Categories
Writing Business

Tips from the Pros: Pamela S. Meyers

Sarah Sundin
Sarah Sundin

Greetings from rainy California! With Valentine’s Day around the bend, it’s the perfect time to feature Pamela S. Meyers, author of contemporary and historical romances! I’ve met Pam at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference, and she’s delightful. She’s full of creative promotional ideas, so read on!

Pamela S. Meyers
Pamela S. Meyers

How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Five titles altogether, including Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (my hometown), What Lies Ahead, a novella in a four-author novella collection called The Bucket List Dare, and my newest one, Second Chance Love.

Categories
Writing Business

What Do You Say When Asked What Your Book is About?

Hi everyone!

 
"Pam-SuperFavePamela 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 set"Sell
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!

Categories
Marketing Writing Business

Marketing Lessons Learned in the Middle of a Boat Ride

"Pam-11"

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.

"WalworthI 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 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?

Categories
Marketing

Lessons Learned – Follow a Checklist Before Every Event

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.

Categories
Marketing

Launch Parties Are Even More Fun the Second Time Around!

 

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 

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

  •  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

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!!!!

Categories
Writing Business

Tips From the Pros: Pamela S. Meyers

"DC_Spencer"Davalynn Spencer here from Colorado, pleased to introduce new author Pamela S. Meyers.

Welcome, Pamela. Tell us a little about your journey to becoming an author.

Although I’d always felt a need to write things down—I asked for and received a diary when I was eight—I never took the idea of writing for income seriously until my writing professor where I returned to college to get my degree encouraged me to do so. I started with articles but quickly gravitated to fiction. Then I joined ACFW, got connected to crit groups, and attended writers’ conferences, honing my craft and submitting along the way. And I got enough rejections to paper my bedroom. Finally, after what seemed a bazillion years, I got “the” call from my agent that my contemporary mystery romance, Thyme for Love, had sold. That was in spring 2011.

Categories
Marketing

The Marketing Blitz Begins!

"Pam-FaveHello! Pamela S. Meyers here with another article on book promotion. Back when I was asked to write this monthly blog post, my debut novel, Thyme for Love had just released, and so my focus was on getting the word out about my new book.

Now I am in the beginning of a marketing blitz for a novel that I’ve been blessed to set in my hometown. The official release date for Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is April 1, 2013. However, my publisher Guideposts/Summerside Press surprised me with an early soft release, and it’s been available for purchase on Amazon and several other on-line resources for a couple of weeks.

With this book, I’m wading into new marketing waters thanks to my publisher being able to provide some assistance with marketing.

The setting for my story is a popular getaway spot that gets very crowded on weekends. Since there isn’t a large bookstore in the small town to host a signing event, over the April 27th and 28th weekend I am having a launch presentation and signing at the Geneva Lake Museum—an appropriate venue since my book is historical romance—and the next day I’m signing my book at the
Cornerston"LFYLGe Gift Shop and Gallery, a very nice gift shop that sits at the main intersection of town. If you go back to last month’s blog post, I discuss both of these venues in greater detail.

At the museum event I will employ some of the same things I did at the debut book launch such as a drawing for a gift bag of goodies. You can read an article about that by going here.

These two weekend events are only a couple of the visits I plant to make to Lake Geneva to promote the book. I’m currently in discussion with the Lake Geneva Public Library for an evening event in July or August and also the owner of the town’s only bookstore for another event. The tiny shop is tucked into a corner of a former Baptist church where I hope to hang out for an afternoon and chat with the customers and do a reading or two. I’m also going to drop in to the shop when I’m in town for the museum event and sign any of the books he has available for sale, and when he sells a copy of my signed book he can tell the purchaser I’ll be at the shop to meet the customers on whatever date we decide.

Another possible venue is an annual art festival that takes place in the park next to the lake. I need to investigate to see if they will
let me set up a table to display and sell my book.

All  of these events are new territory for me and I’m very excited. I’ll probably be doing a report in my May blog of what worked and what did not work, so stay tuned!

Categories
Marketing

No Bookstore Around — You can Still Have a Signing!

"Pam-FaveHello! Pamela S. Meyers here with another article on book promotion. My theme for these monthly articles started out with a focus on marketing your debut novel. That was over a year ago. I now have two more books coming out in the next couple of months so my view has shifted.

Love Will Find a Way is releasing within the next couple of weeks, then fast on the heels of that book,  Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin releases on April 1, 2013. A couple short years ago if I’d been told I’d have one book already published and two more due out within a month of each other, I’d have said “no way.” God is full of surprises!

With my LFY book, I’m embarking into new marketing waters as the book is with a large publisher who is able to provide valuable assistance in marketing my novel. Does that mean that I can sit back and let my publisher promote my book? Not at all. I’m fast learning that I am part of a marketing team.

The setting for my story is a popular getaway spot and the downtown area is filled with nice gift shops, but no large bookstore. That’s where we’ve become creative. Over the April 27th and 28th weekend, I’m first doing a launch presentation and signing at the Geneva Lake Museum—an
"Glm_logo_large" appropriate venue since my book is historical romance—and the next day, I’m signing my book at the Cornerstone Gift Shop and Gallery, a very nice gift store that sits at the main intersection of town.The same intersection that is mentioned in the first chapter of my book.

The museum event will be more involved with a Power Point presentation where I plan to share anecdotes about my childhood growing up in the town and later doing research for my story. That will be followed by a question and answer session and a book signing.

During the event at the gift shop, I will not be doing a formal presentation, but positioned at a table where I can have conversations with the"IMG_0286-sq-sm" guests as I’m signing their books.

The point is that you don’t always have to have events and signings in a bookstore or a library. Go where the people are and try to utilize the setting or timeframe when selecting a venue.

Both of these events are new territory for me and I’m very excited. I’ll probably be doing a report in my May blog of what worked and didn’t work, so stay tuned!

Categories
Humor

Lights, Action, & A Sense Of Humor

"Pamela

Hi, Pamela S. Meyers here with more tips on marketing your new book.

The release date for my historical romance from Summerside Press, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (LFYLG) is fast approaching. April 1st will be here before I know it!

My friend who made my book trailer for Thyme for Love is hard at work developing a trailer for LFYLG, and he came up with a fantastic idea to have me personally introduce the story at the beginning of the clip. In addition to the romance, the story centers on the Rivera building which was built in 1933, the year my story takes place. The building is featured on the book cover and is now an historical landmark. Anyone who has ever visited the town will immediately recognize the building.

We decided that I would start the trailer standing in front of a current day color picture of the Riviera and then seemingly step back in time and be standing in front of a black and white photo of the building taken from approximately the same spot in the 1930s.

Of course, a real studio is the ideal locale for recording this type of thing, but since neither of us has a studio, we created a mini
studio in my living room by hanging a green sheet on the wall. We then attached the camera to a tripod, and brought in all the lighting we could find. I stood in front of the sheet and gave my intro, then donning a cloche hat, a style from the 1930s, I took a step as I transitioned into the 1933 setting. Ed will use special software to add the two shots of the building behind me.
"Outtakes

I only had about four or five sentences to deliver and I quickly learned it’s not that easy. We did about 20 takes before we got one we felt would work well. Each time I flubbed the lines or forgot to put on the hat as I transitioned to 1933, we had to restart. When I thought I had it mastered I started switching the last names of my heroine and hero. Of course we laughed a lot which made taking so many takes a lot easier to swallow.

Along the way I learned some things that might help you if you are game to try this.

  1. Have a good camera. I don’t have a video camera that is strictly for video, but I do have a small digital camera that takes HD
    movies.
  2. Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
  3. Use cue cards. I printed my script on a sheet of 8.5×11 paper, and we had it on an easel at eye level, but I had to shift my eyes to read it. I ended up ad-libbing, which worked until I kept giving my heroine the hero’s last name. He had to hold up a sign with her last name written on it so I wouldn’t flub it again. In retrospect, I’d tape the dialogue to the tripod underneath the camera. If you do this and have longer dialogue, a third person to hold cue cards next to the camera is strongly advised!
  4. Lastly, have a lot of  patience and a sense of humor. We had to do a lot of takes to get it right. Check out the video of my outtakes at the link below . We did have a lot of laughs, which is always good medicine.

 

You can access the short video of some of the outtakes at:

Categories
Marketing

What’s Your Marketing To-Do List for 2013?

"Pam-FaveHi all. Pamela S. Meyers here with another post on marketing your books. We are nearing the end of another year, and I’ve been thinking about what kind of New Year’s resolutions we authors can make as they relate to marketing.

Happy day after Christmas! If you’re not out shopping the bargains, now is the perfect time to put those marketing goals into place. What they might be depends on if you just had a book release, or have one coming up in the new year.

In my case, my Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is releasing April 1, 2013, and Love Will Find a Way, the sequel to my debut novel, releases sometime in the next few months. April may seem far away, but I’ve learned the hard way, it’s never too late to lay the groundwork for a
successful marketing program for your book. I can and should be doing as much as possible ahead of April. Here’s my list so far:

1. Book a blog tour.

Many people love to host authors and their books on their blogs, and many bloggers are already booking for at least the first half of 2013. That has to be the first item on my marketing resolution list for 2013. When you book a visit, if at all possible, offer to do a giveaway of a free book. The possibility of winning a free book, always brings more visitors to the blog, and if they don’t win, chances are they will look for your story to purchase it."To

2.  Book personal appearances and signings. 

I already have booked the Geneva Lake Museum for a presentation and signing on April 27th, but there are other places I need to contact such as the local library and an upscale gift shop that has already shown interest in hosting a signing event for me. Try to think out of the box and come up with some unique places that might be willing to host an event for you.

3. Contact local news media.

Always look into the local paper where you story is set. People love to read books set in places they know. I’ll be contacting the
editor of the paper to arrange for an interview. Since Lake Geneva is my hometown I’ll have somewhat more interest than usual, but I haven’t lived there in many years and a lot of people who live there now don’t know me at all. The more that read about my book prior to my event at the museum, the better opportunity I’ll have for a turnout and for sales. Also, if the location has a local radio station, contact them to arrange for an interview. But don’t stop with local media. Internet radio is fast becoming as popular as broadcast radio. Check into what programs are looking for authors to interview on the air.

4.  Order promotional items.

Now is the time to order bookmarks, postcards, and other items such as pens, sticky notes, or whatever clever items that could tie into your storyline. In my case, since my main characters work for the local weekly newspaper, I might look for something related to their profession, or something that promotes the town.

That’s the start of my marketing to-do list for 2013. I have a feeling more will be added as I think of them. Can you help me out and remind me of anything I may have forgotten?

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!