Tag Archives: marketing

Sticker Advertisements Work!

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!20170413_124700

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.

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Filed under advertising, ideas, marketing, writing

Contract Offer…Yay?

Today I received my very first contract from a publisher! Woo Hoo!!!

Stop. Read. Think. Re-read. Research.

I am new to contracts, so even though I may not be clear on every detail of the contract, I know to take a step back, understand what I can, and research the rest. The contract came from Black Rose Writing (BRW), and unfortunately their reputation does not make me optimistic. Most of the articles I found online are at least 5-8 years old, so the publisher has changed since then. However, it’s unsettling to read the unsavory reviews of a publisher who sent a contract.

They are not asking for money upfront, insisting I buy X number of books (as they once did), but I’m still hesitant. I’ve reached out to an author published through them to get an author’s experience of the publisher today. I’ve also reached out to SCBWI, my friend who writes and reviews contracts, and other authors in my critique groups for advice. It’s tempting to say “I did it” and sign away, although if BRW is a vanity publisher it’s about as exciting as getting a participation trophy at a sports event.


Today I have heard back from several trusted people about BRW. Most people I have talked to are also skeptical and want to know more. This uneasy response has confirmed that I will not be choosing BRW as my  publisher.

The joy of getting a contract has worn off and disappointment has settled in, but I am glad for it. It’s important to do the research and tap into resources. I talked to a librarian today and she knew of another indie publisher in IL that is small but produces quality work. I will check them out. As a new author, using a small publishing house is a great way to get published and start the process of getting known. BRW, however, boarders the line of vanity press and requires the author to do most of the marketing. At least that is the vibe I get from the contract and website.

For those of you new to publishing who are afraid of getting targeted by vanity publishers, here are some things to look out for:

  1. A reputable publisher WILL NOT ask you to pay money upfront. If someone offers you a contract and requires you to pay a fee, buy a certain number of books, or pay for marketing services: run.
  2. Weird typos. Publishers like words and order and professionalism. Having a stupid typo in a contract is a scary sign. BRW had two: 31 of February, and Witnesseth.
  3. If you contact the press and they can’t say anything specific about why they chose you, it probably means they didn’t read the MS. You want someone who loves your work, not your wallet.
  4. Vanity and Subsidy press is the same thing. Both will prey on authors and try to get money from them. A publisher is supposed to support YOU, not the other way around.
  5. More info about staying safe and informed below.


  1. http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/vanity/
  2. http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/self-publishing-vanity-publishing/

If you have experience with author contracts, what to look for, and how to stay informed, please comment below. I too have a lot to learn, and sharing helpful information unites us as a writing community.


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Filed under agent search, contract, query, questions, Set Backs, subsidy press, vanity press, writing

Getting Back in the Marketing Groove

I’ve really been slacking on advertising The Healing Pool lately. With graduation, moving, new job, and life in general, I got a little distracted. However, since I’m working part-time I have time to read. Yesterday I finished the book 250 Ways to Promote Your Book by Patricia Fry. I’ve read her books before on publishing and I like her style. She’s honest and realistic, but is also reassuring that as long as I keep up with marketing I will be successful. She is a great reminder of how much work needs to go into each book, and that push has gotten me excited again.

The one flaw I found with Fry’s book was that most of her suggestions were geared towards non-fiction book. Tips like selling your cat book at a pet store or doing a cooking demonstration for a cook book. As a middle grade fantasy author I need to find fantasy places to get into. I’m thinking about trying to get a table at a comic con or perhaps doing a book sale at a comic store? I know The Healing Pool is not a comic book, but I’m trying to think of as many ideas as I can about where my book can fit in. Especially since my characters are not traditional fantasy characters (ie. no dragons, dwarves, or fairies etc.)

I’ve written several times that I am a “shameless advertiser” and that part of me is coming back. While I’m having trouble getting into things now to advertise I’m doing my best to plan ahead. I took Fry’s advice and decided to invest in promotional material. I ordered some new business cards and 3 different styles of buttons to give away at book signings and such. I’m getting excited! Now all I need to do is make positive connections and get my name out there.

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Marketing Madness!

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!

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My Business Project

This term in school I am working on a business plan/proposal to start my own publishing company. This class is designed for musicians to create a business for themselves whether it be a studio or website to connect composers and musicians, but the Dean of the conservatory is also thrilled to have non-music businesses in the class. Since I have already published a book on my own I am technically a business. I keep track of my sales, expenses, and profits. I have a basic but effective Xcel document that organizes my online sales and my personal sales. Createspace is nice since it keeps track of everything for me, but it can be frustrating since they wait so long to actually pay the author. At least everything is kept in a detailed record. I also have a blog, website, and facebook page to gain publicity and marketing.

So, in short, I have had a different experience in this class than my classmates. I am interested in maybe having a publishing company in the future, but for now the work I’m doing will be to gain knowledge on not only how to develop a publishing company but how to expand my current business. For example, part of the assignment is to have a name, mantra, and logo for the business to go on the website. The name I chose is an expansion of my current website: Garcia Originals Publishing. It’s pretty simple, but the name Garcia Originals came from my dad. Everything he makes from pasta sauce to wood carvings he dubs a “Garcia Original.” The name stays. My mantra is “See What Happens” since the original title for this blog was “Let’s See What Happens!”

The current “logo” for my website http://www.garciaoriginals.com is a fancy font. However, this class has given me the inspiration to get a fancier logo! I have my Book Bag which I carry around with me at all times. It has books to sell along with bookmarks and business cards to hand out. It even has a stuffed baby rhino named Rhodes. He’s been in the bag since the beginning and I think that he deserves to be my logo! I contacted a graphic designer friend and he’s working on a professional logo for me right now! I can’t wait to see what the final product is, but it features Rhodes holding a quill pen!

In short, some of the simplest details I’m learning in this class will help make my current business and mock-publishing business look professional and exciting. I am excited to create another website and share it with you all for comments and critique. If there’s anything on my current website you would like to see, please let me know! I am still new to the business of a self-published author and I will take all of the help and support I can get!

I will leave you with this picture of Rhodes. Have a great weekend!

rhodes 1

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Unexpected Opportunity!

I contacted the youth librarian at the Appleton Public Library (APL) to schedule a book signing/reading with the young-ins.  I met with her on Friday, and I thought our meeting would be rather short. She would look at the book, check for the big No-No’s (drugs, sex, violence, etc.) and then we would pick a date and time. It would be easy and brief.

Our meeting did not go quite as planned. It was much, much better.

She looked through the book while I told her about myself and a little about The Healing Pool. (Apparently she can read, listen, and process all the information at the same time.) After she finished flipping through the book, she turned to me and said:

“You know, of the author visits I’ve done, this book is one of the best I’ve seen. You’ve got great flow, good dialog. Do you have any representation?”

Naturally, I was shocked and thrilled at the same time. I told her the book was self-published and that I tried the traditional querying route but it didn’t work for me. She looked at the book some more, and then asked if I would be interested in any representation. Apparently she has connections with Random House and will be seeing her friend at the end of the month at the ALA conference. At this point I am dumbfounded. I handed her a thick stack of my business cards and she put them in some good place to remember them. I can’t believe what just happened.

Of course, she has not read the book yet so nothing might come out of this. Regardless, I am excited for the chance to maybe get connected with Random House or some other agent! And, as a bonus, our meeting got even better. She led me through the library and told me the writer magazines I should look into. She also told me what to bring to the author event and that she might put me with another author (who is backed by Disney) to do a duo-author event. We discussed how to make a sample audio book to get people interested and maybe a little video to get the kids interested. According to her, they like an author’s personality over the description of the book most of the time. If they like me, they will come.

So, I have work to do! Soon I will be making a sample audio book, maybe reading the first few chapters, and a little promo video to put on the APL facebook page. And my page and website as well, of course! My book has only been out for 9 weeks! Based on everything she was telling me, I feel so behind! I know that’s not the case, but now I know some solid, exciting marketing strategies to get people to notice me. The hardest thing about being a new, self-published author is getting people I don’t know to read the book.

Who knew one little event could make such an impact!


Filed under booksigning, Self-Publishing

Upcoming Book Signing

My book signing is one week away and I am still thinking about the flow of the whole thing. I know they want me to do a reading and a Q&A, but I’m not sure what makes the most sense. I should probably introduce myself first. That would be a good step. However, I’m not sure after I introduce myself if I should launch right into the reading or open it up to the Q&A? I could introduce the book, talk about the characters and the creatures of Mauth and then open the floor to discussion. After some questions I can read a couple chapters and then hope I catch enough people’s attention and sell a couple copies. Ideally. Would that make sense? I could also introduce myself and the book and then start reading. I’m sure that after I read a couple chapters that will spur a couple questions.

Has anyone out there done a book signing? Any advice for this newbie? Any information on a good flow, or at least what not to do, would be immensely helpful! Thanks to everyone!

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Fun with Marketing!

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?

Poster The Healing Pool


Filed under advertising, marketing

School Visit

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.

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Filed under marketing, school visit, Self-Publishing

Let the Battle of Marketing Begin!

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?


Filed under marketing