Tag Archives: target audience

Marketing a Book #10 – Promoting Your Book and Yourself

20150523_162505 (2)Book Facts and Fantasy

I haven’t posted to this blog for a while. Since my last post there have been a few experiences related to book marketing worth writing about. The first relates to book signing opportunities and the second to direct to the public marketing at a market type event.

An author signing sounds like a terrific opportunity at first for the novice writer with his first book in print. In my case, the book is a creative non-fiction work. The opportunity was provided by Indigo/Chapters in Canada. I won’t name the bookstore branch since it is irrelevant to what I have to say. The store and the manager were most accommodating and welcoming, so that is not an issue. The issue is the reality of the bookstore as a venue.

I believe I stated in a long ago post that the idea of writing a book was daunting for two reasons; the enormity of the task, and the massive number of books available for the buying public to choose from. It was clear from the beginning that I would be fighting for oxygen the whole way. Not only are there vast numbers of books in print but there is an even larger ocean of eBooks in this world. All of those books are competing for the reader’s dollars before you put pen to paper.

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Book signing display

When you have a book signing scheduled many factors influence the possibility of making a sale, particularly when you are essentially an unknown quantity. So the first reality is no name, no fame, and no line up of people wanting to talk to you or look at your book. I did sell one copy to an interested reader, and had a few good conversations with a few individuals, but that was the sum total of the action during two four-hour intervals on different days. Perhaps the writer of a niche non-fiction work should be pleased with that outcome, but I’m a novice at this, so that’s just a guess.

The people who visit a bookstore usually have a book, or specific author in mind. This chain of bookstores is big on quality, unique, non-literature gift items as well, which is a big draw. The gift buyers are not there for books at all. There is also a Starbucks on site, so there are some people who pop in for a copy of a magazine or a newspaper and a coffee. Even on a great store traffic day, the probability of having people come over to your table is very small. You might as well be “the Invisible Man.” In fact, if I were an invisible man who had written a book, it probably would attract some attention. I was just INVISIBLE.

The other thing to consider is the “Consignment split”, which can be as little as 30% to the store. Stores in this chain take 45% of a sale. That’s not a problem, it’s just the cost of having space made available for your event. I suggest taking advantage of an opportunity to have an in-store event. You might get some leads and make some contacts with the public.

Direct sales are the best way to earn some money from your book. Copies can be ordered from the publisher at a significant discount. The Canada/US Dollar exchange rate was much better when I bought my copies. With the current exchange rates, the cost to the author increases. If I sell a book for the $CDN equivalent, the cost would be close to $30 a copy. I have been selling my books as if the $CDN is on par with the $US. Since my copies were purchased at about $13.22 CDN a copy, my profit is $8.78 a copy, so 10 copies net me $87.80. At the current exchange rate, my net gain would be about $1.00 less per copy or $77.80 net.

I decided to try direct sales to the public at a Christmas Market held at a popular location during the last weekend of November. The cost of a 2.5 x 4 sq ft display space on a covered table top was $220.00 + Taxes, $245.00 total. I needed gross sales from 11 books to break even. I sold only 8. That’s the downside of my experience. The upside was the number of public interactions I had over those two days. Not only did I make some important contacts through those interactions, but I was also able to affirm the validity of my plan to offer guided autobiography/memoir writing workshops at different venues in the coming year.

Book display for November show.

Book display for November show.

The number of books one might sell at a venue is limited by two factors; the audience for the sale and the cost of admission to the venue. This Christmas Market was held at a Botanical Garden and the emphasis was on Christmas displays, a model train display, and a ride on a miniature railway through a lighted garden. Most of the people attending were families with small children who had already paid an admission fee to enter the gardens. Definitely not my target audience.

There were some older individuals that were members of the gardens and entered the site free of charge. They were few in number, but accounted for almost all my sales and for most of the interactions providing good leads. I was also able to get my business cards distributed to a wider audience. I have already booked sales tables at two additional shows for 2016, but this time my target audience is assured. The shows are for seniors titled Forever Young. In addition to the sales space, I was able to pay a small fee to guarantee a corner table spot and reserve a 20-minute slot to make a presentation. There will be between 1400 and 1600 senior citizens in attendance at each show, which are 100% within my target group.

Just one more thing… You are going to have to spend a bit of money to reserve these sales locations so choose the event wisely.

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author

www.lalanweiss.com and www.lensofemptiness.com , and perhaps like my fan page at www.facebook.com/lalanweiss

publishing, signkng,

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Filed under Marketing a book, Self Publishing

Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

Marketing Your BookBuying Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

The publisher, iUniverse, has published my book. They provided all the editorial and production service covered by my publishing agreement with them and they have been most satisfactory. I have blogged regularly, posting progress reports and reflections on the processes involved as they unfolded. Now books need to be sold in a highly competitive market. An audience for Through a Lens of Emptiness is out there for sure, but the target audience for a book is both ephemeral and elusive unless an author can reach out to it. This is a daunting task for a début author, so all the support he can get in this endeavour is welcome. Unless he is particularly well connected with individuals that know the ropes, purchasing useful services are essential.

I’ve tried to build a bit of a following on my own over the last two years through blogging and the twitter-sphere. I’ll discuss that experience in the next blog post. I provide the following reflections with an understanding that which supports an author purchases are determined by $$$ available and not the desire to purchase quality services. Please note, I never name the support services purchased nor the prices paid in that everyone’s choice in services and service level will vary. The only service I will name is Google Ads, since everyone who uses the Internet knows what they are and who supplies them already.

I was informed about marketing services available to me through a marketing representative from iUniverse. These services were carefully explained to me, all my questions were answered in full, and there was no pressure or push to purchase any of them. I had time to think over the possible offerings and made my choices in my own time. The information available on the publisher’s web site provides some information about what is on offer, but direct contact with a knowledgeable individual was essential.

Google Ads looked like the best bang for the buck. This service allows me to define my target audience by age, interest, la gauge, and geographic region. The initial agreement for these ads covers the first three months of marketing. This means that for three months, informing my target audience that Through a Lens of Emptiness is available for purchase will be assured because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The second service selected purchases the services of an professional author publicity services to help me create a social media presence. This service is the more expensive of the two, but it is a pragmatic way of filling a big gap in my knowledge and experience. I have been finding my way through the nuance of using blogging and twitter to build an audience and establish a profile, but I still am wondering in the wilderness. Using Facebook to create an author well developed author page remains obscure. I look forward to the support I will receive and the knowledge to be gained from the experience.

The marketing ball is rolling and should gain momentum after I submit the extensive questionnaires that provide the necessary information for these service to move my marketing process along to the next stage.

In my next post I’ll reflect on my experiences with twitter and blogging.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness , now available through Google Books, Amazon.com, and the iUniverse Book Store.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are professional marketing services actually necessary? Do you use an Twitter based Marketing services? Please comment……..

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Writing From My Comfort Zone

Non-fiction, that’s my ticket to writing a first work. My initial reasoning was that a long, academically oriented career should be an asset in a non-fiction project. All writing requires research skills to a greater or lesser degree. A fiction writer uses research to give the story an authentic ring. The non-fiction writer uses research to support ideas and arguments with corroborating evidence whenever possible. I was quite used to using information gathered from my research and observations to do just that.

I also chose to attempt a non-fiction project for another practical reason. When trying something new, it is important to keep the number of new things to think about to an absolute minimum. The greatest challenge I faced was writing grammatically correct non-fiction prose that is interesting and accessible to my future readers. Everything I had written to date was relatively short and consisted of report type documents and records of research written for a very specific audience, with a specific knowledge base. Now I wanted my writing to reach out to a broad range of individuals with varied backgrounds,  a challenge indeed.

All writers need to establish an idea of the general audience for whom to write, be they engaged in the creation of works of fiction or non-fiction. Since I am on the cusp of the baby boom wave, my fellow boomers would be a likely audience, and so I decided to focus on them. To some, this may appear opportunistic, but remember, my goal is to minimize the unfamiliar so I can concentrate on writing clear prose. By writing for my peer group, I eliminate some of additional variables facing the newby writer (me).

Now I needed a subject for my project that had a sense of immediacy for my target audience. Topics that came to mind most readily related to health, sex life, memory, and relationships. I was drawn to topics related to memory and aging since memory loss is a concern to adults as they age. Indeed, there is a certain element of fear associated with the idea of memory loss, since it portends the loss of independence; a scary thought for anyone, the aging population in particular. I also had some background in memory and cognition gained in the course of my career as a special education specialist. Once again, I am sticking with the theme of familiarity so I can concentrate on the skill of writing clearly for a general audience. You might have noticed that I tend to write longish sentences, and that might be a tendency I need to address. I am concerned that my readers might forget the ideas at the beginning of a sentence, by the time they get to the end.

Memory is not exactly a unique subject for a book. Just do a simple search on the online book stores of Amazon or Indigo/Chapters, and you will see what I mean. My next task was to think of memory in a less common way. More on that to come…..

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