I really didn't do much to market my books, other than show up at bookstores. It was a word of mouth thing, and after that, Penguin started marketing me.But Anna doesn't just show up, she provides an engaging experience for her audience, one that likely boosts the number of recommendations people give regarding her books (and the live experience).
I saw Anna at the Texas Book Festival in October. When she first got on "stage" she said not a word. Instead, she gave a little wave to the children sitting up front, uncapped a black marker, and set to work drawing Llama llama on a large posterboard. Anna made quick work of it, since she draws Llama llama often. When she was done, she turned to address her audience.
"Someone wants to say hi." She gestured at the illustration. "He's waving to you."
The children cheered and waved back.
Anna talked a bit about how she came to write Llama Llama Red Pyjama, which she then read. But she didn't just read it, she practically acted it out, doing different voices for Llama llama and his mother, making Llama llama's voice tremble when he was frightened. It was a highly entertaining performance.
Anna was at the Texas Book Festival to promote her new book, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, and she gave a similar performance for that one, even swooning near the end. The children giggled wildly, parents were grinning, it was a memorable event.
During the signing, Anna drew Llama llama in each and every book. So while Anna claims that she just "showed up" there is much more to her successful appearances than this modest author would like to admit.
Live appearances are not for everyone, but for authors (particularly authors of picture books) with a dramatic flair, events such as this once can speed the word of mouth along.
If you are a published author and you would like to share your experiences with marketing and promoting your book(s), I'd love to share your story! Please contact me at anpstevens [at] gmail [dot] com.