Monday, July 29, 2013

How to do a Successful Book Signing

Today Siv Ottem's cover art for her debut novel, Secrets of the Ash Tree, is being revealed by Michael Di Gesu, the cover artist. Be sure to visit his site after reading this post!

Book Signings
*Excerpt from How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!

Upon hearing the words “book signing,” most people think of a bookstore. And in the past, bookstores were great places for authors to meet readers and fans.

The decline of the bookstore and the emergence of e-books has changed that aspect. Fewer stores mean fewer opportunities for signings. Many people have converted to e-books, and while there are ways to autograph e-books, they’re difficult to sell in the store. (Although it’s not impossible, as signings at a Barnes and Noble can involve Nook sales.) The ease of self-publishing means there are more authors, too. Meeting a real live author in person just isn’t a novelty anymore.

However, there are those who still treasure an autographed book. And since fostering relationships is important, personal appearances can still spur sales.

With bookstores on the decline, where else can you do a signing? The possibilities are endless! Depending on the subject matter of your book, consider these venues:

• Gift stores
• Specialty stores
• Coffee shops
• Arts and crafts fairs
• Festivals
• Farmers markets
• Fundraisers
• Political conventions
• Church events
• Libraries
• Trade shows
• Museums
• Restaurants
• Parks
• Neighborhood events
• Gym or YMCA
• School and college events
• Cruise ships

Use your creativity to think of other opportunities.

Consider ways you could turn a signing into an event by doing a reading, giving a talk, conducting a workshop, etc. Your appearance could tie in with a local event or involve other authors.

Publishers and publicists sometimes send authors on tour. Due to the cost, most authors don’t get to enjoy this luxury. Often it is up to you to set up your own appearances.

Here’s a checklist of the proper etiquette for setting up and conducting a book signing:

• Contact the venue a couple months in advance via a letter and/or a phone call. Similar to pitching the media, you should be prepared to explain the benefits of your appearance and what you will do to bring in customers.
• Confirm the date and how they intend to acquire books. Will they order from your wholesaler or publisher, or will you be expected to bring your own books?
• Send a media release out to contacts in the area about your appearance and list it in every free event calendar.
• Send out invitations, either physical or emails, to your personal and business contacts in the area.
• Check for local book clubs and writer groups and invite them as well.
• If applicable, you might even want to contact local schools, colleges, businesses, or organizations.
• Send the store promotional materials several weeks in advance, such as bookmarks and posters.
• Confirm the date the week before the event and make sure the venue has books on hand.
• Arrive early to set up your display table and meet with the staff.
• Be sure your display table is attractive and enticing. Use props, displays, candy, giveaways, a signup sheet, etc.
• Engage those who walk by your table—don’t just sit there!
• Hand out bookmarks to every person you meet.
• Don’t be afraid to roam the store or venue.
• Offer to sign extra books.
• Thank everyone before you leave and send a handwritten thank you card afterward. (You’d be surprised how many fail to do this.)

Even if you didn’t sell a ton of books, if you were a delight to all involved, it is likely you will be asked to return in the future. Often book signings lead to other opportunities. The networking and marketing aspects are just as important as actual book sales.

Any other book signing tips or locations?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Royalty-Free Stock Images

Like music, images are copyrighted. Permission must be granted by the artist or photographer before you can use them. This goes for commercial and non-commercial use.

If you’re looking for an image for a book cover, you want to find one that is royalty-free. It needs to be clean with a high resolution. (300 dpi)

There are many site out there with complete free images, but there’s a downside - many also have spyware.

If you’re looking for images, it’s better to stick with trusted sites that sell images:

Shutter Stock
Deposit Photos
IStock Photos
Big Stock Photo
Getty Images

There is always a chance someone else has used the image, so do a Google search to see where else it appears.

Best case scenario is to hire an artist or photographer to create a cover from scratch. Not the cheapest, but certainly the best!

I’ve been a professional photographer for 23 years now and I’ve considered offering some of my photos for sale. (Since diversity seems to be my middle name!) They would of course be royalty-free and reasonable. If I decide to go this route, I’ll let you know.

Any other good sites for images? Would you buy direct from the photographer?

And your inspirational photo of the day:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Publishing Tidbits and Interviews

I have an interview today at Susan Whitfield’s BLOG. The author of many books, she’s a fellow NC resident and a delightful person. Please stop by her site and say hello.

My cats, Rocko and Spunky, were interviewed by Shelly Arkon’s dogs at her BLOG last Thursday. I was out of town Thursday and Friday for a seminar and didn’t get the link up until lunch on Friday. If you didn’t get a chance to meet my two little black rats, please stop by her site.

If you’re looking for writing, publishing, and promoting tips, visit Elizabeth S Craig every Sunday when she posts Twitter links to hundreds of resources. She and Mike Fleming also manage the Writer’s Knowledge Database, the LARGEST online database for writers. Articles, tips, resources - it’s all there at your fingertips.

I won a signed copy of Searching for Arthur from Donna Hosie on Saturday. Thank you so much, Donna.

I also won a copy of Carolyn J. Rose’s No Substitute for Money at Patricia Stoltey’s blog. Thank you Carolyn and Patricia. Since this was the second time I’d won her book (what are the odds of that happening?) I gifted it to my mother-in-law.

And a drop for those of you still seeking rain…

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Author Revealed and the Effects of Delayed Print Copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling on Retailers

This week it was revealed that author Robert Galbraith is really J. K. Rowling. From Entertainment Weekly -

"In a statement to The Sunday Times of London, which followed up an anonymous tip with some literary sleuthing, Rowling fessed up that she is indeed Galbraith: “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

"Despite some sterling reviews (Publisher’s Weekly declared it a “stellar debut”), the book has barely made a sales ripple either in the U.K. or the U.S. It was published stateside in late April by Muholland Books, a three-year-old imprint of Little, Brown (which released The Casual Vacancy). One expects sales to explode now that Rowling has been revealed as the true author"

While many think it was a marketing stunt, evidence points that it was not. Copies of the print book are rare and the publisher doesn’t have many in stock. They are now scrambling to crank out another 440,000 books to meet demand.

That demand may be met before those books ever hit the market though. From Yahoo Finance -

"In the meantime, however, most bookstores don’t have print copies of the book. Amazon says the hardcover will ship in one to three weeks and refers readers to Kindle if they want to read Cuckoo immediately.

"This is freaking out bricks-and-mortar booksellers who fear that by the time that they finally get print copies in, everyone will already have read it on Kindle. The New York Times quotes one store owner: “People who can’t get it as a book are going to run and get it as an ebook. By the time the books are back, two weeks from now, most people are going to have read it on some device. That really concerns me.”"

Physical bookstores will likely take a hit and sell fewer books. Could this have been prevented? Was it a marketing stunt? What do you think of famous authors writing under a pseudonym?

Yesterday my cats, Rocko and Spunky, were interviewed by Shelly Arkon’s dogs at her SITE. Can you say the truth about cats and dogs?

And your Friday inspirational photo:

A little ice to cool you off!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Promotional Tips from Tara Tyler, the Pop Traveler

Diane! Thanks so much for having me over to promote Pop Travel!

It is so professional in here. Immaculately decorated with abstract art, chrome furniture with white, leather cushions, and silver, globe light fixtures poking out of urns on long stems like alien trees. I've never been to such an intimidating office. I wish I wore a suit!

Anyway, I'm here to talk about promotion and publishing. Diane is the queen of promoting – she wrote the book!

All I can do is offer tips from my limited experience so far. And believe me, I'm still learning.

  • Research! Buy books like Diane's. Read articles about promoting. Find all the advice and tips you can handle. The more you know, the more you can choose from to pick what will work best for you.
  • Buck up! If you want to sell, you have to get out there. No more hiding behind that computer. You have to get a head shot of yourself and lose the Hello Kitty cartoon avatar. You are now a brand and you have to get out there and sell yourself.
  • Be innovative! I am impressed by new things an author does to promote herself. Take what works and spruce it up or give it a twist.
  • Ask for help! Ask your publisher, editor, self-published friends. And ask your friends and family for help in ways they can - they will step up, but you have to ask. You are not alone.

Since I just started, I don't have much more to say. I've heard the best way to sell your book is to write another one. When people like a book/author, they want more!

Thanks again for having me, Diane, and for helping me spread the word about Pop Travel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"In a futuristic cat-and-mouse game, hard-boiled detective J.L. Cooper is chased across the world using Pop Travel teleportation, which has a deadly flaw he is determined to expose."

Find Pop Travel on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Find Tara: Blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Awards

Winning an award can give a book a good boost. By itself an award doesn’t sell copies, but coupled with promotions from publisher and author, it can move books.

And the list of awards is much bigger than you think. Here is just a small sampling:

Joseph Henry Jackson Award
American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal
Frost Medal
Goldsmith Book Prize
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Ambassador Book Award
Walt Whitman Award
Spur Award
Autumn House Press
Best Translated Book Award
Sherwood Anderson Foundation Award
Edgar Allan Poe Award

Queensland Premier's Literary Awards
Miles Franklin Award
Aurealis Award
Western Australian Premier's Book Awards

Booker Prize
Somerset Maugham Award
Hessell-Tiltman Prize
James Tait Black Memorial Prize

Lorne Pierce Medal
Booker Prize
Wright Awards
Dayne Ogilvie Prize

Anthony Award
Glass Key award
Shamus Award
Hammett Prize
Edgar Award
Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Mythopoeic Awards
BSFA award
Prometheus Award
World Fantasy Award
Locus Award
Sidewise Award for Alternate History

Caldecott Medal
Michael L. Printz Award
Coretta Scott King Award
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
Hans Christian Andersen Award

Bram Stoker Award

See any you’d like to win?

And your Friday inspirational photo:

Hopefully that cools you off a bit!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Talk About Pop Travel

POP TRAVEL by Tara Tyler
Released July 7, 2013 from Curiosity Quills
Find it on Amazon

In 2080, technology has gone too far for J. L. Cooper. He is happily hidden in his simple, secluded life as a private detective in a small town, far from any pop travel laser teleportation stations. Until he takes on a client who insists pop travel made his fiancé disappear.

When Cooper investigates, he finds evidence of pop travel's deadly flaw, sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother. He’d like to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

The only way he can save his brother is to fool his observers while looking for a way to expose the problem. He decides to go to the source and confront the Creator of pop travel. On his way, Cooper meets Southern siren, Geri Harper (an undercover FBI agent) who tags along despite his protests. When they reach the Creator, he has plans of his own and leads them on a wild detour.

Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she finally found some roots, writing and teaching in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. In addition to her novels, she has published short stories and poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Humor. So many stories to tell!
Visit Tara: Blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tara will be visiting here in one week!

And an inspirational photo for you today:

I bet you're inspired to take a nap now!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

We watched Ratatouille the other night, and I was struck by what food critic Anton Ego said towards the end:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

I think it would help to keep that in mind when we send our work into the world to be judged by critics.

The quote continues:

“But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*.”

And that should give us all hope. Not everyone can become a great writer, but a great writer can come from anywhere.

Just keep writing!

See you next week and those in the US, have a wonderful Fourth of July!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Industry News and Wilmington, NC Photos

Barnes and Noble announced last week it will no longer be in the tablet business. Their quarterly report revealed that sales for the Nook Tablet had tanked. It also revealed that retail sales have dropped 10%, and some speculate this is in part to the fact Barnes and Noble is stocking few titles. You can read the full article at Melville House.

Hachette Book Group announced they will purchase Disney’s adult trade publishing imprint, Hyperion. Disney Publishing Worldwide, the world’s largest publisher and licensor of children’s books, will retain all of its Disney and Disney-Hyperion branded children’s and young adult book titles though. Looks like Disney just wants to focus on titles for kids now. Read the full article at Book Business.

And Vice Magazine has withdrawn from it Web site a photo series depicting famous female authors committing suicide, after the piece drew widespread criticism for being “breathtakingly tasteless.” (You think???) Petapixel had the article and a sample of the photos (blurred) on their site.

Wilmington, NC is a favorite place to visit and I’ll be there again on July 18 doing my Publishing 102 seminar at Cape Fear Community College. Thought I would share some photos from last month’s trip with my husband’s parents, including a rare shot of me. (When you’re the photographer, there are never photos of you.)