June 30, 2016

May I suggest...? Five ways to help me help you promote your youngCanLit


While I am loathe to share my reviews as opinions -I firmly agree with Paulo Coelho who said, “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion”-my mandate for CanLit for LittleCanadians has always been to promote great Canadian literature for children and young adults.  To that end, may I suggest a few ways that authors, illustrators, publishers and publicists can help me to help you?

First let me thank those generous authors, illustrators, publicists and publishers who are so kind to provide me with copies of their books for review, as well as include me in blog tours and allow me to interview our contemporary youngCanLit A-listers.  Without these donations, I could not afford to review as many books as I do on CanLit for LittleCanadians.

That said, please limit the books you send for review to those written for young people.  Just because there is a young person in the book does not mean that it is a book appropriate for or of interest to younger readers.  Imagine expecting Timothy Findley’s The Paino Man’s Daughter (HarperCollins, 1995) or Heather O’Neill’s Lullaby for Little Criminals (HarperCollins, 2006) to be reviewed as youngCanLit? Not going to happen.  And just because a younger reader is able to read the book doesn’t mean it’s youngCanLit.   If your catalogue is publicizing a book as adult fiction, it’s not a juvenile or teen read, regardless of the age of the protagonist.  Save yourself the review copy and the disappointment, and save me my reading time and the communication explaining why I’m not reviewing the book.

If I do review your book, there are several ways to ensure that review gets read by more and more people.  While I may not get the million hits of a kitten playing with a bird on YouTube, CanLit for LittleCanadians does very well as a book blog.  It is linked through multiple school boards and universities with teacher education programs, English and creative writing programs and library studies, as well as the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and other blogs.  But it could always do better. Add a link to CanLit for LittleCanadians (www.canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.caon your website with a quote from the review or add me to your blog roll or become a subscriber.  Doesn’t hurt, always helps.

Post a comment on the review.  Thank you to author Monica Kulling, commentator extraordinaire, who always lets me know what she thinks of my reviews of her own books and those of others.  Judging by the numbers on Google Analytics, this always brings in more readers.  And don’t be dissauded by my need to moderate the comments.  I do this to avoid horrific amounts of spam, both commercial and irrelevant.


Support CanLit for LittleCanadians on social media.  Each time I post on my blog, I will tweet several times about the book or the review or the event, ensuring the relevant parties (author, illustrator, publisher) know.  Your retweets and likes bring in more and more followers and links and you know that in the end that means sales, the all-important bottom line.  Whether I’m using the hashtags for youngCanLit or for teachers or teacher-librarians, thoses tweets are getting read.  And don’t be shy about retweeting multiple times or multiple tweets about the same book.  What catches one reader on Twitter may not be the same as for another.  They all count.  Toot your own horn, or at least join the band as I’m tooting away.  I adore publicist Winston Stilwell at Fitzhenry & Whiteside, the king of retweeting and replying to my tweets for F & W books and Red Deer Press, Inhabit Media and Fifth House Publishers and Whitecap Books, because I know he makes an effort to get my tweets and reviews out there.  And all those publishers who bring attention to my reviews through your Facebook pages, thank you.

Please don’t take it personally if I don’t review your book or don’t do it in a timely fashion.  Sometimes life takes precedence over blog and I get backlogged in reviews and can’t catch up.  And sometimes the book just doesn’t grab me and I’d rather not review it than write a rant of an opinion piece.  I alone write posts for CanLit for LittleCanadians, except for rare student reviewers, and do the best I can under constraints of time, health and motivation.  I do what I can.  With the plethora of outstanding Canadian authors and illustrators out there ready to have their works promoted and applauded, it’s a daunting task.

And while I’m asking for help, if you know of any one who is looking for someone to speak to teacher candidates or schools about youngCanLit or wants to hire a writer who peddles herself as a officiando of Canadian children’s books or can think of a way for me to segue this blog into a salaried career, please leave a comment below.  Always happy to hear from my readers and writers.

Read youngCanLit!

31 comments:

  1. Thank you for being such a tireless champion of Canadian literature and Canadian young readers!

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  2. Thank YOU for your comment, Jane. It's always nice to hear the blog is reaching librarians across the country.

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  3. My pleasure, Helen. You ARE a champion! and such a fine writer too. I always enjoy reading your wonderful reviews. This is a great blog entry, btw. I will add you to my website. (If I can figure out how to do it). :) -- Monica K.

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  4. Thank you for this--it's a great reminder of help going both ways.
    I always feel weird about commenting on reviews of my book(s) as I don't want it to appear like author stalking, but thank you for the invitation. :)

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    1. It can't be author stalking if you're the author! OMG, maybe I'm the author stalker! Ha! Ha! Thanks for leaving s comment, Joanne. I knew it would bring a laugh if it came from you.

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    2. Heh, well, authors DOING the stalking. If you are an author stalker, you're the best kind.
      Thanks for all you do - no joke there.

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    3. Helen K, Author Stalker and CanLit Blogger Extraordinaire ... it does have a certain ring to it.

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    4. Let's hope that ring doesn't scare anyone off CanLit for LittleCanadians!

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  5. Many thanks, Monica. Look for my review of your newest Great Idea book "Zap! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge" with Bill Slavin in the next month. It's got power!

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    1. Thank you, Helen! So do you. -- Monica

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  6. I enjoy your well-written reviews and love to share them. Keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks, Darlene. You too are an avid supporter of CanLit for LittleCanadians and I appreciate every comment you've left. Thank you.

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  7. Thank you for posting this, Helen--I learned alot! And sincere thanks for giving Canadian Kidlit a place to shine.

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    1. It always shines, Ruth. I just put it on the shelf so everyone can see its glow.

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  8. Helen, thank you so much for those practical suggestions. As a relative newcomer to children's lit, I appreciate the advice! Thanks also for your time and effort in developing a really great blog.

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    1. It's my pleasure, Alison. And thank you for your comments.

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  9. You're an absolute gem, Helen! Thanks for all you do to support Canadian kidlit :)

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    1. You're very kind, Deborah. Looking forward to getting my hands on "Feathered." I know it will be the gem!

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  10. Helen--thank you so much for being a tireless champion of Canadian Kidlit!

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    1. Thanks, Marina. You know, you were my first author interview!

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  11. Great column, Helen! Your reviews alays make for good reading and I am constantly impressed by how quickly you source out award news.Thankyou for being a champion of Canadian children's literature.

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    1. Thanks, Marsha. Sadly I've been falling behind in the awards news this spring. I'd better get back on track asap!

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  12. Thank you, Helen, for this post. And thank you for yiur suggestions on how to spread the word! Your work for Canadian children's and YA books and authors is so very much appreciated. I've been subscribing for ages and love reading the insights you bring to your reviews. I often discover books I hadn't known about. Brava!

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca, for your comments. I'm happy to continue promoting all of you and love that I can introduce new readers to great youngCanLit. If you keep writing, I'll just have to keep promoting!

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  13. Thank you for all you do for Canadian children's authors. You work hard for all of us and it is so appreciated. This was a great article and so helpful. Now time to tweet!!

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    1. Thanks for your support, Lorna.

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  14. Thank you for how much you support Canadian children's book creators., Helen, for your excellent advice.

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