Friday, February 28, 2014
So a few months ago when I decided to self-publish Harlow 1 I told one of my girlfriends, who jokingly said, "you should have a launch party." I laughed for half a second and then thought, why the heck not? When you have any new business or product don't you launch it into the world? Create buzz? At the very least tell whoever will listen about it? So why as an author would I not do the same with my "product?" I'll tell you why, because books are a strange thing to market, and usually the people that write them hate being in the public eye. We're the ones that are sitting with our head buried in a notebook or a laptop at Starbucks cramming all our deep rooted desires into characters that will not leave us alone. So when the idea of planning a party that's sole focus is my work, my private words that convey so much of who I truly am was not my favorite thing but it was a necessary thing if I don't want all my hard work to go unnoticed. So let's get to it, how to plan a party for your book.
1.) Pick a venue. If your book has cool theme, try and find a restaurant, bookstore, rentable space, friends house, whatever that adheres to that theme. If you don't have a theme then just pick a place that you feel comfortable in and where you don't have to spend too much mullah. After all the point of is to sell some books so you don't want to dish out too much dough. I luckily had friend I met back when I was selling wine. I've always loved her Tasting Room, it's sexy AND cozy and just makes you want to spend money and not even feel bad about it. Luckily her space was available and just like that I had a release party venue.
2.)Selecting a venue usually gives you the date and time of your launch so now that you have those, put together an invite list. Think of the people that have helped you on your journey to become a published author and who will be almost as excited as you. They get invited because you should thank them but also because they're the ones that are going to spread the word.
"What are doing this weekend?"
"Oh I didn't tell you, my friend is having a book release party for their fabulous novel, you should come."
(A reason why you shouldn't be obsessed with the guest list, keep it open so that people can invite their friends. Meeting new people can lead to all kinds of good, like how I just met a copyeditor actually. Anyway, I digress.)
Also invite your target audience. I went to local bookstores that are carrying my book and handed out invites, also I contacted my local library's YA club and told them about the launch. *On my invites I informed folks that they could purchase the book to have it signed by the author at the event-that way you don't have to order a ton of books to sell at the release and if no one show you won't have lug them back home(talk about a walk of shame) and ponder what you're going to do with a room full of books. (But DO, have a few copies to sell at the event for late invites who couldn't get their books shipped in time, and also, it is your book's party so it should be visible).
3.) Press release. Inform local newspapers, radio stations, cooperate bookstores, that you have arrived and your book is ready to be purchased.
4.)Figure out what you're going to do. Plan on making a toast explaining what it took to get you to this point (publishing your book, writing your book, any fun tidbits that happened along the way). Acknowledge them for being your earliest and biggest supporters. Maybe you want to read an excerpt from your book.
5.)Network, network, network, and mention upcoming events so they can inform their friends.
"What did you do this weekend?"
"I went to my friend's book release."
"No way, that sounds fun, I love things like that, I wish I had known."
"I had no idea you liked to read, well they are having a (fill in the blank here) next month, we should go to that."
See how easy that was?
6.)Enjoy! This is your party, your big day, you wrote a freaking book and you didn't just let it sit on your PC you actually published it. Not very many people do that. So enjoy your book party, this your moment to reap the rewards of all the work you put in to get you to this point. So have some fun even though you do have to make a public speech. :)
Sidenote: If you're thinking a book release party isn't for you, you're too shy, or no one would want to come, or whatever, stop it. This is imperative, creating an Facebook page and embracing other forms of social media is just the beginning. You need real life connections if you want to really get your community behind your project. I bought a smoking hot dress with a set of heels to match, do whatever it takes to get you pumped. For me it's clothes, and also knowing I won't have to stare at my closet for hours wondering what I'm going to wear. Cheers, and if you're in town join us at the launch party tomorrow night. I'm thinking of creating an Instagram account just for the event or at least live tweeting it lol. Okay now I think I just need to go to bed, more tomorrow blogosphere.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Everyone once and a while you meet someone that can be your soul-mate, your perfect match, your BFF, well that's what happened when I met fellow paranormal author, mom, and blogger, Shannon Barczak. She is witty and a great author. And she is just figuring it all out like me, which is why she will be making this guest blogging thing a regular occurrence starting next month. I know it's so exciting! But don't just take my word for it-before you start your happy dance, check out her interview and get to know her a bit :) Happy Monday!
A big bag of Twizzlers and a bottle of Ibuprofen! I start off by writing out a synopsis on good old fashioned paper with a pen. I then write out my chapter outlines and also do any research that will be in the book. A composition notebook is never far from my side when I write. After I have everything written down, I open Word on my computer and let it rip.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
These past couple weeks my blog has been filled with wonderful guests but in the real world my life was also filled with a ton of marketing for my book. In this post I'm just going to talk about selling my book yo a local Indie store.
I decided to include Expanded Distribution (if you self pub via Amazon's Createspace you have the option to include your book in their Expanded Distribution Channels for free, this involves Barnes & Noble, Ingram and a few others) so that my book would be available in some brick and mortar stores. This was exciting but meant that I was going to have to hit up these real life stores and get them to buy my book and then sell it.
This made me quite nervous. Even though I teach public speaking and even have a unit on persuasion I was dreading having to plug my book. Then I remembered, in another lifetime I had been a wine distributor and I had canvassed this town's local businesses and gotten them to buy my juice so how was that different from now? So I pulled my head out of the insecurity clouds and decided to make my first phone call...
(For the purpose of time and just fun, I am going to outline my first sale to an Indie bookstore with bullet points)
1.) Type up a book flyer. This should include your books title, a pic of at least the front cover, ISBN number, Retail price of your book, and how they can order it (Ingram, directly from you, etc.) short reviews from readers (if you have them). A description of your book (I used what appears on the back of my book) and an, About the Author paragraph that has your contact info.
2.) Be humble. Chances are you're not high in demand, they've probably never heard of you so start off with the simple question of "do you carry self-published local authors?" as opposed to, "how much will you pay me for 100 copies?"
3.) Be persistent. If the person in charge of ordering isn't available when you call, call back. If they miss your scheduled meeting, reschedule. I know to you thus is a huge deal, getting your masterpiece on a shelf in an actual bookstore, but for them it's just work so stay cool and persevere. For my meeting the manager was at lunch so I hung out and perused the shelves dir 15 minutes. (I actually found Albert Brooks' 2030 so win-win).
4.) Be prepared, have a copy of your book ready to show/sell to them along with your book flyer.
5.) Have an infrastructure in place i.e. Have a way of getting your books to the bookstore when sales pick up.
OK, go sell some books!
To my self-published friends out there, would you add anything else to this list?
Have a good week!!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Her first book, The Shadow Rises, was published in January 2013.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
My computer has kicked the bucket! Luckily it allowed me to publish the first Harlow Book and host a couple of guest blogs. I'm already to order a new one but I feel like maybe the computer's death is an analogy for my writing career at the moment, slow down Valerie, life's a marathon not a sprint. So while part of me wants to pay the expedited shipping fee to get my new PC here ASAP, so more writing, editing, promoting, and marketing can commence, the other part of me that is blogging from bed and binge watching Law and Order (it's a classic, come on) is like, the computer will get here when it gets here.
So if I'm MIA for a couple days I'm just refueling.
Happy Sunday Funday or of you're like me, Sunday Do-Nothing Day, for a change :)
Have a good week!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Just like before, my questions will appear in orange with Mrs. Campbell's responses appearing in white. Enjoy!