Grandma Knows Best
I’m not sure why, but I really was not discouraged. Plan B went into effect. With the love and support of my family, we first tested the market. I went into schools and read the story with no illustrations. I had educators, grandmas, kids and people everywhere read this story and give me feedback. The response was overwhelming.
I’m not sure if it was turning 50 or knowing that I had a deteriorating neurological disease that caused me to push forward. Whatever it was, I wasn’t scared. We established our own publishing company, My Grandma and Me Publishers.
The Ben Franklin Award recognized your marketing efforts behind the title. Can you detail this campaign?
Sinke: From the start, when the seed of this book was planted, the wheels were turning in our brains as to how we could market it. It became a family affair. I have five children, all of whom are married … they were my agents. They promoted the book from its earliest stages. My sons all married teachers, so they—along with my daughters—were in the perfect places. The schools were a great starting point.
I think one of the biggest marketing advantages with this first book and the ones that have followed is that we have a dual market. The books are children’s books, but have been written and designed for grandparents as well, grandmothers in particular. The baby-boomer grandmas are here in force. We are a “cool” group. We get pedicures, wear cute capris, have fun and make a statement, and so the books are designed to appeal to these grandmas and to anyone who has ever been a grandchild. …
I think a large part of our success has occurred because of one basic rule we have tried to follow: Never forget where you came from. As a member of the St. Johns [Mich.] community all my life, I contacted the local newspapers, schools and community groups. I never say no to [appearances in front of] even the smallest of groups. The rippling effect of this approach has been pretty amazing. Pretty soon other communities were calling. … The effects of these presentations are spreading across the state. I have received e-mails from grandmas from all over the country. …