by John F. Harnish
Everyone looks forward to going away on vacation. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to the beach or maybe to the cool scenic beauty of the mountains. Then too, you might be taking the kids to enjoy the many thrills of Disney World. Whatever form of get-away you’re arranging, plan on taking copies of your book with you.
You might be thinking, “Are you crazy? I don’t need to take my book on vacation with me!” But if you leave your book at home, you’ll miss a golden opportunity to do some easy promotions and maybe even sell several copies. After all, who couldn’t use a few extras bucks in their pocket to help fund vacation fun? Making a few direct sales to folks you meet on vacation can make it a most profitable time for you.
Take a few copies of your book with you so when someone says, “Oh, you’re an author – what have you written?” you’ll have a book close at hand to do an easy show-and-tell for them. A book in hand is a surer sale than the interested party promising to order a copy from Amazon.com when they return home – odds are they’ll forget to order. If everyone who said they’d order a book actually followed through with their intentions, we’d all sell a lot more books. Sadly, they usually don’t do it, even though you gave them a bookmark, postcard or business card with complete ordering information for your book. Out of sight, out of mind, and you missed a sale.
Some resorts have an activities director who plans and coordinates events for guests to participate in during their stay. Get in touch with this person as soon as you’ve checked in and are settled in your room. Let them know you’re a vacationing author and you’d be delighted to do a reading and autograph copies of your book for their guests. Be flexible with your availability and express your willingness to fill in at the last minute if they suddenly have an open slot in their events schedule. Most likely you’ll be the only author there with a book to sell to a captive audience – much better than competing will all the other books in a bookstore.
If you have enough lead time, you could contact the resort activity director to schedule a reading during your stay. In terms of the post-event benefits, you’ll see and talk with fellow guests who, after attending the reading, will give you feedback. Plus, they’ll have time to read your book – after all, they’re on vacation, too! Naturally, you’ll enjoy a rush when you see folks sitting around the pool reading your book. Be prepared for them to engage you in conversation about your book. Don’t be shy – ask them to write a review!
Remember your loyal fans while you’re on vacation. Take a dozen or so names and addresses harvested from your website and send them a postcard with a brief personal note related to your book and the joys of being on vacation. Your investment of an hour, along with a few dollars for postcards and postage, will yield a tremendous amount of goodwill with your fans. Of course, some of them will call their friends and say, “You’ll never guess who I just got a postcard from!”
Yes, in this digital age of email and ecards, an actual postcard delivered at the door is something to talk about and the buzz about your book will continue. If there’s an independent bookstore close to where you’re staying, do indeed stop by for a brief visit and introduce yourself as a vacationing author. Give the owner/manager a complimentary copy of your book. Don’t waste your time or a book on any of the bookstore chains – they’re only authorized to order books with a local connection or by authors living in the area. Instead, take the time to visit the local library; they often have a summer reading circle of library patrons who would probably be thrilled to have a visiting author do a reading – they might even allow you to sell copies of your book.
Photo by: markcbrennan