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Posts Tagged ‘book signings’

October 5, 2015

PERSONAL APPEARANCES

Speaking at Conferences, Niche Audiences, and the Like

(Marketing and Promotion Post Number Twelve)

2.Author.Sign

The last few blogs, we’ve looked at eleven different ways to promote yourself and your books. I’ve saved today’s venue of marketing, “personal appearances,” until last because, for me, it’s been the most effective and profitable way of marketing my books. Why? There are several reasons:

  1. When I’m invited to speak, the inviting party usually pays for, at least, travel expenses. I don’t have to put my own money up front. Most of the time, I also receive a speaking honorarium as well. Even when I don’t sell many books, I have a little some monetary reimbursement for my time and effort.
  2. For some reason, authors are held in high regard in our society. People want to “get close to” authors and sometimes treat them like celebrities (even though you might be a no-name), so they will buy your book to take a piece of you home with them! It has been calculated that, when you speak, you can usually sell to at least a quarter of your audience. So, when I stand before a crowd, I usually have favorable sales. I’ve always had the opportunity to display my books on a table and sell before and after my spiel. I remember one time, I spoke on a Saturday at a ladies’ seminar in a New York town that hosted about 250 attendees. I took 50 of my Bible study guides with me and could have sold more (besides the first two books in the Keystone Stables series.)
  3. During book signings when I might be asked to speak, I consider it a great advantage to meet and greet fans, who have taken the time to come and see me. Sometimes they bring a few of my books they bought someplace else for me to autograph. But most of the time, they make that special trip to buy an autographed copy. Ever since my first book signing many years ago, I’ve offered special deals, token gifts, prizes in drawings, or free books to those who buy my books, especially a complete Keystone Stables set. However, if they buy only one book, I can be fairly certain they’ll be back for more, either by getting them from me, going to a local book store, or ordering them online. No matter which way the fan makes the purchase, it’s another book tallied toward the best-seller status.

Develop Your Unique Platform

So, your book’s being published, or it’s already released. If you haven’t developed a platform for yourself yet, spend some time thinking about that. If you’ve had a book published, then you can be considered an “expert” about something you’ve written. Speaking engagements WILL sell your books. You just need to get your name out there and go for it.

Do you write for children? Then speak about children to parents, PTFs, support groups, club leaders, etc. Do you write devotionals? Then speak to church groups, Bible study groups, missionary societies, etc. Do you write about animals? Just imagine all the groups, clubs, and organizations that support the care of animals of any kind.

And what kind of speaking engagements are most profitable? Here is the list that has helped me become a best-selling author:

1. Writers conferences – other writers want to read what has brought you your measure of success.

2. Church events, i.e. ladies’ days, children’s Sunday schools, Mother/Daughter banquets, homeschool gatherings – of course, with my Bible study guide, homeschool book, and K.Stables books, these groups are my niche.

3. Schools and niche audience clubs, i.e. riding academies

4. Community organizations, i.e. Senior Citizens clubs

5. Book stores (I’ve already addressed this issue. Make sure you are there on a BIG sales day of an authors’ fest day when a group of authors are invited) Sometimes, the manager will want you to do a reading. That helps draw an audience.

6. Radio and TV interviews (I’ve not been fortunate enough to do any TV)

And one last note about speaking. With the explosion in technology, I’ve converted all my “speeches” to colorful, graphics-active Power Points, and the audiences love them. It’s the most entertaining way to keep everyone focused on your books and you, and you can have a good time doing it, as well.

Well there you have my marketing heart in a huge nutshell of a dozen different posts. We’ve discussed 12 different venues for marketing your book over the last few weeks. Analyze your niche audience, plan a strategy to sell books, and hit the road, Jack.

Marsha (Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

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

 

More Shameless Promotion

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

KEYSTONE STABLES BOOK VOLUME 4

Keystone Stables Book 4

Skye and Champ face some tough challenges at a summer camp

when deaf boy Jonathan runs away on a horse and gets lost in the woods.

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Camp-Adventure-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003TFE5VI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444161591&sr=1-1&keywords=sUMMER+Camp+Adventure+by+Marsha+Hubler

 

 

 

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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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August 3, 2015

On Writing: Marketing Post Number Three

Marsha.Chipppy.Chpmnk.2013

“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):

  1. Blogsites and websites
  2. Business card distribution

Let’s tackle the book signing venue today:

Marsha.Selling.Pottsville (2)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 30 to 50 books), here’s what I did:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.Rachel.Mrs.H.Rebekah.Bk.Signing.Wellsboro.7.7.12
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
  6. If traffic was slow, I got out from behind the table and introduced myself to folks in other parts of the store.
  7. 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

CHAP.2013Brenda.Me.5.11.13

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers’ Blog) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

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

 

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July 20, 2015

A Word about Marketing and Promotion

Marsha.Bk.Signing.Munce.2013

If you’ve gotten a book published, then you’ve probably experienced the ins and outs, and ups and downs, of marketing your own work.

Book signings? I hate them. In another blog, I’ll tell you why.

Most writers hate all kinds of promotion and marketing because they take us away from valuable writing time; yet, they are a necessary evil to get our names out there in the public eye.

If you haven’t a big name that might pop up on a talk show or on syndicated radio programs (which WILL sell thousands of books), then you have to devise a plan to promote your work and yourself.

We’re going to post a few blogs about this topic because there’s SO much to know about marketing a book. Even if you are just in the process of writing your manuscript, you need to promote yourself, and one of the biggies these days is social media online.

So, today’s writing tip is a short one: start a website and a blog site. That’s one way to start getting the exposure you need to sell books. Then post on your blog regularly, at least once or twice a week to build up your following.

“But my book isn’t even out yet,” you might say.

Nevertheless, you can start drawing a fan base by writing either short excerpts of your book or writing about topics or themes similar to that of your book. I have two active blogs at the moment. The one, www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com is all about horses and is targeted at kids who are horse fans and would want to read my Keystone Stables books. My other blog, www.marshahubler.wordpress.com, targets writers and is primarily a service blog to help other writers with all facets of the writing/publishing business.

It takes years to build up a fan base, so devise a plan and get to it. Choose a theme or topics of interest that will draw folks to your sites. Get your name floating out there in cyberspace so when your book comes out, folks will, first of all, know who you are and will know about you and your book through your social media. Secondly, they’ll be eager to buy a book with an author with whom they’ve had direct contact.

Whether you’re planning to be published, have the contract in your hand, or already have your book out, get started today!

KEYSTONE STABLES BOOK ONE

A HORSE TO LOVE

Skye Nicholson is a hateful foster kid, but when she meets Christian foster parents and a gorgeous horse named Champ, her life is changed.

Keystone Stables Book 1

 

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On Writing:

The Christian Product Expo/Munce Group Event

 Munce.Breakfast.Hershey.2013

Would you like the opportunity to speak to 100 book retailers or book store owners all at once?

The CPE is That Opportunity

MUNCE.EVENT.BROCHURE.COVER

On Monday and Tuesday, January 21st and 22nd, I, along with a small group of traditionally published authors representing the Christian Authors Network, attended the annual Christian Product Expo CPE/Munce Group at the huge Hershey Lodge and Conference Center, Hershey, PA. As a member of  CAN, I was asked to give a ten-minute presentation about my books to over 100 independent book store owners and retailers at a breakfast Tuesday morning. After the breakfast, six of us authors autographed books that our publishers had provided for us. I thank the Lord that he opened up this opportunity of a lifetime to give a snapshot review of my Keystone Stables Series and my latest series, The Loves of Snyder County, to book buyers from all over. This meeting of authors and retailers, I believe, could only lead to more book sales, which makes everyone smile.

Also attending this three-day convention were 98 exhibitors (mostly book publishers) displaying their products: books, Bibles, gifts, jewelry, music, and church resources. Of course, their main interest in being at the convention was to advertise and sell their products to the book store owners and retailers. The schedule also included a Bible conference on Sunday, training workshops, roundtable discussions, and fellowship at meals during the three days, open to all the retailers, publishers, and authors.

What is the “Munce Group?”

The “Munce Group,” named after Chairman of the Board Bob Munce, is the Christian Product Expo’s smaller conference held in central PA every year in January. Its counterpart, the larger CPE is held every fall in different locations in the USA. This year, it will be held at the Embassy Suites, Murfreesboro, TN on September 22-24th.

I’ve never attended this larger convention, but I’ve heard it’s massive and takes all of the three days to “enjoy” it. I’d love to attend, but I understand it’s by invitation only, and since it’s in Tennessee, it might not work for me to make this year’s convention anyway.  I suppose if I pursued any of my four publishers, who might have exhibitors’ booths at this affair, any one of them could extend an invitation for me to represent them and have a book signing at their vending spot.

But at the moment, I’m still reflecting on the wonderful experience I just had at Hershey’s Munce Event, representing the CAN group, my books, and myself.

Marsha.Side.View.Bk.Signing.Munce.2013Marsha.Bk.Signing.Munce.2013

For more information go to:

http://www.munce.com/about.aspx

800-868-4388

http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/

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