Book Promotion Overwhelming? Pick the Plums Touching Your Nose

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” —Napoleon Hill

 

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many of us authors dread marketing our books. It’s difficult, time-consuming, and often we’re unsure it works.

The least we can do is open our weary marketing eyes and grab the promotional opportunities directly in front of us. Those ripe plums.

Opportunity Plums

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.  Fans

When someone tells you they enjoyed your book and why, say thank you and ask them to post a review on various sites. Most, because they enjoyed your work, will leave at least one review. Make it easy for them. Say all they need to write is what they told you about your story. Email them links to the spots to write reviews on online bookstores and reader sites.

2.  “Persons of Influence”

Here are examples of my plums. Notice, in none of these did I seek the plum. Those plums appeared because I worked on friendships or put myself out in the reader world.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

•  A friend in my church invited me to her book club. I thought joining a book club too time consuming, but I accepted her invitation. I learned she wanted me to visit once to introduce me to the local bookstore owner who attended the book club. The owner offered to set up an event for Calculated Risk at her store.

•  I posted about the two women who were the only ones to attend my first local library event. They were involved in eight library book clubs. They suggested I come back. I asked if they’d promote to their clubs a second event. They assured me they would.

•  A few friends asked me to let them know if I ever did a book signing in my former city. I knew I should arrange an event there at a library, a bookstore, or my former church. It seemed overwhelming. Then a librarian friend from my former church emailed me. She wanted to buy a copy of Calculated Risk for the church library. A plum. Who better to help me arrange an event in that city? I asked, and she graciously agreed to help. 

•  A popular author and I have the same agent. Though time-consuming, I’m active in our agent’s email group for her authors. When I announced my contract for Calculated Risk to the group, this popular author emailed me and offered to interview me on her high-traffic blog.

by joncutrer
by joncutrer

3.  Conference Centers 

Many have bookstores connected to them. You pay the fees and do the work to travel to and attend conferences at these centers. Why not ask their bookstores to carry your book. The bookstore rep I called yesterday said they usually carry a few of attendee authors’ books if they asked. And since I’d asked, she’d carry mine.

 

Pluck the promotional plums hanging in front of your nose. Click to tweet.

 So, keep active in writer and reader groups, put yourself into the reader world starting with small events, and be alert to the plums that drop in front of your nose.

 Which promotional plums directly in front of you did you pluck?

Your Author Event Was NOT a Failure

“One fails forward toward success.” — Charles F. Kettering

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I share the story of my meet-the-author library event for one purpose:

Don’t bemoan the poor response to your author event; look for the hidden successes. Click to tweet.

Act 1 – The Setup

 

I called a library. The event coordinator detailed impressive ways she promoted author events. She said the library was dedicated to helping authors. According to her suggestion, we set up a weekday date from 11AM to 1PM.

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Later, I delivered my press release content and book cover poster, which the coordinator displayed at the entrance. It would greet patrons for a month.

We checked whether my MacBook Air would work with their projector. Too iffy. I’d bring my large-screen desktop.

 

The head librarian said 4 to 12 attended these events. No surprise to me.

Act 2 – The Preparation

 

I wanted to add activities different from the normal ones. Of course, I’d wear my Cisney costume from Calculated Risk’s cover with yellow stickies dotting my suit.

Calculated Risk by Zoe M. McCarthy

Cisney3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I prepared and timed activities to fit a 90-minute period, leaving time to settle in and chat. Here’s the schedule titles:

1.  Doughnuts. Bring enough for participants and library staff.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2.  Writing journey with a twist: A String of Nevers. Perform my journey using catchy titles for each journey stage. Raise a NEVER sign each time I utter “never.”

3.  Story behind the story. Keep it to a few entertaining stories.

4.  Story tidbits. Tell about 12 story-related items from my story basket. End each blurb with an intriguing story question.

5.  Scene 1. Give a dramatic reading.

6.  Book Trailers. Ask for feedback on Calculated Risk’s two trailers.

7.  Q & A

8.  Bird of Paradise Napkin. Invite participants to fold a book-related napkin fold.

9.  Drawing. Give away a copy of Calculated Risk.

Act 3 – The Live Event

 

Sometimes, discussed promotion fails to happen. Such was true for this event. But I set up everything and was ready.

Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By 11:00, no one had arrived.

At 11:15, I enjoyed a doughnut, telling God everything was fine, I trusted him no matter what.

At 11:25, I told the mortified-for-me coordinator we’d try again in the spring. I packed up.

A woman came in: “I hear you’ve packed up and will return in the spring.” We chatted. Another woman arrived disappointed I was leaving. So we went on with the show.

 

Successful Reviews

 

1.  For trusting God and refusing to lay blame for no attendees, God blessed me with two women.

2.  The two ladies are active in eight library book clubs. They told me to come back, and they’d promote the event using their connections. They recommended a bookstore where local authors do well in book signings. And they both bought a book.

3.  I’ll use my preparation for this event for future ones. Rehearsing to two women is far better than to my mirror. I’ll tweak my presentation, and I’ll be ready for the next event.

4.  The head librarian recommended the same bookstore the women did and supplied names of contacts.

5.  I had fun.

What blessings have you received from an author event?