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Posts Tagged ‘author events’

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How are reviews, publicity and cross-promotion different?

Obtaining reviews (or really any type of publicity - newspaper articles, radio interviews, online chats or blog carnivals, etc.) is not the same as cross promotion. They are done for somewhat different reasons. Yes, they both are done to increase sales, but the audience and approach for each are different.

I think cross-promotion also goes beyond listings on other websites (link exchanges) and commenting on each others blogs about your products.

I define cross promotion much more broadly. I’ll take my own book as an example (www.roadtripdream.com). When the book first came out, I tried to come up with a list of COMPLIMENTARY businesses to mine - businesses who did different things than I did, but who might have a common interest with me in "cross promoting" each others businesses. Some of the companies that I came up with included AAA (mentioned often in the book), RVIA (the GoRVing people), MyTripJournal.com, PleasureWay (the maker of the RV we used on our trip), Good Sam Club and a couple of others. Shoot big, right?

These are what I consider to be long term sales. In other words, you can’t just call up one of these companies with an idea and walk away with a sale. RVIA I worked on for three years before we became national spokespeople for them and toured the country on their behalf doing media interviews, talking to people at the national AARP Life@50+ convention and, yes, mentioning and selling our book as our credential of authority.

With PleasureWay and subsequently RoadTrek, I never was able to implement my idea with them - giving talks in their retail dealers locations with the book as a gift for coming to hear the talk about RVing in a PleasureWay. A great way, I thought for them to build a list of potential buyers.But not everything works out along the way.

We traveled for AAA-Oregon for two years doing talks and promoting our book and AAA. For The Good Sam Club, I co-wrote a technology column with Dan Parlow of MyTripJournal for two years. He and I also did cross promotion on both our websites - I was the featured travel story for over a year - and he and I did joint RV shows where we both spoke separately on our areas of expertise and shared a booth - I sold my book and he showed how the MyTripJournal website recorded that trip. My map, his website and my book - great cross promotion. We both sold a lot at those events.

So, you see, cross promotion can go way beyond just simple links - it can lead to all kinds of opportunities if you are just a little creative and very patient. Almost every book has opportunities like these lurking inside the author’s imagination - if only you thought about it in a way that would help both businesses - not just you, but them also. The old WIIFM theory reigns true - What’s In It For ME!

Each of these opportunities eventually led to other interviews, articles, web links, sales to other points of distribution (ie Camping World, Traviler Life, etc.) and all kinds of fun things along the way.

So what businesses are complimentary to your book and how could you pitch a cross promotion with them? I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with some great ideas.

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Are Book Award Contests Worth the Fees?

So many of my blog posts come out of responding to a question from a client or colleague and this is no exception.

Here’s why I think book awards are valuable to authors who are struggling to get recognition and feedback for their books: 

·         Stimulates sales – most people don’t care or understand what the award or sticker is – only that the book has one.

·         Stimulates bookings – get more radio interviews, book signings and speaking gigs

·         Provides credibility and feedback on the title for the author/publisher

·         Good for putting on your media materials to add credibility

·         Gets buyers in book stores, libraries and other outlets a reason to at least look at a book twice

·         The “gold seal” impresses consumers to buy the book when in a store or at a signing

·         Might get someone interested who wouldn’t be otherwise – like a traditional publisher – again it is the “second look” idea 

I have a story that I often tell about a book signing we did where we ran out of the books that the store had ordered from our distributor (they weren’t stickered), so I went to the car and brought in another case, which just happened to already be stickered. Pretty soon, the people who had bought the earlier store copies were coming back wanting their stickers – “why doesn’t mine have the award stickers on it?”  Geez, fortunately, I had brought extra stickers in my kit of supplies, so I went and got them and stickered their books – and the extras we left at the store. 

People are weird.  But I do know that my awards have helped my books and my consulting business.  Having won the Ben Franklin for the best marketed booked in 2006 was the start of my consulting business – people started calling me to help them with their books too.So awards are good for not just books.

I guess I feel that the small fee to enter (if you have a worthy book), is insignificant compared to the possible “good things” that can come from it. And yes, as many people point out, it is a good source of revenue for the company holding the contest, but they do have expenses for shipping to judges, preparing the awards, and in the case of the IPPYs and Ben Franklins – they put on quite a nice event for the winners and provide some publicity around the award winners.

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Organizing a Successful Virtual Book Tour

Let’s face it: Unless you are a celebrity, traveling the country and hitting up bookstore after bookstore for signings is probably not going to sell many books. You’ll more than likely spend way more for travel than you’ll make in book sales. Enter the virtual age. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can set up a virtual author book tour and reap real rewards from this effective—and inexpensive!—marketing tool.

So what is a virtual author book tour? Basically it involves visiting—virtually, of course—a group of websites for a period of time. The visits can take several different forms: interviews, guest posts, book reviews, book excerpts, and so on. (You can read more here in an interview I did with Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., and author of Red Hot Internet Publicity.) The sites usually range from blogs, websites, online radio stations, and social networking sites. The purpose is to increase an author’s online exposure, drive additional traffic to his or her website, increase search engine rankings, and hopefully sell more books.

It’s not difficult to set up a virtual tour, but it will take some research, planning, and followup. You can do it yourself–or you can hire a company to do it for you. We’ve been setting up tours for authors for the past year or so, and we’ve learned a lot as far as what is needed to make a book tour successful.

I consider the first two items on the list to be essential; we have found it is much more difficult to set up a successful tour with authors who are not active online and who do not wish to blog regularly. I believe it is far less beneficial to the hosts as well, to host these types of authors, and they are less apt to agree to an appearance. And frankly, I don’t blame them!) 

  • Be an active blogger who not only blogs regularly but who comments on others’ blogs. Make yourself known in the “blogosphere.”
  • Be active in social media sites (we recommend Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). You don’t necessarily have to have 10,000 Twitter followers, but you should be networking on these sites, providing valuable content where appropriate, and building your following. 
  • Have a capture system on your website (and I’m assuming you have one that highlights your book or that has a page about your book) so you can collect email addresses and build your list. Provide those who sign up with something of value—such as a free report or subscription to your newsletter.
  • Have a call to action on your website instructing visitors to purchase your book, such as “Buy your copy today!”
  • Develop a list of potential hosts based on sites your target market hangs out on. If you’re an active blogger in your genre already, chances are you’ve got a list of sites you check regularly. Find others. Concentrate on those who get a fair amount of traffic.
  • Be familiar with the sites you plan to approach so you can avoid those that would not be appropriate. Send a personal inquiry, letting them know you’ve been following their site and emphasizing why your appearance there would benefit their readers/listeners. Include a link to your website where they can read more details about your book, your author bio, and other pertinent links. Indicate the date ranges of your tour; plan ahead as some sites are booked well in advance. You probably won’t want to book more than one or two appearances per day.
  • Respond immediately to replies, sending a review copy of the book promptly when it is requested. Confirm the details—date, type of appearance, and topic desired.
  • Keep track of where you will be appearing and when. (We use an Excel spreadsheet.) Follow up with your host a couple weeks before your appearance. Make sure they have everything they need from you, including a photo of you and your book as well as your bio.
  • Let everyone know. Once you start getting appearances scheduled for your virtual tour, start letting your friends and fans on Twitter and Facebook know about it. Be sure to include details—including links—on your website, blog, and newsletter.
  • Visit frequently.The day of your appearance, make sure to visit the website or blog regularly, answering questions and responding to comments. If your appearance involves a live podcast, be ready for questions.
  • Follow up with all your hosts afterward and be sure to thank them.

We love virtual author book tours. It’s a great way for authors to increase exposure, gain new fans, and sell more books. Hosts too benefit by gathering additional visitors to their sites. And there is no chance for jetlag!

Guest Post by Sue Collier from her blog at Self Publishing Resources

As a writing coach and publishing consultant, Sue has worked with hundreds of authors, helping them write, edit, and publish hundreds of books. My book The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is slated for publication by Writer’s Digest in March 2010. I currently own Self-Publishing Resources; we provide book writing, book packaging, and book marketing services for self-publishers and small presses.

 

 

 

 

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10 Tips for Successful Book Store Events

 

Here are the 10 things that any author should REQUIRE of a book store when booking an event - if you don’t get these things, it will be a waste of time.

1) Stock books a month prior to the event and display prominently with a sign announcing the event
2) Have signs at the cash register about the event with fliers for patrons to take with them (better if they stuff them into every purchase bag)
3) Have the event and information about it on their website 1-3 months in advance
4) Talk it up in their newsletter at least one month in advance
5) Post it to appropriate "calendars" in local newspapers and other media
6) Send media announcements (PR) about event (author should send to their media list also) - written by either the author or the store
7) Author should attempt to get booked on local radio or TV within a day or so of the event
8) Author needs to post event on their website with a link to book store website 1-3 months in advance
9) Author and book store should utilize any local blogs or websites that will promote the event.
10) Author needs to post to Twitter, Linked In groups, FB and other appropriate social media several times in the week prior to the event.

Here is an article about one of my most successful events - in tiny, little Spokane, WA

Here’s to more great events that make independent publishers look great!

"If it is to be, it is up to me."

 

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