Monday, February 20, 2012

Stephen Tremp - Promoting Beyond the Bookstore

Today I welcome Stephen Tremp to share some promotional tips while I appear on his blog, Breakthrough Blogs, with marketing tips of my own.

I have to admit the closing of Borders Books and Music was a huge blow to me. I had many book signings there at the dozens of locations within driving distance of where I live. I had set up an account and Borders carried my books in their warehouse. I could call or email any Borders store in the country and ask tem to place a copy or three on their shelves. Over half would oblige. They were so easy to work with. For two years Borders was my meat and potatoes.

But things are different now. They’re gone and now Barnes and Noble (who I also had an account with) now refuses to carry my books or allow me book signings. So I had to take stock and look for other ways to promote OPENING other than virtual marketing through my Blog and other social media venues. And what I found, to my surprise, was a resurgence in sales of BREAKTHROUGH. Now that I’m with CreateSpace (I left iUniverse), I can buy breakthrough for under $6.00 a copy and sell them for a larger profit.

Example: I can purchase copies at $5.80 including shipping and sell them on the street for $10.00. As I thought this through, I realized I spent two to three hours at a book signing and made much less per copy sold. I can set up shop and sell where people are out and about and sell more books in the same amount of time. And I can repeat the process every weekend, often in the same spots, with similar results. And with OPENING coming out in paper form February 15th, I will have two books to sell! And having a second book opens up new opportunities.

Foot Work: I’m also doing some old-fashioned advertising. I’m printing flyers and my kids and I place them on people’s windshields. At first, I was hesitant to do this. But I can print of two color flyers per page at a cost of $0.015 per flyer. I cut the pages in half at Kinkos Copiers. And it only takes a few minutes to hit a hundred cars when we go to the mall, grocery store, or wherever. Tip: When printing flyers, use a lot of secondary colors. You’ll get more copies per cartridge rather than burning through one primary color and wasting the rest of your ink cartridge.

Grocery Stores: I’ve contacted most major grocery stores and chains like CVS and Walgreens. Just contact the main office and submit what they can purchase and sell a book for. I’m willing to let sell BREAKTHOUGH to them on consignment at cost. They can sell it at $12.95. That’s over seven dollars profit per book to them. I’ve made it three levels up the corporate ladder with two of these major chains. No decision yet, but they like the money they can make. My goal here is exposure and with OPENING out and ESCALATION due out this fall, I’m hoping people will purchase these at full price through Amazon.

Indie Bookstores: They’re Baaaack! Indie bookstores are becoming popular again and willing to take my book on consignment and do book signings. I love that personal touch! Most in my area will carry my books.

Hotels: I also found many of the hundreds of hotels of hotels will carry my books on consignment. I may make a buck or two off each copy sold, but they add up over time. Guests see them displayed on the lobby and are happy to buy a book with a local theme.

Question: What are some of the creative promotions you use or have you seen that work?

You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. His books can be purchased or downloaded at Amazon and Smashwords.

Smashwords for $1.99
Kindle
Smashwords

Thanks, Stephen. Be sure to visit Breakthrough Blogs for my suggestions on promoting in the real world.

36 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Some great out-of-the-box promo ideas here, Stephen! I think you're a natural salesman, too, and find approaching potential retailers easy. Was it hard for you at first, or has it always been easy to talk to bookstores and other retailers?

Marta Szemik said...

Although I do have a peperback available, I try to concentrate on the ebooks as it's a little easier to reach readers online. With all the gadgets they have these days, I find many are using (or will be using) electronics to read books.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Marta, I think the big shift to electronic has changed so much.

Carol Kilgore said...

Lots of good ideas here. Thanks!

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks Diane for hosting me today. I've found that there is still much one can do in the real wold to promote their books that are cheap, free, and a great way to meet people and get some exercise too.

Southpaw said...

These are solid idea, Stephen. Thanks.

Morgan Mandel said...

Flyers on windshields - I'll have to try that one.

I have postcards printed up by Vistaprint.com, a very reasonable place for promo materials. I have cover art and QR codes on them for all my books linking to the Kindle buy spot.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Johanna Garth said...

Those are great ideas! I've heard people talk about doing book signings at movie theaters on opening night of a movie that is similar to their book genre...but I've never done that myself.

Aubrie said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome ideas! I think the flyer idea is a great one.

Stephen Tremp said...

Flyers work! I can see a noticeable spike in traffic on my blog when I hand out flyers on windshields. Its a small cost and if I get some sales then they pay for themselves.

cleemckenzie said...

Being creative is the only way authors are going to make it. You certainly are doing a super job!

Congratulations.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I could do flyers...

Phyllis Humphrey said...

You have some great ideas, but be careful about putting flyers on car windshields. THIS IS CONSIDERED LITTERING. I worked for a shopping center that had to clean these up (many people just drop them on the ground) and they tracked down the person who did it and they were fined. But thanks for the others.

DL Hammons said...

Stephen sure knows how to pound the pavement to support his book. Kudo's to him!! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Phyllis, that's a good point! I know in our town leaving flyers on windshields can get you in trouble if the company that owns the parking lot complains.

Stephen Tremp said...

That's a great point Phyllis. Although I may live in flyer capital of the world. I can go to the grocery store and come out to five flyers on my windshiled.

I may now change to leaving flyers on doors. Every day there are flyers and business cards left on my door from realtors, house cleaners, landscapers, and such. I take the kids for walks a few times a week so I can give them each a stack and let them leave flyers on doors. Kids have no fear.

Monti said...

Thanks, Steve, for your promo tips. Have you had any problem with the Indy bookstores not paying you? Some love to take books on consignment, then they don't like paying very much. Maybe it's different in California!

Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Those are some great ideas for promotion. Our local indie sells on consignment but they sell mostly used books and not many of their customers will pay the price of a new book. It's been really tough getting book signings lately.

The Golden Eagle said...

These are some great ideas!

Arlee Bird said...

These are some fine ideas. Authors are going to have to keep resorting to more creative thinking to market their products and you are doing what needs to be done.


Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out
Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Mason Canyon said...

Stephen, you have some great ideas here. You mentioned hotels, I wonder about airport coffee shops or such. Continued good luck.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Stephen, as someone who owned retail stores for a long time, I've always thought that alternative venues were better possibilities than traditional bookstores. I also prefer speaking engagements and the Web. I love the Web for its reach and its viral possibilities.

Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about the new edition (expanded! updated! even more helpful for writers!) of The Frugal Book Promoter, now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Diane, Hi Stephen
Such great advice Stephen. A popular independent book store here in Colorado has just announced print on demand. The Tattered Cover. It is the place to go and always has been. So I will check into that soon.
Nancy

Susan Fields said...

That's an excellent point about using hotels to sell books with a local theme. Thanks for the tips!

Helen Ginger said...

Congratulations Stephen. You are really working hard to make sure your books are available to readers. I wouldn't have thought about hotels!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hotels are a great place to sell on consignment. But as some commenters stated some may be unwilling to pay up. I'm still new at this so I'm not sure what to expect. That's why U start out with small amounts of books. Those establishments that do sell copies and pay me I will try to leave them ten copies instead of three.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I feel thrilled to see Stephen's book everywhere. He is one of my favourites. He works so hard, he really is an inspiration for other writers.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Stephen, just don't attach them to mailboxes. That's a federal offense.

Monti, that's why I don't do consignment.

Mason, airport bookstores are great but very difficult to get into for appearances.

Ciara said...

There are some great tips here. :) I need some fresh ideas. I've always loved the indie bookstores, so I'm glad they are back. :)

Sarah Pearson said...

There are some fantastic ideas here. I never would have thought of half of these :-)

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks Diane for hosting me. Always a pleasure to do a Home and Away with you. And thanks to everyone for stopping by and for leaving your comments!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane and Stephen .. great thoughts here .. as times have changed. Interesting read - and congratulations on Opening your 2nd of the trilogy being out ..

Cheers Hilary

KarenG said...

I'm glad to see indie bookstores popping back up, and like you, my small publisher had found Borders great to work with. So sorry to lose Borders :(

Jai Joshi said...

Stephen, great post!

I empathise with the blow that was Border's closing. I had booksignings with them all over the country and was devastated when they were lost to me.

But all your points about finding new venues and ways to market are spot on. And CreateSpace sounds great. I'm with Trafford but have been thinking of leaving them for ages.

One of the creative promotions I've seen work are book trailers on youtube. It's work to get them made but they provide a visible way for readers to learn about the book and connect to the story before they buy it.

Jai

Susanne Drazic said...

It's a shame that Barnes and Noble won't carry your books in their stores or let you do book signings. I would think that letting you do book signings would halp bring customers in to the store. I'm glad that you are able to do that with the Indie stores.