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.
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.
Using the book drop effectively:
1. Start telling your readers about the Book Bomb a couple of weeks in advance. Add the Book Bomb 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 bomb and that they should look for your book on Saturday. Be sure to use the hashtag #mgbookbomb.
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 #mgbookbomb, and retweet your favourite pictures of other author's drops.
7. Writers, keep promoting the Book Bomb 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!
Expanding the drop to include your community:
Anyone can participate in the Book Bomb as an individual - the cool thing is that it only takes a single participant to get a book into the hands of a young reader and make this book drop worthwhile. I've purposely designed the MGBB to allow it to be either a single random act of literary kindness - or a super exciting, very manageable, zero-cost, community event.
If you're interested in getting your community to participate along with you, here are a few ideas:
1. Approach your local library, shops, and community clubs and ask them to participate by hiding one book, or more, on the appointed day. Also wrangle your own family and friends to hide a book as well. Keep track of how many people/organizations commit to participate so you'll have a rough number of how many books will be hidden. There's no use advertising all over town for weeks if you only end up with half a dozen books. You should be doing this through May - June.
2. Print off these web pages and pass the info along to community leaders, influencers, and local teachers and librarians. The info should be provided to local schools before they let out for the summer. You can also approach local writer's groups, homeschool groups, after-school clubs, and community outreach programs. You should be doing this through June.
3. If your town is large or spread out, it might be best to choose one area where the books will be hidden. If you anticipate only a few participants, choose a small area like a park. If you expect twenty or more participants, choose an area that encompasses several blocks. For example, my town has a vibrant, family-friendly, central downtown neighborhood ideal for a medium-large group of participants to hide books in. Be aware that if you focus the event on a particular area and plan on having a large group of participants, you may need to approach the town business bureau or planning committee.
4. Create your own "public" LOCAL facebook fanpage for the event where you can post and link all the info. The name of your community should be included in the name of the page. For example, Lethbridge Middle Grade Book Bomb. Encourage participants to follow the page so they can post their own photos and clues on the day of the drop - also encourage them to use the hashtag #mgbookbomb on other social media sites. I've included logos below for your use. (working on these now - they'll be up soon) You should do this 3-4 weeks before the drop.
5. Print off the posters I've provided below (coming soon) - or make your own - and hang them in places frequented by families - grocery stores, libraries, community centers, etc. You should do this 7-10 days before the drop.
6. Make an ad that can be posted free to local garage sale and give-away sites, like Kijiji, or on local Facebook give-away groups. Post the day before the drop.
I've kept this event flexible on purpose so it can shaped to suit individual communities, but please keep in mind that you are participating in a global event. You must use the name Middle Grade Book Bomb and the hashtag #mgbookbomb. You should use the materials I've provided where possible. The event should not be used to make money, or held in conjunction with any other event or project. The event must be focused on readers in the middle grades, ages 8-14.
Enjoy every minute! I can't wait to see your pictures!