We share our stories and poems on Kidblog in my creative writing class about once a week. How do classmates select the stories they will read? Do they read in the order they appear? Do they only read their friends’ writing? What appeals to them?
Recently, we discussed the power of promotion. Publishers know how to promote books in a variety of ways. So we decided to try a few of these savvy tricks.
1. Readers do judge a book by the cover! Recently we checked out novels from the library. Every student shared their book and analyzed the cover. One common image on the covers were close-ups of a character’s face – often just an eye or just the lips. Whatever the image is, it must convey to the reader that they will learn more about this dragon or this dog or whatever the image. The image must also have an emotional quality that promises that the reader will feel the same humor, romance, action or thrill that the characters are experiencing. Many of the books featured just two dominating colors. Encourage students to try these techniques when searching for the best picture for the header of their next blog post.
2. Write a catchy title that will entice the reader. The title should suggest the genre. Equally important, the title should be written in a font that matches the genre. For example, romance novels tend to use a cursive font. While historical fiction features block letters. Titles can be as short as one key word or a phrase pulled right out of the story. My favorite example is… “And so Buck answered the call of the wild.” When the reader comes to this sentence in the middle of the book, they get it – the title of book!
3. Just after the title but before the story, write a one-sentence tease. This extra information will draw the reader into the story and confirm their first impressions from the header and the title. One well-written sentence can invite the reader to stay for the whole story. A good example of a tease is … No one would believe that it wasn’t his fault, but Jim had to explain quickly.
4. Create an iMovie trailer. Students love to create iMovies to promote their stories. They can find great imagery and set it to music to preview the plot of their stories. On the day we share the iMovies, I set up the tables into three large conference tables. Students set up their laptops to show their iMovie and every three minutes they rotate around the room. As they move from laptop to laptop, they carry an index card and jot down what they believe to be the best five trailers. At the end of class I have them fill out a Google Form/survey and we award the top three iMovie producers with a class prize.
Young readers carefully survey the story before they invest their time. By marketing their stories and poems with colorful imagery, fonts, blurbs, and story trailers blog posts are sure to appeal to their classmates.