Friday, January 28, 2011

Promotion in likely and unlikely places . . .

I work full time and have yet another job on some weekends so I have to make every moment count when I am promoting my books. First, I add to my website blog at just about every day on my lunch "hour" (usually just a few minutes these days - we work all the way through without breaks or lunches because so many have retired and are not being replaced). The problem with the blog is wading through thousands of spam posts to respond to the two or three "real person" posts to the blog.

I posted a free story on my blog to give readers a sense of whether they might like my writers voice and check out my books. I'm hoping it results in some sales.

Book events like panels and book signings at stores are great places to schmooze with readers and to get your name out there. Borders is a sweet place to sign! I was on two panels (and have one coming up in February in Milpitas) at Borders and one "meet and greet" local author book signing event at that store. Not only did they help us by announcing our event a few times and setting us up, they gave us a plate of "treats" from their cafe that we could offer to readers. Of course, my Wild Rose title, Sacred Guardian, was there - thank you, Wild Rose, for making it easy for a brick-and-mortar store to obtain our titles! They had an end-cap filled with our titles and had us sign books that had not sold by the end of our panel event.

An "unusual but lucrative" place to get your books out there is to arrange to give a talk and sign/sell books at local service clubs like the Kiwanis or Elks clubs. They are hungry for presenters and being a romance writer is a plus because the men like the "hot" scenes and the women generally read romances. I fit a lunch hour promotion in by attending my local Kiwanis club meeting to give a talk on becoming a romance writer. I did this twice and sold several books while I was there.

A really unexpected place to promote my books happened when I had the opportunity to attend a literacy event to the San Mateo County Fair. I was invited to serve on a panel about "genre fiction" and a book signing event at the Fair on another day. I did not sell many books but hundreds of people attend the fair and at least a hundred or so tromped through the hall where our genre panel was speaking.

Every year I promote my books while I read tarot cards at the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley during the month of May. I have read tarot cards for 40 years and am part of a tarot booth that reads at the Fair. I always bring a stack of books and offer a discount on a reading if the person wants to buy one of my books. Since we write paranormal romance here at Black Rose, it is a good place to sell a few books. Though a lot of my tarot clients are men (go figure!) people who want tarot readings usually are fans of paranormal books and I've sold a few of my romances to men at the Fair.

I am not sure that libraries are a good place to be on a panel or do a book signing. I've done this several times at different libraries but I found they are often poorly attended (maybe five people) and I only sold one book at a library event (among the ten or so library events in which I have participated), though I always donate my books to the library after the event. It is hard to gauge the success of a library event, though it is good karma.

I am certain that there are other "on a shoestring and with scant time" ways to promote our books. Please let us know what you do and how that has helped you promote your books!

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