Now is the time to get that new 2011 calendar out and commit to:
If you can check the first off of the list, the others will be much easier to come by. Learning more about marketing can be as easy as knowing what book events are happening in 2011 and reading about, attending or signing copies of your book at one or more of them. Across the U.S. are several amazing book festivals, and if you happen to live near one or are lucky enough to afford the time and cost to travel to one, you should.
Below are just a handful of book festivals/fairs to consider in 2011:
Tucson Festival of Books Tucson, Arizona; March
Philadelphia Book Festival Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; April
LA Times Festival of Books Los Angeles, California, April
Brooklyn Heights Book Festival Brooklyn, New York; September
Decatur Book Festival Decatur, Georgia; September
National Book Festival Washington, D.C. at the National Mall; September
Texas Book Festival Austin, Texas; October
Wisconsin Book Festival Madison, Wisconsin; October
Litquake – San Francisco’s Literary Festival San Francisco, California; October Miami Book Fair Miami, Florida; November
Be sure to Google your surrounding cities for book festivals, fairs, and events – city, school, church and Parks and Rec sponsored. You might be surprised to find one near you.
This is a guest post from Jann Robbins, author of Harold and Me and widow of Harold Robbins, the best-selling American fiction author. Jann has years of experience with books and book marketing. She is currently blogging about her life with Harold, old Hollywood and all the stories behind the stories on http://haroldrobbinsnovels.wordpress.com/.
I love book signings, except when no one shows up! I have done book signings for my own novels as well as my husband’s novels and most have been packed with enthusiastic readers. But, there are times when you sit alone. I have been a participant of book signings since 1982 and seen a lot of changes. I began my experience in the book business with the #1 best-selling author in the world, Harold Robbins. He signed hundreds of books, talking and sharing with his reader. Some wanted special inscriptions and he always accommodated them. If we frequented a particular restaurant some people would bring their books over to him and ask him to sign. He denied no one. It was his pleasure, so I felt I learned from the best.
After Harold was no longer here to sign his books I was asked to sign for him. Since I was not the author I wanted to give his fans a tidbit, a story to take away with the book. I was always grateful that they had gotten into their car, drove and attended a book signing. It was a genuine pleasure to meet each one of them.
Book signings always have an embedded treasure awaiting the author, and usually one that you will always cherish. So, don’t avoid book signings. You are the entrepreneur for your work, and the person who has created the characters that will engage the reader. It’s up to you to make the event “pop,” not only in reading excerpts, but giving your reader something they don’t know about your story, your characters or you. And remember, you are meeting someone who has taken the time to come see you. Always give them a memory. And if no one is in line, go into the store and engage a customer in conversation. If they don’t like your book genre, recommend another writer. And for you, finding that treasure in the moment with your reader is priceless.
I was in Albuquerque once signing soon after Harold’s passing. I was talking about his life and times. The book store had a glass storefront. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up and let a girl, about 14 years old, out of the double-parked car. Mentally, I dismissed her as someone who would be coming to the book signing. And yet, I was completely surprised when I looked out on the crowd several minutes later and she was sitting on the back row. I immediately engaged her in conversation, asking her if she knew the writer, Harold Robbins. She answered emphatically that she did and began to repeat Harold’s history about earning a million dollars before his 21st birthday and losing his commodities in the sugar market. All the guests were fascinated with her and so was I. I told her that Harold would have loved to be there to meet her. She looked up at me smiling, “Oh, he is, that’s why I came.” Needless to say, it was an extraordinary moment and a “treasure”. I gave her a copy of the book I was signing with a special inscription about Harold.
Being an author/entrepreneur is an extraordinary adventure!
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!
Book adaptations for the screen are all the rage. Have been for years. Filmmakers are always looking for new and fresh material to adapt into movies for mass consumption. If you think about it, there are only a set number of ideas in Hollywood, and the majority of them usually find their beginnings on the printed page. Now generally, the main books set for adaptation generally come in the form of whatever latest best-seller is setting the world on fire. Authors like John Grisham, Stephen King or Tom Clancy represent some of the names that usually appear on the hotlist of producers. It seems whatever they write usually ends up as some sort of film property. If this is true, how can an indie author compete?
Generally, those marquee authors get their film deals not just because they’re popular and well read – placing them in the sights of studios and producers – but also because their agents negotiate deals for adaptation. Their agents work around the clock to sell the rights to their films, to offer studios first-look deals to whatever book comes down the pike. For the indie author who generally has no agency representation, the opportunity to see their work on the silver screen seems like a near-impossibility. But nothing is impossible.
Arguably, the first step towards seeing your words come to life on screen is to write something worth watching. It seems like such an arbitrary thing to say, but the reality is that there are many authors who want their work to end up on screen; however they never stop to think whether or not it should. If you’re one of those authors who want to see their dreams come to life, then the first step is to write something that you yourself would pay to see. Of course, opinions vary, but to be able to visualize just what you’re writing as film material would help make selling your property a bit easier.
There are many steps to take to make it all happen, but for the indie author, there is always help. With the new Hollywood Book-to-Screen packages from AuthorHive, authors have the unique opportunity to have help in preparing their material to catch the eye of producers and filmmakers always hungry for new and exciting content. Authors will work with professionals who are skilled in creating treatments and even scripts based on the author’s material, all with the goal of attracting the attention needed to make the transition from book to screen. Certainly, there are no guarantees in life, but with the help of AuthorHive there is finally a chance for indie authors to get their work on the Silver Screen along with the likes of Grisham, King and Clancy.
Bookstores seem like obvious, ideal places to hold a book signing. While they seem obvious, they may not be ideal for your book. Bookstores contain thousands of titles on a multitude of topics. Where does your book fit into their shelves? And I mean fit in, tuck away, go virtually unnoticed among the myriad titles and non-book items stores now carry. Sometimes you need to think outside of the store. Literally, outside.
Have you written a gluten-free cookbook? Or a history of agriculture in your county? If so, consider setting up a booth at your local farmers’ market and conduct a signing there. Is your book about WWII? Consider setting up at your local VFW or during a Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day event. Perhaps your book is about equine or large animal care? Then maybe a table at your state fair is the place for you. Fantasy or SciFi book? Check out gaming stores, gatherings and conventions.
Niche & Genre: Let’s say your book is a gluten-free cookbook. Clearly, it falls under the Cookbook category, but couldn’t it also fall under Health & Fitness, Education, Family & Relationships and Medical? When you expand your book’s subjects, you expand your opportunities.
Know your audience and their habits: Using the same book, think of who your audience is. Those with Celiac and their families are potential readers, and beyond that, think nurses, nutritionists, health food store owners, chefs, and the list goes on. After identifying your audience consider their hangouts – health food stores, hospitals, restaurants.
Search creatively: Armed with your book’s subjects and audience, you’re ready to get creative. Start with Google. Enter your key words and search. I typed “gluten-free” and “recipes” and “Indianapolis” and over 100,000 results popped-up. Some aren’t helpful, but many are. I found a local TV station’s site which has a community events tab. There I found an upcoming food event where I could hold a book signing. Beyond the Google search, check your local hospital, parks dept, community newspapers, neighborhood associations and chamber of commerce sites and find out about upcoming events.
When you think outside of the bookstore, you step into a world of opportunity. Widen your subject, go to where your audience is and watch your sales grow.