Tag Archives: Book marketing

Marketing a Book #9 – Learning About Social Media

 

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Learning About and Avoiding the Block Hole of Social Media

It has been a while since I posted on this blog. I could have written this post several weeks ago, but I wanted to collect my thoughts about my time working with a Social Media Consultant.

I bought twelve weeks of time and expertise in the area of social media sometime in late March. My goal was to learn what I could about using social media and how it might be useful to me. I was primarily interested in Social Media as a tool and secondarily in using it to market myself and my book Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment. Although I had Twitter and Facebook accounts, I did not grasp the utility of either. I needed some hand holding through these media avenues and an expanded awareness of what else was available to me in the way of social interconnections.

At the outset, let me say that the overall experience of working with my social media consultant was excellent and exceeded expectations. My “expertise” in using social media, if I can call it that, is now limited by experience and time.

I learned about Facebook and Fan Pages (www.facebook.com/lalanweiss). I learned to make better use of Twitter (@LarryWeiss3) and particularly http://www.hootsuite.com, which I love to use. Also, I attained another blog as part of my author site www.lalanweiss.com and have just repurposed my original website, www.lensofemptiness.com, to advertise my services as a public speaker and workshop provider.

I now have a more complete author platform to work from and have more to so. I had no allusion about the benefit my new and expanded understanding of social media might have on book sales. In fact,there is no way of predicting the effect of using social media to promote a book or a service on its own. The fee I paid for my consultation and support was an educational fee, and worth every dollar spent. Without that support, I would still be wondering in the wilderness that social media can be to the uninitiated.

Social media can also become a black hole, sucking up many hours each day until little is left for meaningful writing time. My hiatus in posting to this blog is a case in point. I had several strands running through this blog at the same time I acquired my second blog related to my author site. There is also my Twitter feed on topics of interest to me that are unrelated to my book, which I needed to maintain, and regular posts to my fan page. I have also joined a few interest groups through Facebook and needed to keep up with them. It was really hectic for a while until I remembered some same advice I received years ago; practice selective abandonment.

Selective abandonment does not mean abandoning things you want or need to do forever, only for the moment. An individual can only work efficiently on one thing at a time, particularly if the things to do relate to writing. Different blogs for different purposes and different audiences require different frames of mind for each. In addition, work on a new writing project at the same time adds insult to injury, so selective abandonment is the order of the day.

At the moment, I find social media more interesting than useful, and more time consuming than I would like. I’m looking for the middle way between the Yin and Yang of Entropy and Order and gradually finding it. As in all things, everyone needs to find their own way around the world, including the world of social media. I paid for a guide and he taught me the signposts and showed me the pathways. If any of my readers are wondering in the wilderness of social media, I highly recommend hiering a guide for a while to get you on your way.

Until the next post, your faithful blogger,

L. Alan Weiss (Larry)

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Marketing a Book #7 – A First Book Signing Experience

Marketing a Book #7 – A First Book Signing Experience

The long awaited first book signing event has come and gone. If life has its anti-climactic moments, this was one of them.

I contracted for the book signing event at the end of March (’15), about five weeks after the official release date of Through a Lens of Emptiness. 20150523_162505By then, the first available in-store event date was May 30th, not exactly prime book shopping time, but not the worst. At least it wasn’t a date in mid-July when most families are on vacation and the store will be essentially empty. As I was soon to learn, along with the time of year, the weather is another important factor in modulating the number of people frequenting bookstores on a given day.

The weather forecast for the day of the event predicted an advancing cold front with the possibility of heavy rain and thundershowers. The only question was timing. By noon on Saturday, May 30th the cold front had not yet arrived. It was generally a warm sunny Saturday on the last weekend in May and the traffic in the bookstore would likely be sparse. Unseasonably cold with drizzle would have been better. However, hope springs eternal and a positive frame of mind was the order of the day.

The signing was scheduled to begin at noon and last until five. My table was set up near the store entrance and ready for visitors by 11:45. 2015-05-30 13.20.48Over the span of the event, I spoke to three people, one of whom bought a copy of my book. I’ll discuss those contacts later in this post, but first here are some observations about book signings that may be useful to the reader

1. When traffic in the store is low few people will come over to your book signing table.

2. When you are an unknown author, don’t expect too many visitors.

3. If your book is a non-fiction niche item, it might not draw much attention without a clever attractor.

4. Most people who come into a bookstore have a specific target book or genre in mind and will search for that target rather than investigate your offering.

5. Those who come over to talk to you usually have a leaning toward the content of your book already.

6. There are many books for the bookstore visitor to consider and distract him or her from your book. The only difference is that you happen to be standing near your book, but it is no different from the bookstore browser’s point of view.

7. Another negative for signing event relates to what else is available for purchase in the store. If it has many gift items available for purchase as well, they will be a distraction for sure.IMG_20150530_203025

There were three interesting visitors to my table that afternoon. One visitor was a regular follower of Buddhist teachings and was attracted to the word Emptiness on the book’s cover. She actually bought a copy and took a business card with her. Before leaving my table, she spent some time talking to me about the importance of mindfulness in everyday pursuits. The second visitor talked a bit about the book and took a business card and exited the store. She was observed contemplating my business card and returned for further discussion, but did not purchase a copy at that time. The final visitor talked with me a bit and was also interested in the fact that we lived in the same rural neighborhood.20150530_203854

It doesn’t sound like a very productive book signing, but I got more out the afternoon than the sale of one book. The person who bought a copy of the book suggested another well-established independent bookstore where a signing event was a possibility. It might also be possible to couple the signing event with an author talk. The individual who gave my card and book such careful consideration suggested that a nearby regional library system might accept the donation of a copy of my book and give me the opportunity to speak about it too.

I also appreciated the chance to face the public and field some simple questions about my book and refine my answers. The traffic was light so there was ample time to review each interaction, the sense of the question and the strength and clarity of the answer. By the end of the session, I had a clear vision of the best phrases to describe Through a Lens of Emptiness.

· Through a Lens of Emptiness is about a journey of self-discovery in search of contentment.

· Through a Lens of Emptiness is about building a legacy of experience, wisdom, and insight to share with others.

· Through a Lens of Emptiness looks back at the meaningfulness of a lifetime.

When one is engaged in the process of writing, being able to step back and view your work dispassionately and critically is essential. The same is true for understanding the dynamics of interacting with the public and presenting key points related to your book as simply and succinctly as possible. As the marketing process progresses, there will be more, and hopefully better opportunities to present in public. I intend to seek those opportunities as much as possible. As I write this post about my first book signing, I am already seeking to book a second in the fall. I hope to schedule one in late November or early December when books are on the gift lists of many, the weather is not so nice, and the bookstores are full of people.

I have been fortunate to receive an invitation to speak to a group of retired professionals about my book. They are interested in the legacy aspect of my writing. I will blog about that experience too.

Until the next time,

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author – Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Please visit my author website and my Facebook fanh page too.

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