Friday, May 27, 2011

 Marketing Tip:

For many writers when they hear the words 'multi-author book signing', the first thing they think is 'competition'. While it may be true when it comes to signings with a lot of authors, you can turn that 'competition' into a benefit if you team up with one or two other authors. You can join ranks to promote the event, thus help each other.

And it is a lot more fun than sitting a by yourself at a table. 

Create a brief video through Animato and post it on your website, blog, and Facebook, featuring the team of authors.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Marketing ---- Pictorial for 'The Daughters of the Potomac Series'.

Hi All,

So many book trailers have gotten to be the same, at least to me. Narration or lines of a synopsis on the clips. I wanted something different, and so I came up with this pictorial. There is no narration, or a synopsis of the stories. I want to give the reader a 'glimpse' and spark their imagination and interest. I want them to glean from the clips what the stories may entail.

Some of the photos are my own, such as the plantation manor, cabin, stone house, and Potomac River scenes. The women are from the age of silent film and early 20th century opera. 

Have I accomplished my goal in your opinion?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Preparing for a Book Signing Event


This does not have to be costly when you use the following.
The Internet 
Events Page 
Blog post 
Animoto - Create a simple 'Save the Date' video. You can make a 30 second video for free. It's very easy to do.

Packing Up:

Have all the following to pack. I recommend using a suitcase with rollers. Boxes are too difficult to carry in and out of an event. And if you are attending an event where you must bring your own books, a suitcase is perfect for hauling them.

In advance order books and bookmarks. I carefully watched as readers came to my table, what they chose to take with them, besides a copy of 'Surrender the Wind'. Bookmarks were the popular thing. I had standard size postcards and not one was picked up. But the bookmarks were gobbled up! Extra large postcards were picked up too. These had the book cover on the front and were the same size as my book. But bookmarks were the most popular. I buy all these items from Vista Print and have gotten most of them for free.

In your arsenal:
An Address Book for your readers to add their addresses for when you advertise through the mail. When my new series comes out, I'll be mailing the large postcards with all the information on the back. Each person that bought a book gladly wrote in their names and addresses for me. I assured them, I do not give out their names and addresses to anyone.
Small pad of paper
Gift bags (Get them cheap at a dollar store)
A large poster of your book. Vista print provides posters. They are not expensive, and once you've started purchasing from them you will receive email announcements for free produces. You can purchase a ready-made frame and set your poster up near your table. An easel is best for this. It's an initial purchase that will go a long way. You can purchase an easel for as low at $25 on Amazon.

I was blessed with a sister who is a graphic designer. She generously made me a retractable banner. These are very expensive. I've seen them online from $100 up to $400. If you cannot, or are not willing to pay that much for a banner, let me suggest Vista Print to you once more. They have lots of banners. I bought one, actually I got it for free. What Vista Print offers are not the retractable kind, but they are nicely made of vinyl and can be fixed across mostly anything. I only had to pay for the upload of the images I used. Buy 250 business cards from Vista Print ( sometimes they have a free offer) and start getting emails for free offers.

Setting Up:

Check with your hostess if she is going to provide a tablecloth. If not bring one of your own. Use a solid color. A pattern will clash with your book cover. Chose a color that compliments your book.
Stack several copies of your book on one end.
Place bookmarks and your address book beside them.

Extra Tips:
Do not over dress.
Smile and greet people warmly.
Focus on pleasing the attendees rather than how many books you sell.
Gimmicks don't work.
Do not overprice your book. At the most recent book signing, I sold more copies than most because I offered a Mother's Day Special of half off the cover price at $7. Some of the authors were selling their books for over $20 because 'they are signed'. They either sold a couple copies or none at all.

Photos: My high school classmate Marty came to visit. I appreciate all the support she gave me.
Ann Aubaugh drove a long way to see me. She's a Baltimore area writer and a former Maryland Romance Writers president.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Here are a few quick stories about the matriarchs in my family.

My mother Rose:  During WWII she worked at the Navy Yard in Washington DC, growing crystals for the sonars in submarines. One day President Truman visited and came into her shop. He was fascinated and put his hand out to touch the machine that formed the crystals. My mother shouted, "No, Mr. President", and shoved him back. "You could have killed yourself." The machine was electrified and if he had touched it, Truman would have gotten a shock that would have knocked him to the ground.

My grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Robertson: One day, during the Great Depression, my grandmother had a knock on her door. A ragged 'forgotten man' stood outside it and asked her if she could spare a little food. Kind-hearted Bess offered him to join her family for the evening meal of bread and cabbage. He refused and took his cabbage sandwich to the curb. After the Depression, a black limo pulled up in front of her house and the man she had helped that day had returned with a roll of cash. He wanted to give it to her, thanking her for what she had done. She suggested he place it in the 'Poor Box' at her church on the corner, and that is what he did.

My grandmother in law, Mary Sullivan: Mary was a Red Cross nurse for over 40 years. She filled in for a nurse one night at Walter Reed Hospital during WWII. While at the nurses' station, the elevator doors opened and attendants brought an unconscious soldier on a gurney onto the floor. He had lost his dogtag and no one knew who he was. Mary stepped over to him, looked down into his face and said, "I know exactly who he is. This is my nephew from Massachusetts.

Nana loved gardens. Since I do not have an uploaded photo of her, my photo of a butterfly in my garden is in honor of her.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Signing Venues

In my experience as an author, the best book signings to schedule are through bookstores. The reason is they will supply the books and take the sales and this will save you a lot of money, time, and the responsibility of handling payment.

The other choices are libraries and literary events. If a library schedules an event where there is more than one author attending, it can be worth your while. However, you will have to supply your own copies to sell and take money from patrons. It is often difficult for many an author to sell a lot of copies at a library when solo. You sit there by your lonesome hoping patrons will buy a book. The thing to remember is people go to the library to check books out for free. I have had three library signings in the past and honestly they were not successful.

Some literary events such as book festivals can be very expensive. For example one book festival near me charges authors between $75 and $100 per table, and an additional fee to rent a canopy for $150. A canopy is required at this particular event. I've learned to watch for the events that do not charge, that supply a table and chair, advertise, and host multiple authors. I'm attending one this Saturday. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Some bookstore chains require your publisher to contact them to set up signings. My suggestion is to make a list of bookstores in your area within a mileage radius you are willing to drive. When your book is about to be launched, ask the publicist at your publishing house to call and schedule signings. Though it would be nice to walk into a Borders or a Lifeway Bookstore, meet the manager and set up a signing, having the publicist handle it has a more professional touch. That is not to say you shouldn't stop into a store and introduce yourself. Give them a handful of bookmarks.

So the bottom line is to be selective, choose venues that will supply books and handle payments, and team up with other authors. But if you do attend an event where you have to supply your own books, check with your publisher about your discount. Don't solely rely on getting the best discount from them though. Do an online search of bookstores and check prices. I was stunned when I found a bookstore willing to sell me copies at 70% off the cover price. 

One more tip: You can advertise your signing on Book Tour. Members are sent updates through email of authors signing within driving distance of their zip codes.

For those of you who have had book signings, what are some of your experiences?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings --- Locations from Surrender the Wind

This old stone house is located in Virginia where Seth grew up. It is the perfect image of the house his father would have built out of mountain stone along the Potomac River. In the story, you will find this homestead settled in fields of wheat, nestled in grazing land for horses, banked by great trees. When Seth returns from the Revolution, imagine how he must have found it after the British ransacked it. Fortunately it was not burned to the ground like other homes.