Participating as an individual author or book lover:

First, a few tips for your drop site:

1. Choose a location frequented by FAMILIES. Middle graders may not feel certain they are allowed to actually take the book without confirmation from their parents. Also, the best tool for promoting literacy is an encouraging parent, so it's better all around if the parents help discover the book and get all excited about it as well.

Drop your book at a park, playground, picnic area, walking trail, frozen yogurt stand, public library, community center, etc.

2. Choose a spot that is well lit - avoid deep shadows or glaring sun. If they can't see your note, they won't stop to investigate. Light shade is ideal. This is also ideal lighting for taking a good picture to put on social media.

3. Add some color to your drop site with a bright paper backing on your note, a bright ribbon, or an eye-catching book mark. Just make sure whatever you add to your site will be taken away by your new reader and not left behind as trash. Scroll down to find a ready-made note you can print off and include with your book.

4. If you live in a place that has a good breeze (as I do), slip a rubber band around the book to keep the wind from ruffling the pages and blowing away your note.

For Authors and Illustrators: Using the book drop effectively:

1. Start telling your readers about the Book Drop a couple of weeks in advance. Add the Book Drop logo to your website or blog, post it to social media, email it to your contacts.

2. Make use of local contacts. Check into your options at your local libraries and indie book stores - perhaps they'll let you hang a poster letting people know about the book drop and that they should look for your book on Saturday. Be sure to use the hashtag #bigtweenbookdrop.

3. Writers, don't just sign your book. This is an opportunity to connect with a new reader personally. Leave a note introducing yourself. Include your website, blog or other social media info. If you aren't leaving your own book, explain why you chose the book you did. If your book is forthcoming, tell the new reader about it. Leave a few tantalizing details about your WIP.

4. Enlist a middle grader to help you with the drop. I've had nephews, nieces, and cousins helping out. If you really want to use an event effectively, make it a personal experience for middle grade readers!

5. Take a few good pictures of your drop site and post them everywhere! Every. Where. Plan on having your pictures up on social media, particularly twitter, by around 10:00am on the day of the drop.

6. Post pictures, clues, and updates until your book has been claimed. Then follow the event on twitter, hashtag #bigtweenbookdrop, and retweet your favourite pictures of other author's drops.

7. Writers, keep promoting the Book Drop after the fact. Post pictures and tell the story of your book drop on your blog or website or facebook page. Show readers that you enjoyed the experience and tell them you look forward to next year. They will love this little bit of insight into being an author. Take this opportunity to share with them the parts of the job that you love most!

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