Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

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Book Fairs Advice

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message 1: by Roy (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 8 comments I'm planning to participate in a book fair or two this year for the first time ever. I've gone to a number of them over the years but I've never been on the other side of the desk. Anyone have any useful advice/tips beyond the obvious? Actually, even the obvious would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


message 2: by Leslie Ann (new)

Leslie Ann (leslieann) | 13 comments Roy,

I live in L.A. and so have been able to participate in two of the largest book fairs in the U.S.--the L.A. Times Festival of Books and the West Hollywood Book Fair.

If you can, have a big, colorful banner made to hang on the front of your booth/desk or across the top of the booth. I know these can be expensive, but you can write the cost off your taxes as a business expense if you consider yourself a professional writer.

Have lots of promotional materials to give out--bookmarks, postcards, book trailer DVDs, etc. You should also print up a one-sheet with your bio, a synopsis of the book, and purchasing info. Use one of these sheets to make a stand-up tabletop display with a cardboard easel. You can get these cheap at any office supply store.

Don't sit behind your desk the whole time. Get out in front and greet people. Look them in the eye, be friendly and approachable but not pushy. It's a fine line to walk, believe me!

Have several different colored pens in which to sign your books. People like to have a choice, and I've found at every single signing I've done, it seems to me that people choose my purple ink pen better than 70% of the time!!

Have a Mailing List sheet for people to sign--this is a great way to build up contacts.

This may sound obvious, but have lots of water and snacks with you, especially if you'll be alone. Also, if you're alone, make a "Will Be Back At.." sign to put on your table when you have to take pee breaks!

Lastly, and this may also seem obvious, bring more copies of your book than you think you'll sell. You never know about these things. It's better to have them and not need them than the opposite.

Good luck!!!


message 3: by Roy (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 8 comments Great tips, Leslie. To mention just one, I know I never would have thought of different color pens on my own. Love it! Thanks.


message 4: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Kulman (AndreaKulman) | 23 comments Leslie- GREAT ideas!!!


message 5: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I've done a book fair and I agree with all these tips. If you can't afford a banner, you can buy colorful fabric and drape your table-I had many people comment that the fabric display caught their eye and drew them to my table. I must admit that I did not sell many copies, but there was a lively informal author exhange.
Definitely get out from behind your table-stand to the side, invite people over, use giveaways.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I find fairs are very good too. Also author talks. I've done two now and people love hearing about what it takes to get a book published and the whole process of writing. Usually afterwards they are keen to buy on of the books you've been talking about.


message 7: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments Anne, yes, author talks are great venues. I've even done one at the local library. Many libraries have book clubs-you could offer to come and discuss your book or do a reading for the book club.


message 8: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
One of the best suggestions I can make is get a poster made up I use shortrunposters.com - You can get a 18 x 24 poster for $2 -- for a single one. I mount it to some stiff board from an art supply store. I actually bought 10 of them and had 2 posters each rotating through stores before signing. Always have bookmarks that have your cover on the front and your "blurb" on the back. I posted some great bookmark recommendations including the best place for printing on my blog. Check out this post.

-- Wife of GR author Michael J. Sullivan: The Crown Conspiracy (10/08) | Avempartha (04/09)


message 9: by Roy (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 8 comments Excellent information, Robin. Thanks.


message 10: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) The bookmarks really do work. The last signing I did, I think everyone within a ten mile radius had one, LOL. You can never have too many bookmarks.


message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
Bookmarks are so inexpensive - 2.5 cents a piece - its worth carpet bombing with them - but WHAT is on them is very important - my publishers Book mark totally does not work - design them carefully - as I mentioned in post #8 I have a post that goes through it in detail.


message 12: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Roy, I forgot to say, I've designed a few different bookmarks (for two books and with different venues in mind), and I found that using the same layout/contents didn't work for me. What worked for Utamaro Revealed didn't work for The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy. But your wife's an artist... she'll be able to come up with some great and striking designs... if you smother her with roses and chocolates ;o)


message 13: by J.W. (new)

J.W. Nicklaus | 15 comments What a bunch of great ideas and tips! The bookmarks I have, and am ready to hand them out like candy (in retrospect perhaps I should have had the backs lined with lickable stuff--maybe snozberry flavored!).

The different colored pens thing is something I never would have considered going into it. Being a fresh newbie--in an anemic economy--means I'm looking for every little edge I can get.

Thanks all :^)


message 14: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 39 comments Mod
One other piece of advice - have slips of paper and a fish bowl for people to enter to win a free copy - don't make a form - just get an email - then email the winner and get their address for mailing to. This way you also get some emails for direct mail if you want to in the future


message 15: by Roy (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 8 comments Brilliant, Robin. Brilliant. :-)


message 16: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments Robin, that is a great idea.


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