Tag Archives: festivals

My Thoughts on Promotion Today (Guest Blogger)

We are experiencing a time of great changes in the publishing industry. Having been e-pubbed since before there was anything but a computer to read an e-book on, and then being the proud of owner of a Rocket eBook with a couple of other readers after that and now a Kindle, it’s exciting to see the way e-books have gained popularity—finally.

The publishers I’m with do both e-books and print and in the past I’ve done better with the print books but I’m seeing the e-books gaining.

My marketing strategy has always been a combination of online promotion and in-person events. I’ve attended as many as four mystery or writing conventions or conferences in a year with all the expense that entails—airfare, hotel room, meals. In the past, I did some bookstore signings in places where I didn’t have to travel too far. Over the years those have become less and less successful. I like to do craft and book festivals and with these you never know, but for me they are always more successful than a straight book signing. Library events are usually good if I have a topic that will interest a lot of readers.

For online promotion, of course I do Facebook and Twitter, both fun and a good way to promote other online things you’re doing like blog tours and special sales—and you can promote the in-person events as well. I’m on a number of lists as well. For each new book I do a blog tour.

Now, that brings me to what my future plans will be.

For this year, I was signed up for a mystery conference that was cancelled; costing me a lot as far as my non-returnable airline tickets was concerned. I’ve spoken at the annual meeting of a local historical society (fun and sold books), I gave a presentation at two different chapters of the California Writers Club, and I have a book launch planned at a nearby used bookstore. (I’ve done four at this bookstore and they’ve been quite successful.)

My schedule from now on is full.

I’m a guest speaker for a Reading Club, on a Sisters in Crime panel being held in a city about 3 hours away, I’m speaking at a college about 4 hours away, heading to a Las Vegas Sisters in Crime meeting as the guest speaker, where I’ll be staying with my sister, appearing with two other authors at another library.

This summer I’m combining a vacation with my daughter and husband to go to Sedona where I’ve arranged for a library talk with another author as well as a bookstore presentation. I also am giving a talk at a bookstore in a mountain community where I take my own books for sale with a better discount than most bookstores give. This is a great independent and I’ve made friends with many of the locals who have also become fans of my books.

A big event for me is the Public Safety Writers Conference in Las Vegas http://www.policewriter.com because not only am I the program chair, but I’ve made friends with lots of folks in law enforcement who are a great resource. This conference is open to anyone.

I am going to Killer Nashville this year mainly so I don’t lose all of the money from the airline ticket I bought for the cancelled conference. I do have friends who are going to that one too.

Click for More Photos of Marilyn

In September I’m going to be a presenter for the Central Coast Writers Conference. I no longer go to a writer’s conference unless I can be a speaker. I enjoy helping new writers. On Sunday after the conference is the annual Central Coast Book Festival and I’ve had a booth there for several years and of course I’ll be doing it again this year.

In October I’ll have a booth for two days at the Springville Apple Festival which is in the town I live in. This is a great event where I always sell lot of book. At the end of the month I’ll be starting on the Mystery Cruise to Mexico. This is also a writers’ conference. First time, so I have no idea how it will turn out—but cruises are great.

In December, I’ll have a table with my books in an Art Gallery along with the artist’s Christmas boutique. I’ve done this every year and each year it gets better.

As the year progresses, I’ve made some decisions about what I will do next year. Of course I’ll continue on with all the online promotion. I’ll read all my lists closely, especially Murder Must Advertise for new ideas. But I’ve decided that from now I’ll only go to conventions that are easy to get to which means Left Coast Crime in Sacramento will be my choice for 2012. Oh, I’ll still go to the PSWA conference because it’s in a place I can drive to—and being able to drive somewhere easily will be a decision maker as to where I’ll go.

I’d like to know what your plans include—and I hope that something I’ve mentioned may have give you some ideas for promotion you haven’t tried yet.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F.M. Meredith
http://fictionforyou.com
Twitter: @MarilynMeredith
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith
Marilyn’s Musings Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

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A Publisher’s Rant

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Okay, I have to go on record with this one. We spent the day ( a very successful day) at the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC.

For the entire day we had a steady stream of customers in our booth. There was not a time at any point during the day that we were not selling a book. It was tremendous. Or as our cute little waitress at Longhorn said, it was “grand.”

So what could possibly be wrong with this? Well, it’s other writers. I would like to point out a few simple guidelines or ettiquette rules to consider if you are a writer heading out to an event.

1. If you are an aspiring author and you want to meet with a publisher, contact them prior to the event and set an appointment. If a publisher is at an event they are probably there to sell books. When you walk up unannounced and go into your whole sales pitch for your book it is distracting and honestly it is very rude for those who are there to shop or who have made appointments.

At Echelon we do work on a referral system and we do tell you to meet us at events and we mean it, but there is a proper way to do it. Put together a very small packet, honestly I am good with a business card with contact info and a one or two line brief about your story. Drop it off and move on. If a publishing rep or author is trying to tansact business GO AWAY. Do not stand their and contiue talking. Chances ar they won’t be rude to you, but don’t make them tell you to go away.

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2. If you are a writer and you have a friend who is being featured at an event or a book signing, do NOT monopolize that author’s time. When an author goes to an event they have probably paid to be there and their main goal is to sell books. If you stand at the front of the booth constantly talking to the author who is trying to sell books you are inhibiting their ability to effectively sell books and give the readers and actual customers the attention they deserve. If you DO stop to talk and feel the need to chat, at least make it worth the author’s while and BUY THEIR BOOK!

This has become a major peeve of mine and I see it almost every event I go to. If you have no intention of buying a book, MOVE ON and give the real customers some room. If you want to chat with an old friend, call them on the phone or take them to lunch. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to increase their sales and recoup the money they have invested to be at an event.

3. Support your fellow authors. You know what it is like. If you have books to sell, you know how valuable time is. If you want someone to buy your book you have got to be willing to buy their book. Don’t make excuses. Either buy it, or move on. Period

4. Finally. When you go to visit a friend at an event, book signing, festival, whatever, DO NOT slip your promo material onto their table. If you did not pay for that space, it is NOT your space to promote in. At almost EVERY event I go to I throw away dozens of pieces of material that authors who have come to see a friend or even authors who have come to give me submission materials have left behind with hopes that they can get some free promo exposure.

I’m telling you, if you tell me you want to submit and then infiltrate the space paid for by or for my authors, to try and promote your other works,  I will NOT publish you. I will also not like you.

These are just common sense, and yet more times than not this is what happens. Please be courteous to the rights and opportunities of your friends and fellow authors.

Okay, I am done. I apologize for this rant, but after today, I really felt this needed to be said. Want to buy books? Come and see us. Want to look at our books and see if maybe you might be interestd in something, come on over. Want to chat and catch up with someone you have not called in a year. Do it on Monday after the event.

I love to meet authors, but not at the expense of sales and my authors’ rights.

Karen Syed…wearing her publisher hat…