Hi everyone!

 
Pam-SuperFave 5Pamela S. Meyers here with my monthly post about marketing
your books.

I feel like I’ve been in the school of hard knocks for most
of the summer as I’ve worked steadily on marketing my book “in the field.” I’ve
seen some really great results and some not-so-great. But that’s okay. I’m
learning.

Earlier this summer a marketing book by Rob Eager called Sell Your Book like Wildfire was
recommended to me. It’s been sitting on my shelf for at least four months now.
High time I opened it!

Last week I read the first chapter and already I’ve been
saturated with new knowledge!

How many times are we asked when we meet someone new,
“What’s your book about?” I don’t know about you, but when I’m asked the
question, I give them what amounts to the back-of-the-book blurb, seasoned with
additional information like I was raised in my hometown where the story is setSell Your Book Like Wildfire
and I’ve had really great reviews.

I learned  from Mr. Eager that I should approach this
question differently. He suggests that when a potential reader asks that
question, they are really asking, “What’s in your book for me? What am I going
to get out of it if I buy it?”

My first thought was that for a non-fiction author that’s an
easy question to answer, but what about fiction? He doesn’t leave novelists out
and says we can tell them how seeing the book’s characters overcome difficult
problems in the story, the reader will be helped when facing life’s similar
challenges. (See page 12 if you have the book).

My next task is to take my book and analyze what takeaways I
can bring to the conversation to create an emotional desire to buy the book and
read it. Most fiction writers are familiar with the Goal-Motivation-Conflict
plotting device in developing characterizations and that’s what I’m going to
use as a catalyst to come up with my answer to that question, “What’s your book
about?”

What about you? How do you answer the question? Or more
importantly, how will you answer that question in the future?

Author note: I wrote this last week and in reviewing the
post this morning before publishing it to the blog, I was struck that I didn’t
practice what I wrote. Over the weekend I was in a situation where I had to say
more than once what my book was about, and I forgot all about what I learned
last week. What good is any writing craft or marketing book if you don’t apply
it? I learned two lessons.

  1. Address a need for the
    reader that will be satisfied when they read your book.
  2. Apply all the tips and
    lessons you learn about marketing and promotion. Don’t just read them and
    file them away in the recesses of your brain!

You can purchase Sell Your Book Like Wildfire at your
favorite bookstore or your favorite online store such as Amazon http://tinyurl.com/lpefy3l
or B&N http://tinyurl.com/n328ybk

I was not given this book by the publisher for review. After
one chapter I know that I’m going to read it from cover to cover!

Read More →

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Pam-11

Pamela S. Meyers

Pamela S. Meyers here with another post about book marketing.

Since last March I’ve been on a promotion blitz for my April 1 release, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a historical romance set in one of the most beautiful vacation spots in Wisconsin. I’ve held speaking and signing engagements, given a slideshow presentation on the history of my setting at a museum, a library and even a retirement home. I’ve also held speaking and signing events, and much more.

Last March, I visited the gift shop run by the boat company that gives guided tours of the lake. These tours give a peek into Lake Geneva’s history by showing what is left of late 19th Century/early 20th Century mansions that fill the lakeshore. What a perfect place for my book to be featured! While in the shop, I took note of several other Lake Geneva books, including a self-published time travel set in Lake Geneva that was published over 20 years ago. I remembered when that book first came out and it is still filling the shelves, especially during tourist season.

Walworth III spoke to the store manager about my book and gave her a complimentary copy for her boss, since the boss was out of town. About a week later, the store manager emailed me to ask how they would go about ordering my book. I immediately gave the email address of the woman at Guideposts Publishing and went back to working on preparing for my book launch.

All summer I intended to stop in at the shop and say hello and find out how books sales have been going. The shop is in another village on the lake and not in the actual town of Lake Geneva, and time got away from me.

This past week, I took an out-of-town friend to Lake Geneva to ride one of the excursion boats and
Ready to Embark show off my hometown. While waiting for the boat to begin the tour, one of the boat staff walked past me carrying some books. Was my book on that pile she carried? I raced to the back of the boat and all I saw was some pictoral coffee-table type books and the 20-year-old self-published book. I asked the woman if they ever have my book on board and she said she’d never seen it.

Effort to get my book featured in the giftshop and on local boat tours: Fail

I should have gone back.

After the tour, as the boat was pulling into the dock, the boat captain started telling his passengers all about the self-published book and gave a pretty good pitch. And I sat there sinking lower in my chair…shoulda, coulda, woulda.

As I left the boat, I asked the captain if he was aware of my book and he was not.

Boy, did I learn a big lesson!

And, I hope to all who are reading this now are learning one too. Never, ever drop the ball. To make one contact and think all is well, is not a good idea. The key word is follow-through. Never presume anything.

My book has the potential to linger year after year, the same as the time-travel one does now. It just came out this year, so I have to keep a presence in the stores for years to come — not only the boat company’s gift shop but all of the retail stores in the area.

The interesting thing is that the author of the other book died a few years ago. He’s already done his work and his book is living on, still being purchased and read. Mine could have the same fate if I work hard at it while I can.

What lessons have you learned the hard way when marketing your books?

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Hi everyone! Pamela S. Meyers here. I’m sure you’ve all had times when the best laid plans…well you know the old cliche. I had one of those days last week, but I learned some critical lessons how to make sure your planned promotional event goes off without a hitch.

I had a scheduled speaking and signing event to promote my book, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This was an afternoon I had been looking forward to since it was in a unique setting – A retirement home. Little did I know how much this event would turn out to be a learning experience for me.

I planned to show my Keynote presentation (Apple version of Power Point), read an excerpt from the book and then sign the book for any who
wanted to purchase one.

DSCN0305

During my Reading They Laughed in the Right Places!

Before I left, I remembered a suggestion someone had made to me to save the slideshow on a flash drive, and I decided to copy it to one that used a memory card. I packed the car and took off, allowing myself about fifteen minutes wiggle room, only to be delayed by road construction!

I arrived ten or fifteen minutes past the actual I’m I planned to arrive, feeling very frazzled. Did I mention we were in the middle of a heat wave? Already the ladies were filing into the room, and I began to unpack. That’s when I suddenly wanted to fall through a trapdoor in the floor.

I’d forgotten my computer!

No problem. I had the presentation saved on the memory card and my new projector had a USB slot for a flash drive. No problem, except …the slot was vertical—not horizontal—and the memory card was too wide. The projector’s outer casing blocked it from going all the way into the slot. I was doomed. But. . . the staff person who invited me had a Mac. Whew! Except she didn’t have Keynote installed.

Long story short, the facility’s resident techie saved the day and got the program to open and the rest of the afternoon went without a hitch. . . until I left and went to use my phone. Dead as dead because I forgot to turn off the GPS after I arrived. But that’s another story.

DSCN0308

I Love it When Someone Buys My Book!

Other than entertaining you with the story of my wacky day, and rejoicing with me over God’s provision of workarounds, I hope you picked up on a lesson learned.

Before you go out to any promotional event have a checklist of all the items you need to take. I just made one for myself. You may design yours a bit different, depending on the types of events you do, but if you’d like a PDF of mine, shoot me an email at pam@pamelasmeyers.com and I’ll be happy to send you one.

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Hi Everyone!

Pamela S. Meyers here with another post on promoting your book. I’m currently in the midst of marketing my latest release, so that’s what I’m writing about this month.
Pam Signing at Museum 4-27 

My historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s original release date was in April, and months ago I scheduled a launch event at the Geneva Lake Museum in Lake Geneva for Saturday, April 27th. That’s me in the picture signing books at the event.

Early on I made out my to-do list.

  •  Prepare a slideshow (PowerPoint) presentation on my personal history with the town and the book’s research.
  •  Contact editor of the local weekly paper and arrange for interview.
  •  Invite special guests.
  •  Send out eblast to my mailing list announcing the dates of both events.
  •  Plan refreshments.
  •  Gather items for gift bag to be raffled off.
  •  Appoint someone to take care of the raffle tickets (no money exchanged, of course!)
  •  Prepare an ad for the museum director to use for promotion. Here it is!

Museum Ad

  •  Plan my attire for the day
  •  Arrange for backup projector in case the one on site fails.
  •  Gather my assortment of vintage items to decorate the space along with a framed collection of vintage postcards of the area that I’ve been collecting

So  I began working on some of these items several months in advance, such as contacting the newspaper editor and inviting him to say a few words at the event because my heroine and hero work for the current paper’s predecessor. We also set up an appointment for him to interview me for a feature article.

Presentation Slideshow

I also began shopping early for items for the gift bag I planned to raffle off. Since the story is set in Lake Geneva, I wanted some items that were clearly from the area. Therefore, whenever I was in town I shopped for the bag. For the bag itself, I custom ordered a canvas bag with a picture of a vintage Lake Geneva postcard imprinted on one side. IA mug from Lake Geneva, a can cooler with a Lake Geneva imprint on it, a reading book light, copies of my three published books, and chocolate, among other things, went into the bag.

For refreshments I decided on cookies and apple juice which I purchased from Costco.

With everything in place, all that was left was to practice my slideshow presentation, over and over and over again!

The day of the event, I packed my car to the brim with the refreshments, a huge tub of books, and everything else I would need. A friend met me at the museum and helped me set everything up. Before I knew it, it was time to change into my new dress and greet my guests.

Everything went without a hitch…well except for when I asked my cousin to draw the winning ticket for the gift bag and she drew her own ticket!!!!

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Pam-Fave 7 closeupHi everyone. Pamela S. Meyers here with my monthly posting
on marketing your book. This past month I’ve been focusing on promoting my
newest book and preparing for a launch event this coming Saturday, which
involves a Power Point presentation and book signing at a local museum.

It came to my attention recently that there is another type of launch celebration in the form of an online party. Fellow CAN member,
Sharon Srock, recently held such an event on Facebook to launch her second book
in her current series, and I asked her
if I could interview her about how she prepared for the event and carried it
out. She happily agreed and I’m so happy she did.

 

Pamela:  Sharon,
I was excited when you agreed to share your experience with a virtual online
party you recently held on Facebook for your latest release in your Women of Valley View series. Why did you
decide to hold this type of party as opposed to one people can physically
attend? Or are you planning to have both?

Sharon:  When
Callie (Sharon’s first book in the
series) released, the women in my church threw a beautiful party. I sent
invitations and bookmarks to the other community churches, posted flyers all
over town, and had a lovely press release in the local paper. The attendance
was exactly ZERO for women I don’t worship with. They offered to have another
party for Terri, but I just didn’t
see the point.
Sharon

I’d been invited to a few virtual
launches and parties, and I was curious. I dropped in on a couple then checked
in with the authors afterwards. Everything I saw and learned pointed towards a
well-attended party, increased traffic and likes on your page, and a few sales
as icing on the cake.

The first two results have already proven
to be true. It will be a while before the sales results are in.

Pamela:  How
far in advance did you start planning, and can you list in order the things you
did prior to the day of the launch?

Sharon: Sure. I started planning about thirty
days ahead of the party date.

I secured some prizes, nothing expensive,
but nice. I chose AVON jewelry and bath products since I have easy access, and
copies of both my books. Enough to allow me to award a prize every thirty
minutes.

I contacted my influencers and asked if
any of them would be interested in being special guests during the event. The
two guest authors who were able to attend also gave away copies of their books
so they got a little promotion out of the deal as well.

I scheduled an ad to run the day of the
event and invited my entire friends list.

The day of the party I made announcements
on my FB page, asked my friends to share it with their friends. I also
announced it on Twitter, and invited everyone from all the eloops I’m on.

Pamela:  You
mention buying an ad on Facebook and that you were able to target certain age
groups of women. Can you elaborate on that?

Sharon:  When
you schedule a FB ad, you are given the option of narrowing your target
audience by gender, age groups, and interest. I targeted women between the ages
of 20-60. There are other tweaks I used to narrow the field. You can see the options
when you set up the ad.
 

Pamela: You also said on a loop
we’re on together that you earned credits on the cost of the ad. How did you do that?

Sharon:  When
I reached 350 likes on my page they gave me a coupon for $50.00 in advertising,
and I used that. I only spent half the budget, which goes along with what other
authors told me. They buy a $25.00 ad for their party, and I will follow their
example next time. When you create the ad, you set a budget for the campaign, and
every time someone clicks on the ad, it costs a few cents.

Pamela:  I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that you had to pay more
money in addition to what you paid for the ad each time a person clicked on the
ad? Is there a budget set so that when you reach the amount you set, no one
else can click on it?

Sharon:  No, the $50.00 was my budget for
the ad. Each time someone clicked on the ad, it deducted money from the 50.00.
Since I did not use the entire 50.00, I don't know what happens. It works
similar to Ebay. You set the amount you want to pay and they don't go over it.

Pamela:  Thanks
for clearing that up. You say you scheduled three hours. Was the pace
heightened throughout all three hours or was most of it in the middle three?

Sharon: The party started at 6:00 p.m. central,
and it was like an explosion. By 6:15, I was typing too fast to worry about
spelling. J The pace did not begin to slack off
until about the two-hour mark. Even then, it was still furious enough to keep
me in the seat without a break. At 9:15, I finally pushed everyone out the
“door” and logged off. I needed a drink of water and the little writer’s room.

Pamela: 
Wow, that must have been wild. What do you feel worked and what would
you change?

Sharon:  Prizes
are always well received. The partygoers seemed to enjoy the guest authors as
well. The guest authors also turned out to be the very best thing I did for
myself. One of them had done this sort of party, and if it hadn’t been for her
help during that first hour, I would have been seriously overwhelmed.

Which brings us to the first thing I
would change. If (when) I do this again, I will enlist a buddy for the whole
time. The author who helped me the other night helped field the questions and
comments, while I uploaded prize pictures. She was a God-send. Definitely team
up. Throw your party with another author or two and then return the favor when
they throw theirs.

Change two. Three hours was too long,
especially if you are on your own. Two hours would have been a great length.

Change three. I wouldn’t send the
invitations a month out. People get busy, people forget. Next time I’ll invite
my friends about 10 days out.

Change four. I'd use Hootsuite to schedule excerpts, pictures of my prizes, and maybe even a conversation starter question or two. That way, I wouldn't have to leave the party to go find them and get them up when it was time.

Pamela:  I've heard a lot of good things about Hootshuite and I'm going to have to check into that site. Thanks
so much Sharon. You’ve got me thinking about doing a Facebook book release
party myself. I’ll be interested to hear the long-term results in the way of
book sales.

 

Have any of you done a similar thing with your book
releases? If so, please share your tips and what worked and didn’t work in the
comments.

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural
Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has
one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is
traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently
serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women
of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The
Women of Valley View: Terri has just released.

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