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.
I 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
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?