I first heard the name Katie Davis years ago when I started pursuing a career in children’s literature. Back then, I read an article about the success of her book, WHO HOPS. So I was thrilled to meet Katie this year at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in New England.
Katie has a few more books to her credit now, is creating even more, and has developed several books and courses to help other writers achieve their dreams. One of these is How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. Additionally, Katie does private one-on-one marketing consulting.
One of her newest ventures started when she saw a need for authors to have a video presence in today’s internet world. She developed Video Idiot Boot Camp, a program to teach people (like me) who might be a little wary of getting in front of the camera, the skills needed to make videos. (I should add here that one of Katie’s videos won a School Library Journal Trailee Award. It’s adorable, and you can watch it below.) We are excited to be able to share words of wisdom from the super smart and super talented Katie Davis with you today.
We know that one of your new passions is creating videos, and helping authors create videos. Why do you think this is important? Making them isn’t a new passion; teaching others to make them is new. When I saw how video brought people to my site and connected my visitors to me and subsequently, to my work, my business changed. Then I got crazy over video as a way of life. I see how it gets the word out on my books, my site, and what I do.
So should people in other occupations be making videos too? I can’t think of a business or organization that couldn’t use video to grow interest. There are so many kinds of videos to create – and so many places to find free or incredibly cheap content for them! And they don’t have to take a lot of time – because frankly who has time for yet another black hole time suck project? But the one thing at least every site should have a welcome video, which is why I have my students make one in Boot Camp!
What are some important things authors and illustrators can do to help their careers? Obviously, aside from actually writing the books 😎 I think Pinterest is great because it doesn’t take a lot of time, it takes advantage of the natural visual medium that is internet, and what’s even better is that it’s wonderful for people who aren’t illustrators. One product I have is a digital Pinterest course.
An important thing to remember, if you’re one of the many people I speak to who are afraid of the word “marketing,” is to instead call it “meeting people and making friends.” My social media course could help you do that.
What one work-habit helps you most with your career? Ignoring the haters, prioritizing, and realizing there is nothing wrong with earning a living doing something I love. A lot of writers, particularly women and particular kidlitters, have a hard time asking to be paid for their work. It’s because what we do is connected to noble things: children and literacy. But saving lives is noble too, yet we don’t expect our pediatric doctors to perform free heart surgery, do we?
Valuing what I do has helped me enormously. I’ve taken my business and grown it to more than writing and illustrating, which is great because my books don’t always pay the bills. I have streams of income as a writerpreneur through products, consulting other writers, Video Idiot Boot Camp, and various other things I’m doing. It’s fun, exciting, and keeps me in children’s publishing while working on my books.
Very good points! I know you write across several genres. What exciting project are you working on now? Funny you should ask, because I have one from almost every level with my agent right now! I have an intense young adult novel, a very funny third grade-ish yiddishkeit re-telling of a Korean folktale, and a picture book for which I’m not the right illustrator!
Wow! It’s great that you have so many varied projects moving forward! Now can you tell us about a time when nerdiness turned out to be an advantage. I’ve used my Nerdy Chickiness to cover for not knowing something on live TV – which resulted in a very funny moment! Just admitting to not being on the front lines of coolness can allow one to both save face and make you look even cooler because you’re willing to admit how uncool you actually are. Try it sometime!
So true… And we ask everyone this last question. If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be? Do not, I repeat, do not get that short haircut and subsequent perm in ninth grade, in the year 197(mumbles something incoherent).
Remember that award winning video I mentioned above? You can watch it right here! I love it. And it’s not just because of the chick tie-in! If for some reason you can’t see the video below, click HERE to watch.
Subscribe to Katie’s YouTube Channel and keep up with her other awesome videos by clicking on the link below.
You can find out more about Katie by visiting her WEBSITE. And you’ll be seeing her influence more around here soon, because after going to Katie’s presentation at the conference, I signed up for her Video Idiot Boot Camp, and am now officially a vidiot! I’m going through the process of making my first video now.
Thanks Katie for joining us today! (Make sure to read the comment below that Katie left about her early bird special, and hint at something more to come!)