Friday, March 16, 2018

Path to Promotion: a Six-Week Online Book Publicity Course by Deb Gonzales

Author Deb Gonzales wears many hats and helps our SCBWI-MI members in countless ways. She manages our chapter website, volunteers at events, creates reader guides, and now she's begun a new adventure: a six week online book publicity course. Here's Deb to tell us more about why and how she created this course.

Tell us about the online course you’re putting together. 
I’m so glad you asked! I’m having so much fun putting it together!

It’s called Path to Promotion: A Six-Week Online Book Publicity Course. It’s an online collaborative program designed to share promotional information and techniques, to guide in the publicity preparation process, and to clarify steps required to create an affordable marketing platform that is personal, authentic, and professionally sound.  Throughout the course, we’ll explore topics such as podcasting, the school/library market, creating a digital footprint, and others.  At the end, participants will receive a Path to Promotion Publicity Planner packed with graphics and guides to assist in the quest to make a splash in the world.

What inspired you to create a course like this? 
For lots of reasons! One is that, at long last, going to be a debut author! My book comes out in the spring of 2019. (Hip, hip hooray!) Like a good little soldier, I’ve been working on a publicity platform, discovering tons of neat ways to let folks know about the book and myself. However, I discovered that, though I’ve been very active in the Kid Lit industry for a long time, I feel somewhat ill-prepared to promote my book. Surprisingly, I’ve learned that I should have been doing a lot more of this stuff when I first became serious of becoming a published author! Yipes! I’m feeling major overwhelm! And then, it occurred to me – if I feel this way, then others might, too.

I have a vision of what I’d like my publicity campaign to look like. I know I’ll need to utilize social media in creative and authentic ways to make that happen. I’m very interested in developing a sense of community with readers, as well as the folks I’ve been honored to create teacher guides for. I want to know how to make a solid connection with the school/library market. And, while I’m blessed to have tremendous support from my publisher, I’m fully aware that they have other authors that deserve their attention, too. I desire all these things, and yet I have limited funds and time to devote to developing this campaign. Where should I start? I need a plan. Set some practical, affordable, and achievable goals. Devise a strategy by asking guidance from professionals who know what to do. Take some action! That’s what Path to Promotion: A Six-Week Online Book Publicity Course is all about.

Why an online course instead of a conference workshop? 
I’ll tell you a little secret. I’m addicted to learning. I love taking online courses. Love them! I love the fact that I can access affordable and enlightening content whenever I want. I choose topics that stretch my mind, stuff that makes me think about life in interesting ways. I’ve explored minimalism and meditation, nutrition and crafting e-newsletters, productivity practices and organic gardening, not to mention scads and scads of writing workshops.  I love to follow my instructors via social media to see what they’re up to.  If I’m lucky, they might offer a new course I’d be interested in taking, or (Here’s the deep, dark secret part. Shhhh. Don’t judge.) I simply watch their introductory first session! And, webinars? Oh, gosh. Don’t get me started.

My online-course-taking addiction began five years ago, during my first long, cold Michigan winter. Here’s how it happened. Our previous home in Texas was big and way too cluttered. Yet, we schlepped a ponderous pile with us when we moved. The house in Michigan we ultimately bought was considerably smaller than our Texas home. We were in a ponderous pile pickle. So, I searched the internet for downsizing tips and found Courtney Carver’s course A Simple Year.  That’s when my addiction began. Blame it on Courtney.

I’ve been studying how online courses are put together for quite some time. Like the formatting of a novel or a textbook, these courses are structured in similar ways. While doing so, I kept thinking that our Kid Lit community would benefit from courses like these, yet I was not quite certain how to put it together. Currently, I’m working with an online instructional group who are guiding me in the creation of the Path to Promotion: A Six-Week Online Book Publicity Course. I’m learning so much, I’m giddy! It’s going to be awesome!

Where can people find more about your course? 
Oh, lots of places! Naturally, folks can email me at I’m more than happy to field any questions they may have. Also, there’s tons of information about the Path to Promotion on my website at I’ve also been posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m about to venture out and post on LinkedIn after…you guessed it…I hunt around the internet for tips, or maybe (If I’m very lucky!) an online course, describing how to do it effectively. 

Debbie Gonzales is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, and once served as a SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. Deb currently devotes her time to writing middle grade novels, crafting teacher guides and various other freelance projects. She's the author of six “transitional” readers for New Zealand publisher, Giltedge, and the forthcoming non-fiction picture book PLAY LIKE A GIRL: THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS (Charlesbridge, 2019). A transplanted Texan, Debbie now calls beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan home where she lives with her husband John and spunky pup, Missy. Deb earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Coming up on the Mitten blog: The PAL ABC (Authors, Books, and Children) program, a recap of the NY conference from Michigan attendees, the resonant roar of quiet stories, and a round-up of SCBWI-MI member blogs. (Do you have an active kidlit blog? Send an email to Charlie Barshaw to let him know.) Plus, another round of Hugs and Hurrahs! Please send your writing/illustrating/publishing good news to Patti Richards by March 26th to be included.

Registration for the SCBWI-MI spring conference in Detroit is now open!


  1. Loved reading about Debbie's class and how she got into online courses when moving to Michigan from Austin. Sounds like a great asset for authors no matter where we are in the journey.

  2. Thanks, Natalie. I'm having such a good time putting it together!