Guest post by Lois W. Stern
Going on vacation? Bet you can’t wait! But with a little advance planning, you can combine your “fun in the sun” with a few book marketing ideas.
Here are five ideas to set your marketing wheels turning.
1.Think of a topic for your presentation that relates to your books, but one that isn’t just about selling books.
My current books are filled with inspiring, true stories that come to me through an “Authors helping Authors” project I initiated four years ago. I decided that along with sharing some of these inspiring stories, my workshop would center on How to Write a Winning Short Story.
- Create a flyer or post card with your name and head-shot, title of your presentation, and its proposed length. Be sure to include your contact information: phone and e-mail address.
- Find a venue for your workshop.
If you want to present at a local library, you should begin well in advance of your trip, as libraries often schedule their events as much as six months ahead. Do a Google search for the closest libraries. Get their phone numbers. Call and ask for the name and e-mail address of the person in charge of booking presentations. Talk directly to that person if you can. it always helps to learn what topic they would be interested in and perhaps tweak your presentation to meet their needs. If e-mail communication is all that’s available, send a brief message putting something like “Follow up to my phone call” in the subject line.
But think of other venues that relate to the topic of your book. If you have a book about photography, think about art centers or museums. If your book relates to a special interest as sailing or food preparation, try to connect with a like-minded group or club. Your local reference librarian might have just the right connection for you. Even a Google search can be helpful in connecting you with just the right venue.
MeetUp groups are popping up all over the country. Check out your area for a group that relates to the genre of your book. If you find one, offer to do a presentation for them.
I gave a presentation at a local library last winter while vacationing in Florida. I decided that along with sharing some of my inspiring stories, I would create a workshop focused on the elements of a compelling short story. I began my workshop by introducing the elevator pitch, giving aspiring writers some hands-on practice with a most useful skill.After telling each story, I encouraged audience members to record an elevator pitch and share it with the group. With my help, we fine tuned them before moving on to the basic elements of a winning short story.
Outcome: Aside from selling some of my books,I received an honorarium and met a motivational speaker who entered and received a Finalist Award for her inspiring story, At Least Nothing Bad Happened. Her story is now published in Tales2Inspire ~ The Sapphire Collection, (Stories that Echo In the Mind), so it was a winning day for both of us!
Cruise ships often hold talent nights. Why not plan a storytelling event where you share a compelling scene from one of your books. Add a bit of drama to hold your audience in rapt attention: wear a special hat, bring a significant object, use different voices, add some background music – anything to grab their attention.
One night the social director on our Russian River cruise held a talent night. I told the director I didn’t exactly have a talent, but I could tell an inspiring story. I recounted The Voice, a mesmerizing story now published in Tales2Inspire ~ The Emerald Collection, (Beyond Coincidence stories). After I finished, you could hear a pin drop. I went on to explain that because there were so many intelligent, interesting people on board, I suspected that someone out there might have an inspiring story for me. Sure enough, the next day one of the passengers approached me with a story he thought might fill the bill. He did, and a super story at that! “And the Music Plays On” is another dynamite story, now published in Tales2Inspire ~ The Topaz Collection, (Stories of Awakenings). Did I sell books on that cruise ship? You bet! And if I had packed more, I would have sold dozens.
- Call the local book store in the area where you plan to vacation. Introduce yourself and your book, inquiring if they would be interested in scheduling a book talk/book signing event while you are in the area. There always seems to be an element of mystique surrounding the person from fifty miles or more away!.Be sure you understand and agree on all terms in advance: (i.e. who purchase and returns the unsold books, net to you the author, what publicity they provide and expected audience size.)
- Think Out of the Box for other venues.
I have a favorite little gift shop I frequent in Fl. with an interesting assortment of costume jewelry, knick knacks, women’s purses and more. I am a frequent customer there but never even noticed their small book corner. I talked to the owner about my books, she asked me to bring in a set for her to preview and she ordered six of them, paying me cash up front at a 60/40% split.
Our bottom line is to sell our books. But how we go about it makes all the difference. Always think in terms of “how you can give back” and you will stay ahead.
Do you have another idea oI how to market your book while no vacation? If so, in the spirit of “Authors Helping Authors” please add it in the comment box below.
If you think you might want to enter the Tales2Inspire contest, you should first do two things:
Lois W. Stern