by LinDee Rochelle
I am a champion of small, intimate authors’ events. Not that the big and bold don’t have their attractions. In this age of social networking with a bazillion friends and associates we often gather in slick, isolating virtual events, frequently mirrored by manic metropolitan conferences.
There’s something to be said however, for meeting with a publishing expert in a quiet corner, or chatting up a new author friend who recently discovered a great book marketing technique they’re eager to share. These scenarios happen easily in a friendly venue outside the burgs of hectic humanity. Bonus: small conferences help you slow down and strategically contemplate the road ahead.
Infinity’s 11th annual conference in Valley Forge, PA, the last weekend in September, offered great insights on every level of book promotion, as any good marketing event should. A bonus for attendees though, was time to meet privately with publishing and marketing gurus like Dan Poynter and Brian Jud, and opportunities to network one-on-one, as opposed to a chance elevator stand-up routine.
Smaller conferences also mean the ability to hear every word and nuance without having to sit in the first three rows. But more than that you’re able to connect with the principles of the event and establish a more meaningful personal association than is possible with virtual meetings, or as you sit in a room of hundreds, gazing up at a podium speaker 50 feet away.
Generous with their time, the experts at Infinity’s “Express Yourself … “ Gathering of Authors were available throughout the weekend at intimate meals and pre-dinner social hours (remember those?). I was fortunate to share several panels with them and though “in the biz” for years, still listened and learned:
Dan Poynter: If you’re not “connected” fire up your social skills and follow his lead. (Twitter, Google Alerts, Facebook, YouTube, and do you have a website/blog yet?!)
Marc Schulman: We’re only in the infancy stage of electronics and their impact on books. Stay aware of major innovations and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Brian Jud:We’re selling content, not books. Make sure your promotions include AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
Melanie Rigney: Are you ready for the “big time”? Professional editing must precede publication, which will make your marketing easier and your sales brisker.
Jeniffer Thompson: What are you selling – you or your book? Hint: you! And does your website funnel readers from page to page? Don’t let your website stagnate.
Tonya Evans: Literary laws are changing daily. There is no longer a “general standard” for anything. Protect yourself! Be safe rather than sorry when using others’ works and brand names.
L’s Seven Suggestions … book marketing strategies for Thinking Ahead:
- Begin your book marketing before it has even cleared the proof book phase (earlier, if you have a finished cover). Create buzz through your website, blog, and other social networking circles.
- Create a marketing calendar that begins today through no less than the next 18 months.
- Even if you don’t plan to advertise, request ad / editorial calendars from your local newspapers (virtual & print), radio and TV, for the appropriate section or shows; review what upcoming topics are planned to feature – add to your calendar and query at least 2 months prior, if possible – 6 months ahead for major holidays.
- Mark your calendar with special “national” days that you can capitalize on – have a cookbook? Do you know January 21st is Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day? (http://www.adsources.com/IDEAS/Cal/01jan.htm) Start your promotion NOW.*
- Scour the news for topics related to your book – yes, even fiction – what’s happening that your protagonist endured, too? In what major location is your book set – is it in the news today?
- Are there other authors in your area who share your book’s topic? Create an “authors’ day” event at your local library about this subject (http://www.publiclibraries.com/). Book no less than 6 months in advance; sell your topic and you, but have your book available. (Make sure your publisher distributes to libraries – Infinity does.)
- Always Think Ahead! Memorize your next 6 months of book marketing appearances and events. This strategy may leave you foggy on what day today is, but you’ll confidently rattle off your next important dates.
Photo by: Oquendo