So, the Runaway Smile reading I mentioned the other day took place on Saturday in Rafina, at the Municipal Library. Some forty children showed up, along with several parents.
With Dimitri, we had decided this wouldn’t be a usual book reading. In fact, there was no reading from the book whatsoever. We deliberately played down the “book promoting” aspect and focused instead on giving the children a great time. So, I started off the event by welcoming the kids and by introducing them briefly to the story about the little boy who woke up one day and had lost his smile.
Dimitris then took over and asked them to draw a picture of a little boy (or girl), and showed them how he would draw the characters himself. Confessing he’s a rather poor illustrator, though, he asked for help from the audience, which the kids were more than happy to provide.
Things started to take off after that. Dimitris did some rounds to help kids with their drawings and provide inspiration where needed.
We introduced the closet monster (see second photo above), the king, and the clown before reaching the story’s – and the event’s – conclusion.
Once we finished, we asked all the kids to place their works on the floor and to pick whichever they wished.
The second best part was when one of the moms came to me and confessed she’d been a bit apprehensive about bringing her kid to the event, as book readings can be “a tad boring.” Her child was beaming, however, and she bought a copy of Smile while thanking me for a fun evening.
The best part came shortly after we left, and I was driving back home. A childhood friend I hadn’t spoken to in years called me to tell me his sons had been at the event, and that he’d only then realized it was hosted by me (his sons had been escorted by a friend’s mom). His children were pretty excited about it, so he promised to buy the book when we next met.
Which brings me to a marketing note: during the event, Agnes (or Arni as she prefers to be called in English), whom I can’t thank enough for organizing the event, asked me a couple of times whether I wanted to promote the book more actively by reading from it. I politely refused and told her, “this event isn’t about selling a book; it’s about giving the children the best time we possibly can.”
Despite this, we did sell quite a few copies – some 30 of them. Not because I had talked the book up, but because I didn’t really say all that much about it! So, I guess there’s a marketing lesson there 🙂
Oh, and if you want to check out the book for yourself, it’s available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback form.
Nicholas! This is just wonderful. Exactly what children need to become engaged in a book and want to read. You should see my classroom when we act out stories with props. Reading is as good as it gets, and when it makes a difference with children, you’ve gotten the brass key. Thank you for turning a book reading into a far mor important event. And, thank you for sharing that with your readers.
That is so kind of you; thank you, Jennie! Especially since you’re offering me a teacher’s perspective 🙂
This was an absolute joy to read! Thanks for sharing this with us, Nicholas! 🙂
Thank you so much for reading, Natalie 😀
Sounds like it was a lot of fun for everybody, not just the kids – well done for the sales!
Thank you so much, Fros! Yes, it sure was fun 🙂
Totally cool! I love it. 😀
Thank you 😀
A fan-tab-U-lous idea that paid off in more than spades. Congratulations, Nicholas. Sounds a wonderful time for the kids. Pictures don’t lie. 🙂
Aw, you! Thank you 😀
Jan, I work in a bookstore, and I agree that pushing sales isn’t constructive. My sales are, nonetheless, higher than those of my colleagues, mostly because I read a great deal and am enthusiastic about my favourite authors! Regular customers often come in just to talk to me about books and other things. I learn as much from my customers as they do from me!
That’s the thing: you can’t fake enthusiasm (or love of your job, for that matter) 🙂
Nicholas, your event sounds like a great deal of fun. I wish I could have been there!
I so wish you could be here, too 🙂
I am glad to hear it went well for you and Dimitri.
Thanks! It was fun, too 🙂
What a great idea, and how well it went off too. This could be rolled out to libraries and schools, where it might well enthuse more children to read and draw. There’s a ‘Franchise Idea’ in there somewhere, Nicholas.
And despite your fears, you were looking as relaxed and as suave as ever!
Best wishes, Pete.
Aw, you! Thank you 🙂
I’m calling my old school tomorrow to arrange a date, and a lady from the audience has booked me for her NGO (they deal with children). Bring me those franchise papers to sign, Pete!
That’s very good news, Nicholas. This idea could run and run!
Joking aside, that franchise idea has real ‘legs’. Worth investigating, as a source of income.
I’ll let you know how the schools go 🙂
Looks like you had a full house. What a lovely way to engage without over-promoting self-interest.
Thanks! It was great fun, too 😀
I’m so glad you and Dimitris gave the kids such a great time – the photos and the artwork are all amazing. 😀
Just goes to show that marketing doesn’t have to be about bigging things up and lots of pushing – less is more is the way to go, I think! 🙂
Thank you so much, Jan! Indeed, you’re spot-on 🙂
It’s good to see that your day was productive.
Fun, too 😀
A salutary example of the absent salesman! I have been practising that for years but somehow….
Great idea and well done Nicholas.
The absent salesman – I love that 😀