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II. Publishing & Marketing Tips > Local Book Promotions: What works, what doesn't?

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message 1: by Patrick (last edited Oct 05, 2017 12:27AM) (new)

Patrick Witz (writerwitz) | 33 comments Everybody has to start somewhere... and what better place to start book promotions then in your own backyard and eventually spin outward. Share your local successful book promotions: street fairs, libraries, radio spots, community cable TV interviews, County Fair, or other venues? Purchased or invited to attend?

I'll start. Here's one odd local promotion coming up this Saturday 10-7-17. I was invited as a local author to be featured at a local Comedy Club. They have every couple of months what they call a "Lit Up" night. An improvisational team of actors reads the first page or two of a book (in my case, randomly select the beginning of two or three of my short stories) and then, without knowing the plot or the characters, finish the book/story in any fashion they wish, each building on the other's imaginations. Anticipate it being comical, but it all depends on the actor's interpretations of the stories they randomly select. Can't wait to see how this turns out!! Need you ask, of course I will be selling books in the lobby!

message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments Conventional wisdom says this should be a great opportunity for you. That said, don't invest in hundreds of copies for sale at the event. None of my local event attempts have garnered sales. People will casually look at one or two books and then move on. So temper your expectations. You might sell or you might not. Be ready for both possibilities.

And probably most importantly: wait for those browsing your books to speak to you and ask you questions before you say anything beyond hello.

message 3: by W.M. (new)

W.M. Bunche | 10 comments My local book store experience has been pretty good so far. What helped was advance promotion (FB, emails, evite, calls, etc.). Even 3 days before the event worked. I also smiled and said hello to everyone BEFORE they asked me anything. The hello and smile was an icebreaker that led to either a conversation, a sale or both. I also define success as publicity. The sale may not come now but later. Stay positive (even when things may appear to not go as planned). Good luck!

message 4: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harju (pamelaharju) | 40 comments I am interested to see what others think as I am thinking about doing a launch locally for my next book.

I got the local papers to do features on me and my first book earlier in the year, and just yesterday, an elderly couple knocked on my door (some of the photos in the papers were taken outside my house) and asked if I was working on my next book.

Before I get carried away, let me point out that it was my next-door neighbour's sister - whose home house I live in - who knocked on the door, but I felt very famous for a moment! I was so stumped I forgot to ask if they had read my book.

I guess it still proves that people pay attention to local features and events.

message 5: by Lenita (new)

Lenita Sheridan | 1010 comments I am scheduled to do a local promo this Saturday, 10/7/17. I am looking forward to it as I have usually (with the exception of one which was in the dead of winter) had success with. I will be presenting with other children's authors. I've read the advice here and it sounds very helpful. Thanks to all who have posted here so far.👍

message 6: by Doug (last edited Oct 05, 2017 12:55PM) (new)

Doug Oudin | 168 comments Local book promotions can be very effective, if the genre and locale have a strong connection. As an example, my memoir, 'Between Two Harbors', Reflections of a Catalina Island Harbormaster' did very well when I held signings on Catalina, and at yacht clubs in southern California, where people know and are familiar with Catalina.
My second book, a novel ('Five Weeks to Jamaica') also did quite well when I held signings at yacht clubs, and venues on or near the ocean. When I held signings in Grants Pass, Oregon, about 80 miles from the nearest seashore, the signings were okay, but not nearly as effective as those done where potential readers live and breathe the ocean air. Thus, focus on those areas where potential readers might congregate, or at least share some aspect of the genre.

message 7: by Patrick (last edited Oct 05, 2017 10:51PM) (new)

Patrick Witz (writerwitz) | 33 comments I have been reading numerous articles about starting promotions locally and within (if possible) a books niche...subject matter or locality. Doug experienced that first hand, thanks for validating that.

Pamela... I'd have felt likewise, great ego builder, local celebrity. But front door contact is a bit too close (I'm in small town America - everybody seems to know everything about everybody). I believe locals listen and are far more supportive of local authors than on a national landscape.

I as well agree with W.M., shy silence is not golden when it comes to promotional sales... I personally love the meet and greets as I can talk a non-smoker into buying an ashtray!

Lenita, we'll have to compare event sales, mine is on Sat. as well, good luck!

My initial promotional interest in this post is not just book signings at local book stores (although they can be helpful and sometimes successful), but I was wishing to explore the use of other media outlets. I have to agree with Laurel, that local venues don't sell tons of books, but they do sell a few and get a book and author noticed... hopefully in local newspapers, FB, Instagram, or other media avenues. Besides, those local face to face interactions look great on author and book websites... have somebody take a couple photos!

Is there an advantage to doing various promotional venues with several authors of like or different genres... or do you feel that same table competition dips into your sales/profit bucket? Speaking of tables, some of the venues charge for booths etc., do the sales even cover that cost, or just chalk it up to exposure?

message 8: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Beverly (writesistah) | 79 comments Patrick, if you're lucky, your sales proceeds will cover or exceed the cost of the table, booth, etc. Sometimes it doesn't, if the booth space is expensive and some of them are ($50 or more). You may still get some exposure, depending on how popular the venue is. I had several librarians come to my table and one purchased both of my books to place in their library but this was actually a book festival that was not local for me. So, it's a crapshoot.

message 9: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harju (pamelaharju) | 40 comments Patrick wrote: "Pamela... I'd have felt likewise, great ego builder, local celebrity. But front door contact is a bit too close (I'm in small town America - everybody seems to know everything about everybody). I believe locals listen and are far more supportive of local authors than on a national landscape...."

I live on a quiet country road outside a small village in Ireland, so I'm surprised anybody even found me! Without the connection to my next-door neighbour, I don't think they would have. I don't think I need to start building that 7' wall around the garden just yet. :)

message 10: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments I mean, I first started telling my lived ones about it, they were excited. Even when I posted my book on FB, it worked. Then, I started to join FB groups and Goodreads groups to build something.

And I tried doing automated messages on twitter before, but it didn't work. Twitter had to turn it down. Though, I don't see why other people are still doing it. >_> But I would rather not aggravate people with automated messages.

Oh, and I did have a sale on my book; it just ended today :( Sorry, if anyone was interested. But hey, at least $4.99 for my mystery novel isn't so bad.

message 11: by Patrick (last edited Oct 10, 2017 12:46AM) (new)

Patrick Witz (writerwitz) | 33 comments The comedy club promotion was an absolute hoot! I ended up on stage reading the first pages of six short stories and the improvisational actors took it from there... they were hilarious! 50 people attended, 10 where family and friends who had already purchased the book. Sold 3 print editions, 5 eBooks, collected 8 new email addresses and handed out 3 promotional cards. Mind you, I didn't get rich, but then again it cost me nothing (was comp'd 4 tickets) and I sure had a fun time. Working now on contacting local newspapers, local TV and local Radio stations to get interviews.

message 12: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 90 comments Several things that I think work:
1. Don't limit yourself to local book stores - if your book is about cooking, crafts, dogs, see if your local cafe, gift shop or pet store will feature it, even on a consignment basis, or - if there is any kind of street fair, holiday sidewalk sale, etc, will they let you put out a meet-the-author table.
2. Libraries and local community colleges - Offer to give a talk on writing and publishing. You can also network with other local writers and do a panel discussion.
3. Local radio - If you have a local radio station, pitch yourself to the hosts. I have found them very receptive - if you can time the interview in advance of an appearance, signing or event, so much the better.
4. Podcasts - Tons of them - if you find one in your field, see if you can set up an interview.
5. Schools - See if you can participate in a "readers in the schools" event, or visit as a local author. Often, these are not events where you can arrange direct sales, but if you bring bookmarks or flyers to pass out to the students, there may be sales afterward.
6. Open Mic events - See if you can network with other writers and hold an open mic night - do short reads from your work. In my town, we had a local musician and some poets ask the local coffee chain if they could set up an open mic night and it was SRO.

message 13: by William (new)

William Stuart (thegemstonechronicles) | 72 comments I've had great success at a local art fair (3 years running) as well as a fall festival in the same venue. I joined the local Arts Association, too, and have my books in their shop. Not steady sales, but it does (slowly) get the word out!

message 14: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2165 comments I feel like there's hardly anything where I live that I could go to promote. I have been thinking about going to Boston and seeing if I can find places there to promote.

message 15: by Brian (new)

Brian Webb (brianqwebb) | 49 comments It's been awhile since I last posted something in this thread, but I need some immediate suggestions. I'm dropping the price of my book on Kindle from the 31st to the 4th to herald the new school year and was wondering if anyone knew of promotional mailing lists, websites, etc... that will promote a free book for free (and on such short notice).


message 16: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Mason Hi William,

I got my book into the local bookstores in Santa Barbara. I have yet to hear of a sale. The summary on the back of the book describes the coming together of a professional dominant in San Francisco and a mathematician in Berkeley, so I made arrangements with some of the bookstores there. Two books have sold on consignment agreements. The deals with used bookstores are giveaway agreements, so if I pick up readers it'll be in another life.

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