Coffee & Conversation with Susan Raab of Raab Associates

Happy Friday, everyone! With our Spring: From the Bay to the Mountains Regional Conference now five weeks away … wow, seriously, only five weeks? … we’re kicking things off with our first Coffee & Conversation interview! First up is Susan Raab, president of Raab Associates which is dedicated to marketing children’s books and family products and working to promote the arts!

*But first, a brief reminder that today is the critique deadline! More info on that later.*

Susan photoNow, back to Susan Raab! She’s a Marketing Adviser to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; writes the “To Market” column for SCBWI’s Bulletin; and she’s the author of An Author’s Guide to Children’s Book Promotion.

Susan also consults on marketing and branding and reports on marketing trends on TV, radio, and in the press.

Susan Raab

In short, the lady knows her stuff and I can’t wait to take pages and pages of notes during her two sessions:

Finding Your Marketing Voice (Saturday)

Marketing is often among the biggest challenge arts professionals face because it’s crucial to success, but requires time and attention that can conflict with the resources needed to do artistic work. This session will look at what can be done to establish a sound foundation for marketing. We’ll explore how to use promotional time well and look at guidelines for evaluating what’s important to do at different stages to build a meaningful brand.

Master Class: New Rules of Media Engagement (Sunday)

This three hour intensive is designed for experienced and new authors and illustrators who want to take a fresh look at their messaging, market outreach capabilities, and ways to present their books, products and their brand as a whole. Students should come prepared with a paragraph on a new book or app they are (or plan to be) publishing, notes on some of the challenges they’ve faced, and a brief statement about their marketing experience. We’ll explore setting goals and devising strategies for marketing, as well as the roles social media, pr, websites and direct marketing play in
brand building.


And now that Susan is settled in our cyber chair with her favorite coffeehouse drink … which really is anything caramel with whipped cream, but most likely a skim latte….


… and her favorite snack, mocha ice cream …


Let’s begin! First off, Susan, what was your favorite book as a child?

Hilary Knight’s Beauty & the Beast, though I didn’t know it was Hilary Knight’s art until more than 25 years later when I saw the art hanging at the children’s book art gallery, Every Picture Tells a Story. They had the original of my favorite picture from the book, of Beauty and her father, and my husband gave it to me as a birthday gift.

(Here’s an illustration from the book that Susan had provided.)

Beauty and the Beast

And now, what’s your favorite book as an adult?

Wow, that’s tough, I like a lot. 

I’d say The Phantom Tollbooth (which I first read as an adult & is my favorite children’s book (though I don’t think Norton Juster puts an age on it); but for an adult book….The Once and Future King.


You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it? (Key word: Frivolous!)

Batik fabric – I do fiber art & love beautiful fabric

If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now? 

Well, publishing…I worked in a bookstore at 17 and decided to enter publishing then. Outside publishing, I’d be a psychologist.

For one day, time travel is a reality and you can visit any famous deceased author you want.  Who do you pick?


 What’s your favorite motivational quote?

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” Cervantes

If you could sum up your best marketing advice for new writers or illustrators in only four words, what would it be?

Tell me a story.


Fantastic! Thanks so much for stopping by, Susan, and I’m looking forward to your presentations.

And don’t forget, all you conference attendees, the deadline for submitting your critique is TODAY! Go here for instructions on how to register if you haven’t done so already.

Happy writing and drawing!

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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