Picture Books

CRAZY FOR BOOKS: Thoughts on Rainbow Looms® and Kid-Talk

IMG_2241This summer the kids at our local pool are busily weaving rubber band bracelets using something called the Rainbow Loom®. These looms aren’t easy to come by.  You can only find them at Learning Express, a handful of independent shops, or online which means it takes a little extra effort to acquire one. Has this deterred the craze? Not one bit. As I sit under my umbrella, kids ranging in age from five to fifteen huddle around nearby tables weaving between dips in the pool.  And while the kids swim, their mothers sneak turns on the loom.

It wasn’t like this in early June. Then, only one or two kids had looms, but when the other kids tried the looms, excitement spread.  Kids asked their moms if they could have looms.  Moms took the time to seek out the looms.  More kids saw and tried the looms.  More moms went shopping and the craze was on!  Sitting here now, I’m surrounded by looms. My daughter (whose fingers and wrist are pictured above) is busily weaving bracelets for every possible holiday. Her enthusiasm is contagious and several kids have stopped by to admire her handiwork.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be thrilled if my debut picture book enjoyed the same popularity as the Rainbow Loom®. So, what’s the secret to such smashing success?

First, you need a great product. For picture books this means creating engaging stories with wonderful illustrations that spark readers imaginations and make them want to read the story again and again.

Second, the product needs to be readily available. As the Rainbow Loom® proves, however, this doesn’t mean our books must figure prominently in every national bookstore. They must, however, be available enough places so that our readers can easily acquire them.

But what’s the most important factor, in my opinion? The kid-talk! Rainbow Looms® have taken over our pool because kids spread the word. So, how do we get kids (and their parents) excited about our books?  By interacting with them!  This means scheduling book signings and readings. It means getting into classrooms with in-person or Skype visits (as Tara Lazar  did so beautifully in my daughter’s class).  Using social media like Twitter and Facebook is another way to get the word out and generate some interactive excitement.

As a first-time picture book author with a launch date of next August (’14), I’d love to hear your ideas.  What have you done or seen done that effectively generates excitement about newly published books and gets kids and parents talking? Let the comments begin! =)

14 thoughts on “CRAZY FOR BOOKS: Thoughts on Rainbow Looms® and Kid-Talk”

  1. Oh to be the lucky inventor that dreams up the idea like Rainbow Loom, or the writer whose book is the summer must-read!

    My daughter and I were just reminiscing about the Silly Bandz craze, the Japanese eraser craze, and the Moshi monster craze that raced through her elementary school in the last two years. We both wondered what’s coming next. I guess Massachusetts has not been plunged into Rainbow loom madness!

    August seems like a good time for a book launch Laura – kids will be headed into bookstores to pick up their last-minute summer reading books!

    1. I hope you right, Cathy. =) It’s fun that you and your daughter have been reminiscing about all the crazes that go through elementary school. I’m trying now to remember some from my youth, but I’m drawing a blank right now.

  2. I hadn’t heard of those. My daughter is definitely going to want one! LOL.

    I like to think that short poems or stories, published in magazines, work as a kind of self-promotion. That’s the kind of marketing I like.

  3. I’m not a strong marketer, so maybe my advice should go to the end of the line here. But I have heard, (and experienced) time and again, how much more a publisher can do than the author. Despite publishers saying you, the writer, are to be pivotal in marketing, and the self-published insisting that publishers don’t do much, it is, still, the publisher’s domain.
    So my advice is to coordinate everything with your publisher.
    Bookmarks with your book info and cover on them are your book’s business/calling card. Whether your publisher pays for them (ask them ;)) or not, they are well-worth making.

  4. I love how creative your analogies are, Laura! And, I was not familiar with the Rainbow Loom but it looks like fun! As far as marketing, I love the idea of getting bookmarks done. Lately, too, you see a lot of people doing book trailers, unfortunately, I have no idea how you’d go about making one! 🙂

  5. Like everybody else, I want to be a Rainbow Loom! You’ve got the right idea. Making appearances, visiting schools, and getting the buzz going about the book is key, and more fun than I ever imagined! Enjoy every minute of it.

  6. Cool bracelets! Haven’t seen them here yet. Online marketing including blog interview hops are how I hear about a lot of author’s books. And I can host an interview w/u!

  7. It sort of reminds me of those rubberband bracelets, that were all different sorts of shapes, and went back to it after you took them off. Can’t for the life of me think of the name. But these are much more artistic looking! =)

  8. wow, I love those bracelets! Why couldn’t I have invented them! Congratulations on your first picture book! You have the right ideas, get out there as much as possible on social media sites, set up book signings, school visits whatever you can think of. But most of all, keep your chin up, stay positive and get to working on that next book!

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