I know my publisher will want me to get out in public once THE STORY CATCHER comes out so I have put together a list of ten things I need to keep in mind as I get closer to my book's release date. Hopefully some of these ideas might help someone else as well...
1. If you have ready-made Event Flyers for the personnel at your event to hand two weeks in advance, it will help build momentum prior to your arrival. Include things like the title of your book, how they can purchase it, book cover with blurb, date & time of the event, and who to contact for more information.
2. Add a Bookmark to those event flyers and your audience will have information regarding pre-orders or even directing them to your website.
3. Plan a Talk instead of just a book signing. Interact with your audience to help them feel connected to what you have to offer.
4. What about holding your event somewhere other than a bookstore? Maybe at a local youth group community center? Or out in the open? The library closest to my house sits on the corner of a small park and there is a pavilion large enough to have a table, chairs and even displays with grassy areas for the audience to lounge on the ground picnic style.
5. Pair up the purchase of your book with something else...i.e. two for one sale. You might want to bundle your current book with an older one as a package deal. Or maybe if they purchase your picture book, you can include some illustrator coloring pages as well for free. I have an idea I'm going to shoot past my editor and publicist I came up with to help promote pre-orders or just orders in general. I've NEVER seen what I'm wanting to do and I hope I get the green light to go ahead before I can share my idea.
6. Make sure you have a way to contact the people attending your event. Have a sign up sheet for email addresses and offer some type of incentive for providing that information. Maybe you already have a newsletter you send out just to your email subscribers. Maybe you have worked out a deal with your publisher to offer 10% off their purchase if they sign up to receive occasional emails from you.
7. Arrive an hour before your event and greet the store personnel. Thank them for their assistance in helping to create a successful event. If at a bookstore or other retail space, mill around and hand out copies of your event flyer. Encourage people to come by and visit with you later.
8. Make sure your local newspaper, radio, and TV stations know about your event. If your publisher doesn't send press releases, make sure YOU do. A lot of media outlets have community boards or ways of getting the word out about local talent. Announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any other social sites you regularly participate in. Ask your friends to help get the word out about your event.
9. After the event send a thank you note to the person in charge of opening the doors to you in the first place. If your event was at a bookstore offer to come back at another time to autograph any pre-orders once they are delivered. It's going the extra mile to impress them so you will get a return invitation for your next book!
10. Take a moment to make notes about your impressions of how things went. Even if you just sit in your car after loading things up, write down estimates of how many attended, if you know how many books were purchased or ordered, what kind of questions were asked, if the audience seemed engaged as well as things you might need to work on before your next event. If you wait until you are back home, you might forget something you really wanted to remember during the excitement of the day.
I will share other ways to market your books in the weeks leading up to release day of my book so stay tuned. If you know of anything I've left off my list that would help, please add it in the comments below...