Tag Archives: Events

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

‘Tis the Season – Sell Your Book to Holiday Shoppers

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

I awoke in a panic this morning. With the holidays just around the corner, I need to get cracking on my gift shopping. I like to buy unique, hand-crafted gifts and often attend my local Gift and Hobby Show. And it hit me… what a great place for authors to sign and sell their books.

Think about it – you have an audience whose sole purpose is to buy, buy, buy. And we already know that books make great gifts. Combine the two and you have the makings of some potentially solid holiday sales.

I Googled “holiday expos” and found 604,000 results, “holiday shopping shows” yielded 89 million results. From Columbus, OH to Brisbane, Australia you can find a holiday craft, hobby and shopping expo. To find an event or two in your area, use events sites like www.zvents.com, www.eventbright.com, www.eventful.com, upcoming.yahoo.com or check with your local Chamber of Commerce, houses of worship, schools and fairgrounds. Events usually start mid-November and run strong through mid-December. There are usually fees to obtain booth space so be sure to consider the cost vs. how many books you’ll think you can sell or consider sharing booth space to save money.

If you do decide to participate in a holiday bazaar, be sure to promote yourself by sending out marketing materials, updating your website, Facebook, and adding your information to event sites like the one’s mentioned above.

Don’t forget to bring a tablecloth, signing poster and easel, book stands to prop up your book, copies of book reviews, cash to make change, more books than you’ll think you’ll sell and, most importantly, holiday spirit and a smile.

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 Signings: An Extraordinary Adventure!

By Jann Robbins, Author

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!

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!

Indie Author Community Outreach

by Shelley Rogers, Marketing Manager

One question I’m frequently asked by independent/self published authors is, “….how do I go about getting a booksigning with a major book retailer?”

Unfortunately, it’s not a fun question to answer because often, requests to major book retailers by indie author’s result in a negative response or ignored altogether.  In defense of book retailers, over one million books a year are published so logically and logistically, it would be impossible for every published author to be hosted at an instore event.  However, the reality and restraints of this industry does not minimize the sting of not being invited to the party.

Author Solutions, Inc. announced on Wednesday that they will be sponsoring book signings for several of its independent authors at select Borders stores October 8-10 in Seattle, Washington and Indianapolis, Indiana.  The goal of these signings is to connect local authors with readers in their community. 

“We’re pleased to be working with Borders to support Indie Author Weekend. Bookstores like Borders serve an important role as a community gathering place, and we believe events like these, which feature local authors, strengthen the bond between a community and its bookstore,” said Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer.

Kudo’s to Borders for connecting local grown authors with their immediate community while acknowledging the voice and relevance of the independent writer. 

For a list of participating stores and authors, check out the following link: http://www.prweb.com/releases/author_solutions/indie_book_weekend/prweb4614154.htm

Events: Thinking Outside the Bookstore

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

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.

When looking to promote and sell your book through signings, get out a pen and paper, start brainstorming and consider the following:

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.