Create a Successful Bookstore Event

May 27, 2014

Bookstore events typically occur in the spring and fall because that’s when national author tours take place and bookstores typically give these authors priority on the calendar.

That doesn’t mean you can’t create a successful bookstore event, however. Here are some ideas to help you.

  • Know what the bookstore’s events are like and what you can expect in terms of the bookstore promoting the event, what attendance is likely to be, and who frequents the bookstore.
  • Make your reading an event. Some things to consider are a publication party with treats, an informational seminar, a demonstration (cooking, crafts, arts, music), or a PowerPoint slide show that’s really a show and tell.
  • Guard against overexposure. Avoid setting up events too close to each other in a short space of time. I set up a book signing for a romance writer in a bookstore in the northern suburbs of the twin cities. The next day she was scheduled for a book signing in the southern suburbs, a distance of about thirty-five miles.
  • Use whatever media resources you can. Include the book’s title, the author’s name, the publication date, the ISBN, the price of the book, a description of the book, something about the author, and how people can get the book. Create your own list of friends, fans, family, and associates. Don’t overlook libraries, clubs, organizations, chambers of commerce, colleges, and other groups. At a minimum, you can alert them to your event. You may even book an event with the organization since they have calendars to fill too.
  • If you’re doing a reading, practice reading aloud. Mark the place you want to read so you can easily access it without fumbling around. Read clearly so you can be heard and understood. Use inflection where appropriate to make your reading come alive for your audience.
  • Go to bookstores in which you are not having an event and introduce yourself. Offer to autograph any copies of your book they have in stock. If they aren’t stocking your book yet, offer to come back in a couple of weeks to sign them when they arrive.

People cannot purchase something unless they know it exists. You’ve written your book. It’s published. Now your work really begins. You cannot be shy about selling your book. Strive to do something each day to let the world know your book exists. Happy writing!

Marketing Your Writing is a Journey, not a Sprint

May 12, 2014

I encourage you to increase your awareness of how many radio and television guests are pushing books. I also encourage you to be honest with yourself about how well you retain the book’s title, author’s name, etc. Most of us won’t recall either one shortly after the guest moves on.

Yet, there are some books and authors we do remember, so what did they do to make themselves “famous”? One word sets those we remember apart from those we don’t–repetition.

Steps to getting famous:

  • Work up a plan for getting your name out everywhere. Consider venues that are both large and small–local shows, local print, local events can serve you, as can national opportunities.
  • Consider all the different types of media available to you in your campaign to be famous. Get quoted in print. Become a guest on radio or television. Write a guest blog post or article for online opportunities. Speak to groups. Appear at events.
  • Expand so you reach beyond your niche. Romance writers cross over into mysteries. Sales experts expand into marketing. Even Stephen King wrote a book outside the horror genre. Maybe something in your personal life will move you into new arenas you never thought of before.
  • Timing is everything. If you’re writing an article, make sure it’s relevant for when it’s being published. I’m writing this the day after Mothers Day, which means I shouldn’t be wasting your time writing about what flowers to get Mom for her day.
  • Expect you, not the media, to reach your audience. Think of the media as vehicles, but you are the driver. Fame is fleeting, but if you keep working at it, readers and editors will recognize your name, and recognition can turn into book sales, article sales, etc.

Start by brainstorming the things you’re willing to do to market your writing, whether marketing your book or selling articles. Avoid being a “also-ran” television or radio guest with a book. Work up a plan and follow it. Happy writing!