where the writers are
Sales Jump When...

I was reading on a blog sometime ago what's out, passe, no longer in as far as promotion goes--magazines, newspapers, print media as far as capturing the market for book sales. So then what's in???

The problem is we have tons of competition. Ever go to the book store and look at a specific genre? How many books directly compete with ours? Lots and lots! In fact it can be disheartening.

One of my publishers sent a note that said our books would not be in stores unless we talked to local stores and asked them to include them. Otherwise, bring our own for signings. I'm sure the major book chains would love that. I can envision myself walking in with a load of books, grabbing one of their tables and setting up a signing. Sure. I mean, we bring in customers, right? Big draw.

Well, yes, we can. If we're local and we tell all our friends and family, we can have a big draw. But most big chains don't agree that it's worth having you in the store. Soooo what to do?

Go to other kinds of stores and see if they're more amenable. Think outside the box. I was going to have my Highlander book at a Celtic festival, along with the Celtic Clan bears I make. Only they canceled the show. But otherwise, different venue, might have sold. I sell a lot of bears.

The key though, is to get your titles out there. Teaching online courses helps for me. I give snippets of my books for examples along with other authors' examples. Speaking at engagements helps also. Giving in-person classes also.

I attended several conferences where the author got up and talked, and then, she got to sell her books. And lots of authors bought them too. I wanted to be that author. It's not the same when you tell others you have books also. You have to get up and speak or teach about writing, and that's what gets the recognition for your work. At the last conference I attended, I sold tons of books. Many were writers who had attended my talk. One chided me for not giving examples from my own works for the talk. :) I will in the future. I just didn't want to "look" like I was doing this for pure promotion. :)

This summer I'll be teaching a teen group about writing. Every month I give another online course. In Sept I'll be teaching Happy Hookers in Toronto, so going International!!!

But also write for newsletters, articles on writing or promotion. I just had an interview come out in a couple of newsletters. And tomorrow I'll be at http://www.muchcheaperthantherapy.blogspot.com/ and I'm sure I said something really brilliant. I can't remember. :)

So remember, expensive advertising in magazines and newspapers are out. Get a web presence. Make yourself known in local circles. Offer talks and classes. Sometimes you can make more at that than book sales!

Terry Spear


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It is such a puzzle

No wonder big companies who have a whole department for marketing are at a loss in this economy. Being a one person marketing department is daunting to say the least. I understand when you said you didn't want to "look" like you were just there for book promotion but we should try to remember there are a lot of readers who are constantly looking for a good book. I just did a public appearance where I talked about African drumming and I could not for the life of me think of a way to work in my book about bears! So I didn't. It is hard to know how much is too much and when mentioning your book would be welcome. Linda Jo Hunter
Author of "Lonesome for Bears"

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Promote our work every day at least a little--

We have to. I know it goes against the grain for women to be self-promoting. Get over it. In this economy, we're all required to promote our own work.

Do a little every day--phone calls, post cards--and a lot some days.

Bookstore events can be a huge waste of time unless the author promotes the event in advance.
The author. Don't count on the bookstore. Tell your friends, your former students.

Just do it!

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I So Agree

Linda, you're so right!! I would have been like you, how to fit in a bear story when the topic was so different. :) But if your audience doesn't know about it, they don't buy. So yep, from now on, I will always include snippets of MY stories in my in-person workshops. :) Marilyn, thanks for your input! I agree. Tell the world. Book stores really don't spend the time or money on advertising for an author. We have to make sure we get the word out. :) Even though I usually don't sell much during a signing, I find the signed copies I leave behind sell quickly. :)