In 2009, Nancy Viau and Keri Mikulski sat in a South Jersey diner and discussed marketing their children’s books in a tough economy. Nancy’s middle-grade novel, SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD (Amulet Books), had been out a year, and she had recently sold a picture book (Abrams Books). Keri’s novels: HEAD GAMES, STEALING BASES (Razorbill/Penguin), and several others in the Pretty Tough series, were forthcoming. Knowing how difficult it was to get attention in today’s competitive book market, they thought it might be useful to band together with others to increase visibility. They gathered together a diverse group of (1) authors who had already succeeded in marketing older titles; (2) authors with titles due to be released in the next several months; and (3) authors whose books were scheduled in upcoming years. Concentrating only on those who write for children of every age, from the very youngest child to the oldest teen, they invited ten people to join the ranks. In January of 2010, the KidLit Authors Club officially launched. The club’s goal: create a literary buzz the whole family can enjoy.
Today, the KidLit Authors Club now has as its members, over twenty authors from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. In groups of two to ten, the authors sign at bookstores, libraries, and book festivals; they present programs at conferences and visit schools. A party theme adds to the fun. Tables are decorated with colorful balloons and party bags filled with books and miscellaneous items for kids, parents, and teachers are given away. Hands-on activities encourage conversation and everyone gets to know the authors on a personal level. It is all in keeping with the KidLit Authors Club tagline: Making Every Event a Celebration of Children’s Books.
Booksellers like the energy that KidLit Authors Club members bring to their stores. They feel that the group meets the needs of an array of book buyers.
The event was so much fun and much more than I had expected from all of you. What a pleasure! I received feedback from the
parents that they enjoyed the event as much as their children.
Cathy Genna, CRM, Barnes & Noble, E. Brunswick, NJ
The teachers raved about the Educator Event in April. The presentations were just what they wanted to hear. The ideas could be
used easily in their classrooms the very next day. The authors were humorous, as well as informative in providing a capsulated
view of the newest in children's literature.
Esther Clark, CRM, Barnes & Noble, Moorestown, NJ
Conference and book festival directors know that including a well-organized and informative panel—one that is made up of authors with a variety of experience, adds to their programming. Schools and libraries with restricted budgets find that hosting several authors with presentations and workshops geared toward specific grade levels is cost effective.
The Northwest Jersey Reading Council LOVED hosting the 4-member panel. Their works spanned all grade levels and the audience consisting of teachers and media specialists were thrilled with so much information that they could use immediately in their classrooms and libraries!
Lisa Conry, President of the Northwest New Jersey Reading Council
I loved your delightful panel discussion at the NJ SCBWI conference. It was very inspiring. I learned so much!
National publications have featured articles about the KidLit Authors Club, including The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and The Bulletin, a magazine published by SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). The group also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Anyone interested in learning more can contact the KidLit Authors Club via www.kidlitauthorsclub.com.