It can be hard to figure out where your money is best spent when it comes to promotional activities.
I did a checklist and timeline a year or two ago to help authors organize those activities. You can find that HERE.
But two things I've discovered over the past year I wanted to share here, in regards to middle grade novels.
First - a reading/discussion guide is one of the BEST things you can do for your book. I paid to have one done for It's Raining Cupcakes, because I wasn't sure what went into one and I wanted to make sure it was done well. For Sprinkles and Secrets, I decided to try and do one on my own. As I got into it, I found it wasn't really that hard, and I'm happy with how it turned out. Check with your publisher too - they may be willing to do one for you!
Because I'm using a web site that doesn't allow for documents to be uploaded, I state in a couple of different places on my site to drop me an e-mail and I'll send the document along that way.
I'm actually glad now that I did it this way, and here's why. When a teacher or parent or book club member e-mails me, I can reply with the document she's requested for AND ask if she'd like some signed bookmarks to give out at the meeting or event. They seem to really love that I do this.
(By the way, I get a lot of mother-daughter book clubs requesting my discussion guide. Do you know how happy this makes me? VERY happy!)
Which leads me to the second thing I think you should do if you're publishing a middle grade novel. Have bookmarks made! I can't find a digital copy of the ones I had done with both covers on the front, but here are the ones I had made before It's Raining Cupcakes came out.
Anytime someone e-mails you about the book, offer to send some. Especially if you've written a series - as soon as you have the cover for the second book, get bookmarks made with both books and send them to everyone you can. This way, they have a visual that lets them know there's a second book coming. (Make sure to list the release date of that second book too).
As far as where to get bookmarks made? I LOVE www.iconix.biz. Ask for Kelly - she's great!