By Guest Blogger, Marilyn Perlyn, Author of The Biggest and Brightest Light
My book is the platform for my career as an author, inspirational speaker, service-learning advisor, character education provider, and creator of a free school service initiative called The OCHO Project: Read for a Need (Opportunities for Children to Help Others). The book has served as an inspiration for children to realize their own potential and power to help those in need. But most importantly, the book demonstrates to children what “empathy” means…what it looks like, feels like, and sounds like…and motivates children to treat another person kindly based upon the understanding of what that person is going through.
Since my book is non-fiction, I was able to find an underserved niche market for my book and market it to that audience. Some books, such as mine, can be marketed to a diverse group of people such as children, parents, grandparents and educators. I discovered that one group to market to was educators because of the book’s message about kindness, caring and empathy. In the last decade, character education in many schools has been mandated by the state. Although it is mandatory, many schools lacked the resources to find materials that teachers can use. By being creative, having a dynamite website and developing free online educational programs, I am able to get educators to purchase the book and have additional materials that enable them to use the book throughout the school year.
I also keep abreast of current events related to my book. For instance, last year the New York Times had an article on the front page about the importance of schools teaching empathy as a prevention to bullying. Bullying is currently a huge problem in our country and we are constantly hearing terrible stories of children that were bullied. Topics such as these provide formats for speaking engagements. This week (July 31, 2010) the New York Times had another article entitled, “The Benefits of Volunteerism, If the Service Is Real.” This article states, “Studies have shown that generally, community service for whatever reason is a good thing. But how it is done and whether it also involves service learning – that is, lessons that discuss homelessness, say, or hunger in a larger context – make a difference.” The OCHO Project is just that, a service-learning project. I try to be creative with marketing tools that are both current and relevant.
My book has become my hook because I have created “a mental model for behavior” that I want my readers to remember. It is my job to do the research to show them that they will be better people for having read my book. My book has taken me on a journey that I never dreamed of. Writing about a real life experience has made my enthusiasm contagious (or so I am told!). Remember, passion sells! It has opened up a whole new world to me and I can only hope that my readers will find the story shared in The Biggest and Brightest Light as inspiring as I have.