Tag Archives: bookstores

The Role of an Author in a Successful Book Marketing/PR Campaign

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

Authors often ask me what the secret is to having a truly successful publicity campaign. I always give the same answer. “It’s as successful as you’d like it to be. But we’re on your side and we’ll give you 110%.”  The reason for my answer is very simple.  The amount of engagement an author is willing to provide often can make or break a campaign.  That means that it might help to wait until after that vacation or family cruise to have your publicist start pitching to the media.  As publicists, we’ll pitch as hard as we can to persuade the media to cover your book, but the author can help too!  Some of the best results have come from authors leveraging their publicist’s deliverables, like press releases and interview opportunity releases, to garner their success.  Even just having a publicist helps!

1)   Start with your local bookstores. By having a local tie-in, those bookstores will often be more likely to cover you immediately. Everyone loves that small town feel, and by getting to know your local bookstore, they can help the indie author network to larger chains.  

2)   Pay attention to festivals and trade shows in your area.  If your book is about Leonardo da Vinci, and there is a Renaissance festival in your home state every year, think about contacting the festival coordinators to participate.  Whether you’re in the expo tent or dressed in period clothing in your own booth, posing as da Vinci and teaching young kids, it’s a perfect opportunity to get your book noticed.  If you’re not sure it works, throw the idea to your publicist. A little creativity can go a long way.

3)   Learn social media.  Participating in social media is one of the best things an author can do for their book.  By actively reading, commenting, posting, blogging and participating online about your book will help garner success and results. If you don’t know anything about social media, find someone who does.  Even if you’re not a professional social media guru, every little bit helps. Post about your book. Blog about your book. Talk about your book.

4)   Communication is vital. Talk to your publicist and ask lots of questions. When your publicist knows the things you’re doing to leverage success, they can use it too!  Pitching strategically often comes from author suggestion about travel plans, social media engagement, bookstore engagement, and author activities—like trade shows.

So when authors ask me that question, you can bet my answer starts with these four tips. Your publicist isn’t just working for you, they are collaborating with you.  Your publicist should be your friend, guiding you along the way, and giving you tips to get your name noticed not only in the media, but the general public as well.  Be the change you wish to see in your publicity campaign!

To learn more about AuthorHive publicity campaigns, check out the video link below:

http://www.authorhive.com/Video/PublicityServices.aspx

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Securing a Book Signing: Bookstores Really Do Want to Make Money

by Rebecca Roberts, Customer Support Supervisor

The public concept of bookstores used to be fairly straight forward – you would go to a bookstore to buy books.  Now they invite you in with the smell of great coffee, an indie soft rock artist playing in the background, and activities for the kids.  It seems as if this is all to create an improved environment for the good of the customer, but really it increases the time people stay, play, and yes walk out with a handful of books. When it comes to the topic of book signings, the question the manager will be asking themselves, but rarely you, is this:  will you be making the bookstore money?

There is a magical combination of things a bookstore manager is looking to hear when being approached for a book signing by a local author:

1) Your book is available to order, or better yet, has a sales history at their particular store.
Many authors want to jump straight into a book signing with a store that has no history with their book. Before going for the book signing ask if the store will stock a few copies of your book on a trial basis – and when they do – make sure that every copy is sold. The goal of this operation being twofold: to have the store stock your book on a regular basis and to show them that a larger event involving a higher quantity of books will be successful.

2) You have a quality book that their demographic of consumer will be interested in and likely to buy.
When I was a bookstore manager I had a mid- list author approach me about a book signing of her erotica title. I looked the book up (no sales history with our store), but even beyond that I knew that her signing would not do well. Why? Because my store’s top selling categories included spirituality and religion, teen, and children’s.  I am sure that her book was great, but it was not a great fit for our fairly conservative customer base. I suggested she try the bookstore downtown.

3) You will do the heavy lifting.
This is where you as the author can shine. Let the store know that you have posters to put up the day of the event, bookmarks to hand out, and bookplates to sign in case there is a higher demand then there are books.  Don’t expect the store to bring in the crowd, let them know the number of people you are inviting and expect to attend, that you are posting the word about the event around town, either with physical flyers, community postings, a blurb in the community calendar, or via your blog or social media sites

Here is the reality that stores interested in presenting a warm community and literary image aren’t likely to offer up to you:  If you can convince the store that the traffic will significantly increase, that sales will result, and that all you are asking for is a table and space to sign, you may just find yourself behind that table with a pen in your hand.

Book Signing Basics: Don’t Just Sit There and Look Pretty

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

This past weekend I assisted several authors with bookstore signings at a major retailer. I learned a lot. I think the authors learned a lot. Some things are beyond the author’s control like store traffic & weather. Some things may be in the gray area of control such as in-store placement, signage, and announcements. And some things are very much in the author’s control.  As the author, you need to take control of your signing. Be approachable, active and be your own advertising agency.

Being approachable simply means smiling. Look inviting and open. Even if the crowd is light and the day isn’t going as planned, you need to keep the smile on your face throughout your event. Nothing turns away a potential customer like a scowl.

Being active means you need to seek out readers. Products, and especially books, don’t sell themselves. Don’t just sit there and smile, get out from behind your table and talk to shoppers, starting with those who are milling about your book’s genre section or those that have just entered the store. Engage them. Encourage them to read the back cover. Have a polished elevator speech and pitch the plot in 30 seconds – if you’re not succinct and confident when discussing your book, what does that say to your potential reader?

Being your own advertising agency means that you need to do your legwork prior to your signing. The store will likely not be of much assistance. Meet with them prior to the event and set expectations by telling them what you’d like for your signing. Suggest table location, provide a 25-word blurb announcement they can make periodically during your signing to let shoppers know you’re in the store, request they put your signing on their website and ask to put posters up in advance – in the entryway, near the restrooms (usually there is a bulletin board there) and in the café. Put flyers up around town – at the library, coffee shop and other places readers congregate. Send postcards, emails and post on Facebook and other social media.  Alert local events sites when and where your event is. Inviting family and friends may not result in many sales as they likely already have your book, but having a crowd around your table intrigues people and makes them more willing to stop by and see what’s going on.

Whether your signing meets your expectations or not is dependent on many factors. Remember each time you do a signing you’re gaining knowledge of what works and doesn’t and most importantly you’re gaining exposure … so smile!