (as I mentioned, I was often visiting schools that couldn’t afford authors anyway), but I do think that there is some value to charging for visits that goes beyond money. A school that has paid money to have an author come talk to their kids will be much more motivated to prepare the students—talking about your book in classes and getting the kids excited for your arrival. That enthusiasm translates into better book sales and a more rewarding visit for kids: win-win.

A Delicate Balance
Charging for author visits all comes down to a basic metric: value vs. access. You want to charge enough money to make it worth your while ... while still keeping the cost low enough that cash-strapped schools will book you. As mentioned above, I decided with my first book to forget about money and really push to get in front of as many kids as possible. That did lead to a lot of book sales, but probably not quite enough to justify the enormous sacrifice of time and energy. The more reasonable thing to do would be to find a balance somewhere in the middle that honors your time while still allowing plenty of access to schools.

The Paperback Threshold

If I had to give general advice for a new author it would be this: Do free/cheap school visits while your book is in hardcover, because that’s an important time to generate high sales numbers (and each book sold earns a lot more in royalties!). When your book comes out in paperback, consider charging a higher fee ... by then you will have enough word of mouth/testimonials to reassure a school that you’re worth it.

Was It Worth It?
Do I regret doing all those free visits? While it might not have been smart in terms of time/money, there were other more intangible values that made it worth it for me. One value was the experience of hanging out with thousands of kids and preaching the gospel of literacy—a cause that I care for passionately. Another value was that it gave me tremendous experience with crowds and public speaking. Also, it was a fantastic way to meet and connect with gatekeepers in the children’s literature community. This year I’ve been invited to a number of panels and festivals ... many of the people booking me for those more cushy events are doing so based on word-of-mouth from teachers/librarians who’s schools I visited for free!

That’s it for AFTER THE BOOK DEALTomorrow we’ll be finishing up the series with a post about what I’m doing differently for my new book,The Night Gardener. In the meantime, you can catch up on previous posts (listed below), and please-oh-please spread the word!


– Stops So Far

WEEK ONE: Before Your Book Comes Out 
4/21 – Finding Your Tribe: entering the publishing community
4/22 – Do I Really Need a Headshot?: crafting your public persona
4/23 – I Hate Networking: surviving social media
4/24 – A Night at the Movies: the ins and outs of book trailers
4/25 –  Giveaways! … are they worth it?

WEEK TWO: Your Book Launch
4/28 - Can I have Your Autograph?: 5 things to do before your first signing
4/29 –  Cinderella at the Ball: planning a successful book launch
5/1 – Being Heard in the Crowd: conferences and festivals
5/2 - The Loneliest Writer in the World: surviving no-show events

WEEK FOUR: Ongoing Promotion


JONATHAN AUXIER writes strange stories for strange children. His new novel, The Night Gardener, hits bookstores on May 20—why not come to his book launch party? You can visit him online at where he blogs about children's books old and new.

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Follow along and please spread the word!


Special thanks to both author Jonathan Auxier for sharing his experience and Leigh over at Regal Literary for the opportunity to participate in this series.  (THANKS!)  For more information on any of the ideas, books, and people presented in this post, feel free to click through the links provided.

Until next time....happy writing to the authors in the audience....and happy reading to all!

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