In today’s blog I am beginning a series on book marketing. My goal is to provide you with some solid content that you can use. I may discuss different tools you can use or resources that are available to you.
I plan for this series to appear on Fridays.
Let’s get started.
Any new series needs an introduction. So here goes.
Shortly after writing my first novel I came face to face with the realization that most, if not all, the marketing was up to me. While publishers will offer tools you can use, they don’t normally do the marketing unless you happen to be a celebrity.
My first experience in marketing was Book Signing. Back then you went to a local bookstore and offered them a share of the profits if you could have a table. The concept being they order the books, the customer buys them, and you sign or autograph them.
Simple, but it wasn’t quite that easy.
The first problem I came up against was the bias against self-published books. Some stores simply weren’t interested, while others had to be convinced. So I quickly learned to do my homework and find out what my publisher’s book return policy was (this was a major issue with the stores).
But eventually I did get into some stores.
The next thing I learned was that each store has a different policy. In one store I shared a table with another author, while in another store I had my own table. Another fact I learned was that you were assigned a four hour space of time. This was fairly uniform with all the stores.
Was it successful?
Depends on what you mean by successful. Did I sell a ton of books? No, but such expectations are unrealistic. Book signing is low volume. By that I mean that unless you are a celebrity the number of books sold at a book signing is relatively low. In my case, I probably averaged about 5 per hour for 4 hours.
How did it work?
The book store would order the books and provide them to me for the four hours I was there. Customers would come up to the table, take a book, go to the cashier, and purchase the book. Then they came to me for the book to be signed.
Another way was for me to sign the book and then they would take it to purchase. But there was a big problem with that scene. Once, maybe twice, I had someone come to my table, say they were going to purchase my book, and I signed it. Then they left. Later the signed book was found on a shelf by a clerk and returned to me. It was basically useless because it was signed and maybe included the person’s name. Not recommended.
Book signing is still valid. It is still hard to get into stores, especially chains. Not because of bias, although that still exists, but with chains you often have to contact the corporate office and get approved. That said, if you are an author it is still worth your while.
Because it is personal. People can personally meet you and get your signature. It is also usually local, which enhances your local reputation.
Just remember not to focus all your time on it. In today’s internet world you need to spend your time on the internet. But more on that in another blog.
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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.