Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

What Do You Need for a Book Signing?

August 2, 2018

I just finished a book-signing event in Sterling Heights. I joined some good friends and authors from the Rochester Writers’ Group. It’s the second one for me this month, and it was a decent day all around. The weather cooperated and I sold six books in four hours.

Not exactly setting the world on fire, but that’s life as an indie. You take your sales wherever you can find them, usually a few at a time.

If other authors ask me for book-signing event advice, I encourage them to think about events like the one I just attended, where the target audience is already gathered.

It’s so much easier to attract people when there’s already a crowd.

Signing Event Tool Kit Ideas
There are a couple of things you should think about ahead of time to make the most of any opportunity to meet some of the people you had in mind when you wrote your book.

Several of Your Favorite Pens
Know what you like to use and make sure you have them. Personally, I like the Signo Uni-Ball pen, with black ink.

Treats in a Bowl
A romance author might have a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses; the author of a business book could offer wrapped chocolate coins. As a fiction author, I don’t worry about coming up with something that makes sense for my books. I just bring wrapped chocolates.

It’s usually the kids who stop but, guess what? When they do, so do their parents (be sure to ask if it’s okay for the kids to indulge).

A Catchphrase
Writing a short phrase before your signature helps personalize the experience for the book buyer. Make it short and relevant. For my books I often simply write, “Enjoy the Read!”

A Cash Box and Change
If you’re doing a signing after speaking at a group’s meeting, it’s likely you’re handling the sales yourself. When that’s the case, bring a cash box with change (fives and singles). A modest investment in a Square Reader will let you take credit cards, too.

Post-Its
Name spellings aren’t as predictable as they used to be (just ask any Caitlin/Katelyn or Brittany/Britney). Ask…and make sure you find out the correct spelling.

Backup Books
Even when your event is at a bookstore, bring an extra box of books from your own supply, in case you sell everything the store has for the event (I’m an optimist).

Business Cards
Hopefully, your presentation will be so impressive that someone attending will invite you to speak to their local readers group. Make it easy for them to contact you.

Add to Your Email Lists
Have visitors write down their contact information, too, so that you can follow up when you have new books available, or when you will be speaking somewhere else.

A Good Elevator Pitch
One reason so many people deliver completely ineffective elevator pitches is they don’t understand the purpose of one. The purpose is not to close the deal. In truth, it is just to interest the audience in looking at the books you have to sell.

Your Best TV-Self
It isn’t always possible, but if you can come up with an idea that’s newsworthy, TV coverage you don’t pay for is worth its weight in gold.

I know an author in Kentucky, Eddie Price, who comes dressed in the typical garb of the time in which his historical novels are set, and he’s lost count of the times he’s been interviewed.

It isn’t always possible, but go for it. With a little advance thought and planning, your event will have everything you need.

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At 7:00 pm on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, I’ll be reading from ZEBULON, my collection of fantasy short stories, at Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson. Hope to see you there!

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Does Self-Promotion Feel Like a Losing Battle?

July 16, 2018

Along with a host of other local authors, I just finished participating in DetroitBookFest, at historic Eastern Market. The weather, although far too hot, was cooperative. It didn’t rain, I sold seven books and thought it was a good event.

I’ll also be in attendance, with other local authors, signing books near the library at Sterlingfest on July 28.

On August 7, 2018, I’m going to be reading from one of my books at Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson, Michigan, and my greatest fear is having to say, on August 8, that I read to an empty bookstore.

It happened to me once before, a few years ago. I won’t mention the bookstore (it’s now out of business), but not even my wife showed up for that one. In all fairness, it was a miserable, snowy day, and she had left on a plane bound for Florida to visit our grandkids.

The snowstorm got worse and I think it took me longer to drive to that local bookstore a few miles away than it did for her to go the 1200 miles to West Palm.

There were supposed to be two other authors with me but, in that near blizzard, only my intrepid sister-in-law, my son and the store owner showed up. Needless to say, we all left early.

It wasn’t exactly the highlight of my career.

Self-promotion in a Nutshell
Promotional events can be awful, even when they go well. Sometimes you don’t sell anything at all, in a packed house. Yet, as painful as it is to put yourself out like that with no tangible return, self-promotion is an essential part of building up your writing career.

I’ve been doing it long enough now to realize no single event, tweet or blog post will sell a significant number of books. It may not get you any attention at all. But, if you keep doing it, all those seemingly unhelpful things will … slowly but surely … build you a platform.

I already have thousands of followers to this blog, and to my Twitter posts. I’ve also had millions of visitors to my author’s web site, but I discovered a long time ago there is no one-to-one relationship between any of the numbers. I almost never see a measurable bump in sales from an individual self-promotion effort.

Let me say that again: no individual thing I’ve ever done has had a noticeable impact on sales. Not readings, signings, conference panels, interviews or blogs.

So Why Do Any of It?
You may not sell a lot of books as a direct result of a single promotion but, believe it or not, what you will accomplish is more important. You will build a brand and forge a relationship with potential readers.

What you’re trying to do with your self-promotion effort is define who you are for potential fans … and you do that by entertaining them. For free. Because that’s the deal.

Just because someone doesn’t buy a book at that moment, doesn’t mean a good experience with you won’t convince them to buy your book later.

People don’t mind if you let them know you have written a book and yes it’s for sale … but they don’t want to be hit over the head with it every five seconds. Be friendly, find out what what they like to read, and tell them about your books that come close. Let them know about you, and why you wrote something.

The heavier you lean on “buy my book” the less effective your promotion will be.

But, if you keep at it, you can build a community of fans who will turn out to be the best advertising you can ask for … earned media, or word-of-mouth … people who enjoyed the moment you spent talking to them and who will recommend your work.

Reach Out
I also always feel privileged to join other local area writers at events. For support, inspiration and evaluation, there’s nothing more valuable than finding a good writing group in your area.

A very successful one that I belong to is the local Freelance Marketplace Writers’ Group, hosted by Michael Dwyer, that meets every month at Barnes & Noble in Rochester Hills.

Also, submit your work often. Both for publication and for contest review. You may get a lot of rejections, but you might make some important connections. When you do get a work accepted or picked for an award, don’t be shy. Brag about it on social media!

A writers’ conference is another way to learn about the craft. It’s also a way to meet new writers at the same stage as you.

I attend the local Rochester Writer’s Conference at Oakland University (also coordinated by Michael Dwyer). I’ve never missed one of his fall conferences, and I plan on being there again this coming October. I always learn something.

If you’re in the area, come on out and try it. You may discover writing is not the solitary activity it sometimes feels like.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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On March 1, 2018, Rochester Media started publishing my articles about writing. The column will update about every three weeks. Take a look, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 I will be attending the Freelance Marketplace Writers’ Group meeting at Barnes & Noble in Rochester Hills.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, as I mentioned above, I plan to participate in a book-signing somewhere near the library during Sterlingfest, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018 I will be reading an excerpt from my award-winning short-story collection “Zebulon” at the Grey Wolfe Scriptorium in Clawson, Michigan.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

What Do You Include in Your Book Marketing?

July 3, 2018

Annoying animation courtesy giphy.com

I know I’ve asked you this before. You’re an indie author who’s written a book. Now what?

Most indie authors think writing the book is the hard part … until they discover they also have to take on the job of marketing it.

Oops.

That’s usually when I hear: Where do I begin?

Advanced Review Copies (ARCs)
Advanced Review Copies, or ARCs for short, are bound and/or electronic copies of your completed book. You send them to book reviewers you’d like to have endorse it.

They supposedly help build buzz for your upcoming release and help you gain interesting blurbs to put on the cover.

With seven published books you’d think I would have already tried Advanced Review Copies. However, they are one of the few things with which I haven’t yet experimented.

I intend to start with my next book and, since I currently have three new novels (yes, three) in various stages of preparation, I should get to test the concept fairly soon.

What to Include on Your ARC
On the front cover add the words: “Advance Uncorrected Proof / Not for Sale.” On the back cover, put a brief book description (100-150 words) and author bio. At least half of the back cover should have information on the book’s promotion plan, including:

  • Marketing Campaign: In a bulleted list, detail how the book will be marketed and promoted, both to the industry and to readers.
  • Publication Information: List all the details related to publication, including formats and price points, ISBN numbers and category.
  • Publicity Contact: The email for whoever is the primary contact for media should be listed.
  • Ordering Information: Make it clear where and how the book will be available for sale.
  • Website: Don’t forget to include your author website.

It should go without saying that every author needs a website, even if it is a single page with links to other social media. It is the go-to online space for readers to find out more about you and your work.

Your author website should be the base that links all your other social media accounts, news about your book, tour schedule if relevant, and links to book reviews.

Blog
Don’t just have one; add to it consistently. Adding a blog like this one that talks about your writing, or publishing in general, keeps your readers interested in you and your work.

Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Page, and Goodreads
Facebook, Twitter, an Amazon Author Page, and Goodreads are social media outlets where, as an author, you should have a presence. You might even want to upload book trailers to YouTube. The more hits and likes you garner, the more your book will get noticed.

You may be surprised to know you’ll need to build this platform with traditional publishers, too.

Book Publicity
Book publicity can make a big difference. TV, radio, and good-old-fashioned print reviews and interviews are invaluable components of a successful book marketing strategy.

If you have the budget, hire a professional.

If, like me, your budget is small or nonexistent, you can try to develop press releases on your own. Whether you take this step or not, you should also plan to have author events such as signings and/or talks at bookstores, other retailers, book clubs, writing groups, and events hosted by professional organizations.

Take the First Step
The most important thing about a book marketing strategy is to have one. It might seem overwhelming in the beginning, but taking the first step is the hardest part.

Don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone does. It’s how we learn. What matters most is that you try. If you don’t, people won’t discover, buy or read your book.

So, go on … give your book a chance.

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As busy as I make myself sound, I took time out the other day to celebrate a milestone with my lovely bride…our 48th Wedding Anniversary. She’s the best thing to ever happen to me.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

On March 1, 2018, Rochester Media started publishing my articles about writing. The column will update about every three weeks. Take a look, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

On Sunday, July 15, 2018 I am privileged to join other local area writers at the Rochester Writers’ Table at the Detroit Bookfest at Eastern Market in Detroit.

On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 I will be at the Freelance Marketplace Writers’ Group meeting at Barnes & Noble in Rochester Hills.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018 I plan to participate in a book-signing during Sterlingfest, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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