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Posts Tagged ‘author promotion’

September 21, 2015

It Takes Money to Make Money

(Marketing and Promotion Number 10)

A Word about Business Cards

Business.Cards.from.Staples.9.19.15

Before we discuss today’s topic, let me revert to something I’ve already mentioned in two past blogs: business cards.

Although I’ve mentioned a frugal way to make your own with desktop publishing programs, you can also do well by watching for special deals at places like Staples and other office supply stores.

Just last week I purchased 500 cards for $9.99 on Staples’ website. After choosing one of their templates, I designed my own card, used one of their many photos, and uploaded a photo of the cover of A HORSE TO LOVE, book one in the Keystone Stables Series. I chose the closest store to my home for delivery, and in less than 24 hours (16 hours to be exact), the cards were finished and ready to be purchased at the store.

I am extremely well pleased with the cards, and, frankly, at that price, I couldn’t make the cards any cheaper. So check out those special deals at office supply stores not only business cards but also for posters, calendars, notebooks, or any other “paper” you’d like to use for promotion.

Other Ways to Promote your Books

Now, let’s look at several of the more expensive ways to promote your books. Remember, I’ve said it takes money to make money, and when you promote and market yourself, it does take bucks.

How much you want to invest in your marketing strategy depends on your financial situation. Mine is quite limited, but here are three techniques that have worked for me over the years:

Rent vendor’s space at conventions, conferences, or gatherings of like-minded folk:

CHAP.2013Brenda.Me.5.11.13

One of the best places I’ve sold books is at the annual PA CHAP state homeschool convention held every May for two days in a huge hall in Harrisburg, PA, with over 150 vendors. Yes, the vending fee is expensive, and each year I just about break even, but as I’ve said before, “exposure is the key to successful book sales.” Thousands of homeschoolers attend that event every year. Usually, if families buy one or two books, they come back for more the next year or buy others online or at book stores. Even with the staggering economy, I sell an average of 130 books at that convention over a two-day period. I’ve also had vending space at craft fairs and “horsie” events, most with reasonable vending fees, which sometimes paid off. (Most states have their own large annual homeschool conventions. Check it out online.)

Offer special deals with your book sales:

I have all kinds of special deals. These three are the most popular:

1. Buy a set of two or more of my horse books, and I tie them together with binder twine (used on hay bales) and include a free bookmark and a tiny plastic horse party favor tied onto the front of the set. I also void the state tax (which I cover).

2. Get a nice “horsie” gift such as a horse Christmas tree ornament or one of my other horse books if you buy the entire Keystone Stables set.

3.  Buy any four books on the table, get a fifth one free.

Offer a 20% coupon (which you’ve printed yourself with a graphics program):

The coupons go to folks who say, “I’m interested but can’t buy today.” Have an expiration date on the coupon and give them the coupon with your business card. Often, folks won’t follow through, but once in a while, someone will order.

Buy ad space in magazines:

This venue I’ve used very little except in local craft fair booklets or regional homeschool ad books. I can handle $25 or $50 per quarter of a page, but horse lovers’ magazines? Writers’ magazines? Farm or ranch magazines? Kids’ magazines? They start at something like $300 per quarter page and $1200 for a full page, which is far beyond what my budget can afford, so I stick with the “small stuff.”

So there you have it. Decide how much money you want to invest in making money and get busy.

 

(More shameless promotion)

THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON

Try to solve the mystery of the hidden Civil War coins before Woody

and the kids at the sleuth camp do.

THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON

Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

(Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon Information) www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

(Montrose Christian Writers Conference) www.montrosebible.org, http://www.fb.com/MontroseChristianWriters

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September 7, 2015

Desktop Printing Saves Money

(Marketing and Promotion Number Eight)

Marketing your book(s) can be a very expensive endeavor, especially hard copy printing of advertisements and promotion.

How Can You Save?  One way you can save big time is to buy some quality cardstock and design your own “paper trail” using a desktop graphics and print program. I’ve designed and used all of the following:

1. Flyers/posters to hand to book store managers. If you’re fortunate enough that the store carries your books, the manager is usually willing to display your attractive posters somewhere in the store.

2. Brochures to have on your table when you do book signings or speaking engagements or to mail to prospective fans. Make sure the brochure has your name, phone number, website (and other key URLs), and email address on it.

3. Order forms: I’ve included an order form in my brochure, which features all the books’ covers with a short blurb about each one.

4. Business cards to “scatter abroad:” (I’ve already discussed in Marketing Post Number Two how to use business cards effectively both directly and indirectly.)

5. Your own letterhead for stationery featuring you as an author and a graphic of your book cover.

6. Coupons for special deals: In a previous post, I’ve already mentioned I’ve used coupons with book signings for prospective customers who are “really interested but don’t have enough money today to buy.” Give them a 10% off or free shipping coupon if they buy books by a certain deadline. You’ll soon find out who really meant that little cliché. It’s very easy to make your own coupons using a graphics program like the Print Shop.

All these “paper” marketing ideas require little time and a lot of creativity to produce attractive “ads” to promote you and your book. So jump on the self-publishing band wagon and get your name in print in all these different venues. You’ll be surprised how effective this type of campaign can be, and it won’t empty your pockets.

 (More Shameless Promotion)

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

Skye has her hands full trying to teach a deaf boy the correct way to ride Western. When Jonathan and a horse come up missing, Skye and Champ spearhead a search party into the PA mountains to try to find them.

Keystone Stables Book 4

Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books (Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips)  www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

(Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon Information) www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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August 31, 2015

A Word About Mass Mailings

(Marketing and Promotion Number Seven)

Have you ever thought about doing a mass mailing campaign with printed versions of your books? Have you counted the cost? If you did the campaign, what were the results?

I’ve tried two different kinds of mass mailings, both with little or no results. At least, I think there were little or no results. They cost a couple hundred dollars total, which, of course, is a chance I took. Both campaigns appeared to be ineffective for me:

  1. I purchased a Christian school directory with hundreds of addresses of most of the Christian schools in the U.S.A. I bought 100 copies of book one, A HORSE TO LOVE, in my Keystone Stables Series, selected the schools with the largest enrollment, and sent each school a free book with information on an insert to order more. I received one thank-you letter from a school in California but not one order from any schools. Whether the schools went online to Zondervan to order more of my books, I’ll never know.
  2. I designed my own attractive flyer with all my books listed with their covers in color and a description of the book, a price listing, and an easy-to-use order form. I sent about 50 order forms to libraries, book stores, and “horsie” places like summer camps for kids across the country. The result! One order.

Now, like I said, I’ll never know if any of this promotion afforded me some sales made by these places directly to Zondervan or at book stores in their vicinities. But the response to me personally had me conclude it was not worth the effort.

My advice to you about mass mailings? Don’t bother. You’ll make better use of your time and money going to Starbucks for a cappuccino!

(More shameless promotion)

THE LONG RIDE HOME

Book 8. Keystone Stables

Foster kid Skye has no idea where her real parents are, but then she meets an aunt she never knew she had

 and sets out on a quest to find her mom and dad.

Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

(Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon Information) www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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