It doesn’t take much to peek someone’s curiosity. While spending money on advertising is important, for those of us on a slim budget it can become difficult to advertise and market when the payoff is not as big as we’d like. However, I found a good conversation starter: stickers!
Yes, stickers. And buttons, or anything you can slap on a purse/bag/coat that people will see. Mine says “Ask Me About My Novel”, and you know what? People do ask! Whether I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, going for a walk, or hanging around a coffee shop, it’s not unlikely someone will bring it up and ask me about my novel! Below is my sticker, I ordered a few on Vista Print and found the quality to be very good. A little ratty from being on a purse, but it’s not going anywhere!
You never know when you’ll find someone interested in talking about writing or someone who wants to buy a copy. Today, an amazing thing happened. I was in a play place with the kid I nanny and a mom asked me about my writing. Turns out, she and her business partner are opening a children’s book store in Evanston! They both have young children so their picture book collection is great, but they want to expand to a wider range of ages and genres. I write MG fantasy, so she was very excited to talk about her business and how she wants to get local authors to come to her store. I gave her a book and a business card (ALWAYS carry business cards and books when possible) and she said she’d read it and get back to me. I see her at this play place frequently, so I know I’ll run into her again at some point.
It just goes to show you never know what could happen. Little advertisements start a conversation, and even if you don’t sell a book that second, you never know. There are readers out there looking for books like yours! Let them know your book is out there.
Today was the first day of the FCBF. There are so many great authors attending, including Leonard Pitts Jr., Michael Perry, and Jacqueline Mitchard to name a few. I want to attend at least one event a day while also spending my week in WI with my family and friends from college.
I saw Leonard Pitts today and, although for me it wasn’t an eye-opening speech, it was a good talk. Most of what he talked about I have heard or experienced before, but it was fun to hear of another author whose characters wrote the story for him. My characters always have surprises in store for me. They get in fights, form relationships/bonds with someone unexpected, die, etc. A true writer lets the characters run the show. (They know without them we as writers are helpless!)
I am gearing up for my presentation on Friday afternoon (3pm at the Kaukauna Public Library.) I don’t know every author on the list for the week but I know I’m on the young scale, if not the youngest author. It’s pretty intimidating being among authors who have made names for themselves, but it’s also a huge honor. I was asked to present because the Kaukauna librarians loved my event I did with their students a year ago. You never know what kinds of connections you’re going to make.
Hope to see some of you around this week!
The marking madness continues for “The Healing Pool”! At the suggestion of the APL youth librarian I made a youtube video. It’s not what I would consider high art, but hopefully it is a positive portrayal of myself and my book. I used the video not only to showcase the book, but also to discuss my favorite thing about writing: naming characters! I want this little video to get the attention of teens in 2 minutes and hope that they are also interested in naming characters whether it is a fun process for them or a stressful one. So far the video has 10 views! Woo!
My second book signing is coming up! March 12th I will be doing an author visit at the Appleton Public library. This book signing is super exciting. I will finally be in an environment with (pre)teens who want to read the book! Since “The Healing Pool” is aimed for middle schoolers it will be nice to get a few young people there. I’m also excited to talk to and sell books to people I don’t know. The hardest thing about this business is selling books to people who don’t know me. The APL has been great so far for helping me advertise. They provided flyers for me and they have secret tips to getting teens to come (AKA snackies). The APL already has “The Healing Pool” on the shelves so hopefully a kid or two will be interested in picking it up.
My biggest project so far has been putting together a sample audio book. I have a handy voice recorder and a basic knowledge of Audacity to help edit the files. I’m hoping to finish recording the first 10 chapters of the book today and perhaps begin splicing and stapling the recordings together! Hopefully there’s not too much background noise…
In the mean time, enjoy my silly youtube video! I love feedback, please let me know if there’s anything you want to see me talk about!
This week has been crazy! It is the first week back at Lawrence and classes and rehearsals are taking over my life again. I miss being able to bum around at home, but duty calls!
Despite my insane school schedule I have been able to get a few things nailed down. I will be having my first official book signing and Q&A in a couple weeks at my school library! I had fun making a poster design today. I will post it below! The Mudd library bought a copy of the book without much prompting, but I initiated the idea of the book signing. They were more than happy to host me, and even suggested one of the nicer rooms to hold the event in. Now the fun part: getting people to come. I know a lot of my friends have rehearsal that day, but I can sell them books anytime. The key is to get other students/faculty I don’t know excited about the book.
I also have an appointment with the youth librarian at the Appleton Public Library. She wants to meet with me to discuss the book and whether it “fits their demographic” before we set a date. Personally, I think a middle grade fantasy will be a big hit. I do not anticipate any issues with that. I will let you know when that event is too! I’ll probably cheat and use the same poster template though. Sorry! 😉
In the mean time I have been carrying books around with me everywhere I go. I have sold 6 copies on campus doing this! Accessibility is key. It’s also fun to walk around with the books and shamelessly advertise to my friends!
Let me know what you think of the poster! What other marketing strategies do you like to use?
This past Thursday I had my first school visit! I went back to my alma mater Nichols Middle School to talk to the bookclubs and a couple of the LA/Lit classes. I saw many of my old teachers who were all very happy to see me! It was very strange being back though. I felt like I had gone back in time. (Mixed feelings about that…middle school was not the best time of my life!)
I had three different experiences at the school. I went to 2 classes of the same teacher. There I stopped by for 5 minutes to say who I was, talk about the book, and then open the floor for questions. Many of the students wanted to know how I got my idea for the book and where I went to school! It was very cute.
At the other teacher’s class, however, I was given 20 minutes! I introduced myself and the book like in the other class, but then I read a chapter from The Healing Pool. I decided next to give a creative writing exercise. I gave them 2 prompts and 5 minutes to start either a scene, a story, or develop a character. The seventh graders didn’t know what to do with that much freedom, so they all started a story! Many of them shared what they wrote which was a mix from a couple sentences to a whole plot in a paragraph. They seemed to enjoy it, but I think they were happier to have something fun and creative versus a book report! I ended my time with a little speech about inspiration and how we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Anything can give us the opportunity for inspiration. I also made it clear that inspiration should be for anything creative, not just writing. I know that writing does not resonate with everyone so I wanted them to know that music or dance or poetry or visual art can all be inspired from every day events. Always be open to inspiration!
The book clubs were lots of fun. Many of the students were writers so they talked about what they were writing and what they liked to read. They were also very particular! I told them how enough punctuation errors can make a book seem sloppy and can ruin the book, and several students already had examples of books with spelling errors! Yes, people, middle schoolers are paying attention!
I left most of my topics pretty open for the students. I was lucky that most of them had questions that I was able to elaborate on. I know that many authors bring presentations with them, but I didn’t want to do that for this crowd. The kids see enough power point presentations and listen to people talk at them in class enough as it is. I wanted them to talk and do so that they felt apart of the process and I felt like I reached them on their level. I do not know how I will structure my next school visit, but I hope that students will continue to respond to a more open approach.
So now that the book is up and ready to go (http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Pool-Linnea-Garcia-ebook/dp/B00Q96V0LM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417583014&sr=1-1&keywords=the+healing+pool ) the marketing strategies are beginning!
The first step of course was emailing all of my friends and family about the book. My mom emailed everyone she knows too, so a good portion of Evanston should at least be mildly aware that I have a book published! Many of my friends will be buying books directly from me once school starts up again in January, but for the time being I am trying to widen my net for people who want to buy online.
I emailed my middle school librarian to see if she would be interested in buying a copy for the library. She was so enthusiastic about it! She wants to buy a book and invited me to come to the bookclub meetings during lunch for all the grades. There’s a chance that a couple LA/Lit teachers might want me to stop by their classrooms as well. I doubt that I will sell a lot of books at the school, but it will be nice to know that I will have at least a small cluster of middle schoolers who will read my copy in the library!
I’ve also begun researching different websites to advertise the book. My first targets were the SCBWI member bookstore and Goodreads. Both places now have my book available to look at. I have also targeted Bookbub and a couple reader/writer groups on Facebook that I am apart of. I found an application to try and get on the B&N nook website, but that is still in process.
The biggest setback thus far has been the city of IL actually. I called to get an appointment about getting a sales license so I can sell my books in public libraries and such in IL, but according to the woman I spoke to I cannot get a business or sales license unless I have a permanent retail location. She sounded as equally confused and annoyed about this as I felt. I didn’t really know what to say to her. It’s not her fault, but really??? That makes no sense. A friend of mine suggested that I promote my book at libraries and then encourage them to buy via amazon or my website, but I don’t know if that will generate sales at all. I pictured myself with a nice little table with lots of books all pretty and set up at a library. If I show up with a single copy and some business cards it makes me feel like a really bad insurance saleswoman! I’ll email the libraries and ask (if they are interested in me coming) if the lack of sales license bothers them at all. I don’t see it being a big deal, but I also hate breaking rules!
Any IL self-published authors out there with advice? Bueller?