Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting the Book(s) out Part 2

A while back I wrote part 1 on this subject:
Part 1

Long story short I wrote a bunch of short stories and I've partnered with a friend who is a talented artist to illustrate my books. In August/September 2009 we released the first book: Hal the Unwashed Dragon.  We have just released a second book: Teevert the Little Green Leaf.

So far we've sold a little over 50 copies of Hal through direct sales to people we know, or know our parents etc.  This has given us a good base to start with.  Some of the sales were to libraries in the town where I live now and the libraries in the area I grew up.  The libraries were easy sales and have the added advantage of being perpetual free advertising.
I contacted a number of local bookstores.  Most didn't bother to return my emails - I'm not sure if they got caught in junk mail filters or what.  One responded more than a month after I sent the email.  I've so far managed to get Hal carried by Black Bear Books here in Creston, Mik-L-Maxx Books, Teas and more in my home-town of Dauphin, Manitoba, and soon the Lotus Books store in Cranbrook which is a small city close to the town where I live now.  But the biggest coup is getting the book carried by the local Overwaitea. Overwaitea is a large chain supermarket in this province (British Columbia).  I contacted their corporate offices and hey got me set up in their computer system as a supplier, then I hooked up with the local manager.  The book will only be in the local branch, but even so, there is a huge amount of traffic there every day and the manager is happy to help promote the book by having some copies near the registers and allowing me to a book signing.  They will also distribute bag-stuffer flyers to promote the signing for the week ahead of the event.  That will be our first book signing.
After that we have a table at the local Christmas craft fair later this month.  I am hoping to have copies of the second book as well by then.
Then we have a reading and signing at Black Bear Books the same evening as the Santa Claus parade.

We have also started up a Facebook Fan page (see ink in side-bar) and started promoting through there.
For media exposure I first got myself into monthly employee newsletter for the company I work for.  It has a circulation of about 3000 employees or so.  I thought it would be great, but while I liked the article, I have only had one email inquiry out of it. However, after I posted a screencapture of that article on Facebook I was offered an interview on 730 CKDM radio which is in my hometown of Dauphin Manitoba.  The interview ran about 7 minutes and was a lot of fun.  Plus we got the MP3 and were able to match to a slide show of artwork and put it up on Facebook.

Once I had all these dates lined up and the book available at a few retailers it was time for the press release.  I sent it out just last week and so far a local magazine and the local paper have both indicated they'll be writing articles for their publications.  In fact, I'd better get to bed because I have an interview with the newspaper in about 9 hours.

That's about it so far.  Learning lots and having fun.  When you have a product with broad appeal you have a large potential audience compared to marketing to a niche.  That can be difficult sometimes.  But when you start out selling a book you've written there is one niche every author has: local.  Promote your book locally and the fact that someone in their own town has a book i print is enough of a motivator for many people to buy the book.  This the market in which we learn how to promote a book, how to work with retailers, do book signings, etc.  And who knows where it will lead! 

Both books can be previewed and purchased on Lulu: Marc Archambault's Lulu store or you can purchase directly from me.

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