On Writing: Marketing Post Number Three
“To market, to market
To sell a book or two…”
That’s the little ditty that should be constantly reverberating in your brain as you write your book or wait for it to arrive from the publisher.
The majority of us writers are not big-name best sellers. We have no TV exposure and very little radio and newspaper coverage. So how do little Mr. Nobody and Mrs. WhoIsShe get their names out there in public view?
So far, we’ve discussed (with not much detail):
- Blogsites and websites
- Business card distribution
Let’s tackle the book signing venue today.
I had previously told you that I hate book signings. For the most part I do because lots of times no one shows up and I sit there reading a good book (my own) and directing passersby to the restroom.
When I have had successful book signings at stores (by successful, I mean I sold at least 20 or 30 books), here’s what I did:
- When planning the book signing with the store manager, I asked to be at the store on a big sales day of the year. The best time is any Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- I made sure the manager planned to get the word out, including putting up flyers or signs in the store (which I provided), submitting an article to the local newspapers, (which I wrote), and sending out e-mails to the store’s clientele OFTEN about the book signing.
- I called or e-mailed several days before the book signing to make sure the manager had ordered enough books. If not, I offered to bring my own just as a back up.
- On the day of the book signing, I’ve had a friend with me to walk throughout the store handing out my business cards or a small token gift like a bookmark and inviting them to my table. Often, I’ve been parked in the BACK of the store, and if I didn’t let folks know I was back there, they never saw me.
- I offered some kind of deal, i.e. if anyone bought my whole Keystone Stables series, they got a free gift like a plastic model horse or a small jewelry box with a horse picture on the front, etc. (Recently I sold three complete sets of eight books each because of my “special” deal.)
- If traffic was slow, I got out from behind the table and introduced myself to folks in other parts of the store.
- I looked for businesses besides book stores that might want me to have a book signing. I have done fairly well at a large local hardware store and at a horse equipment and saddle shop. Of course, horse books would be a natural sell at stores like this.
Now, after you’ve done everything in your power to pull this off, if store traffic is still real slow, as such was the case with a book signing I had a few weeks ago, you have to just sit and smile, maybe work on your next novel on your laptop, and write the day off as a loss.
You just never know how book signings are going to go. Swallow your pride and try again at another store as soon as you can make the contact. Making money? Are you kidding? You’ll probably break even with the cost of gasoline, but book signings are all about promotion anyway, not making you rich.