by LinDee Rochelle
Just like a prime piece of real estate, whether virtual or physical, marketing venues for your book should be based on location … location … location.
If you’re published or in the pseudo-downtime of proof production, next to a marketing plan (with a comprehensive editorial calendar), establishing unique marketing opportunities should be at the top of your to-do list.
Yes, you still want a print book, and it should be available for bookstore ordering. And yes, of course, you must have an accompanying website and blog. However, “getting out there” and meeting your reading public is still the most effective way to drive sales—and get those tweets flowing about your book.
Where to go, what to do? Don’t sell just your book … sell you!
Be daring. Be adventurous. Live a little!
Determine a few key elements about your book that might have their own public interest events and establish yourself as an expert, who just happens to have a book for sale.
I did that last weekend with only ARC editions in hand (Advance Reading Copy) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at a vinyl record show, with my upcoming book, Blast from Your Past! Rock-n-Roll Radio DJs who ROCKED Your World! 1954-1979, Vol. I (soon to be released by Infinity). And you can do it, too.
Not to overdo the word, but what a blast! While there are many sides to the BFYP book, and though it’s about radio DJs, vinyl records obviously drove the era; so when an established monthly record show approached me to appear, I jumped at the chance.
Themed trade shows are not like a home & garden show or bridal show where people come to “get ideas” and may not let go of a thin, silver dime!
These shows focus on a specific area of interest and attendees come expecting to spend dollars to enhance their hobby or learn something new about it, or—buy—an interesting book that features it. And I was the only author in the room. Niiiice.
Unleash the expert within.
What’s your book about, where is it set, or is there a unique element to its backstory? Infinity author, Will Hutchison, writes historical novels; his most recent, The Gettysburg Conspiracy led him to unique selling experiences. He discovered the miniature military figures events (yes! there are shows for that), where sales are brisk and he learns even more about his subject, to write more books! But other theme-oriented ideas come to mind.
Does your murder mystery protagonist play a saxophone? John D. Wolf’s does (Benny Plays the Blues, Infinity), so a good venue for him might be a solo appearance at one of the laid-back vintage record shops, where he speaks about the intricacies of the Blues—and sells his book.
Anyone out there with a focus on comic books? Welllllll, you might get a tad overwhelmed at Comic-Con, the granddaddy of all themed trade shows; it’s a pretty pricey event. Look instead, for small special interest trading shows that might stem from a collecting organization—like the Keystone Record Collectors that contacted me for the Pennsylvania Music Expo.
L’s Seven Suggestions … for establishing your book’s location, location, location.
♪ List 3 elements of your book that you are now very knowledgeable in (or can easily enhance your knowledge of); i.e., a travel destination—think travel shows, etc.
♪ Search the ‘Net for community and national organizations that focus on those elements
♪ Review their event calendars for related shows
♪ Look for publications, virtual and print, that cater to special interest topics
♪ Hint: they too, will have event lists and perhaps an ad or two
♪ Have you thought about college or university events specializing in a specific academic topic?
♪ Are you homebound? Create a virtual event—make no mistake, it will take every bit as much energy and time as a terrestrial show, but you won’t have to go anywhere.
And remember, though it’s the best scenario, you don’t always have to come out ahead of the financial game at an event of this type—think of the networking with attendees and other dealers / vendors, exposure for your book, and future marketing opportunities—and chalk it up to business expenses at the end of the year.
Most importantly, have fun—while there, I was treated to dinner by a friend, at Lancaster’s Horse Inn—it’s hidden in an alley and once served as a horse stable, then a speakeasy! Cool.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Murphy.