August 3, 2015
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 a little detail):
- Blogsites and websites
- Business card distribution
Let’s tackle the book signing venue today:
When I have had successful book signings at stores (by successful, I mean I sold at least 30 to 50 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 Friday or 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 backup.
- 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 have a friend who has tween twin girls, who wear cowgirl outfits and help me “sell” by roaming the store or standing in front of the store and handing out my business cards. Often kids can get more of a response than adults.)
- I offered some kind of deal, i.e. if anyone bought my whole Keystone Stables series, he/she 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.) Other times, I’ve offered one of my other girl/horse books or I knocked off all the tax and wrapped the set in a gift pack with some binder twine, a tiny plastic horse tied on the front of the pack, and a book mark.
- 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. (Study where “your market” hangs out and go for it!)
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 in any way to make you rich.
Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables Books
(Writers’ Blog) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com