How a book is born: Sales at special events

March 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My first idea for getting attention for our newly published book, The Trunk in the Attic, was to encourage local parenting publications to write reviews. But it offered a poor yield. If you have read my past blog, you know my motto:  Be ready to make mistakes and move on with confidence.

The Trunk in the Attic, our first Undercover Kids adventure takes our characters to Holland. The celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s sailing from the Netherlands to New York was celebrated in 2009. That is what inspired me to commission the writing of the first Undercover Kids adventure.

I was told that New York was investing millions of dollars to promote events up and down the Hudson River. And each event would attract 1,000s of people. Great! My next great marketing idea was to attend these events. After all, this would attract families and everyone would be interested in Henry Hudson. We developed a wonderful booth and were ready to roll out our book.

Along came the crashed financial market and the slashed housing market. New York was broke. And with the crashing and slashing the quadricentenial money disappeared.

We attended five events. Our booth worked well. Our staff was well-trained. And our author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, was well-received.

We sold up to 40 books per event. Although others in the industry say that is a good number, as far as I was concerned it was a bust. Too much time invested. Too much staffing required. Too little return.

Back to the drawing board.

A note about events: There is an annual children’s book fair held in our region, which I was hoping to attend. Our application was rejected because space is limited and they don’t invite first-time authors. I will try again next year.

How a book is born: Author signings

March 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Posted in about life, Mystery books, Publishing your story, Writing | Leave a comment
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Authors always wonder if they should participate in book signings as a route to increased sales. I am not sold on the idea.

The other night my husband and I were in Barnes & Noble. A good cup of coffee and a good book for an hour of relaxation. (If a B & N manager is reading this blog, I do buy books…my credit card will attest to that.) At their entrance was a local author displaying her works and ready to sign her book. She is not a new author, by any means, but no one entering the store stopped at her table. It is true that the traffic was light that night, but that was an expensive night out for this author.

Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Trunk in the Attic, loves meeting kids. But I feel that a book signing event for an author who is not well-known just doesn’t work.

Who would you wait in line for…Jeff Kenny, the author of the Whimpy Kids series or Gloria Smith Zawaski, the author of The Undercover Kids book series? Kenny wins hands down!

Last night I met the manager of our local B & N bookstore at a PTA event. She heard of our book through one of her employees. And she knew that we were not on the B & N online book site. But she said they do author signings for local authors, even if the store does not carry the book. My first questions was, ‘who would show up?’ Her response, “People show up for children’s author signings.” “I figure young children but the eight to eleven year old crowd?” I asked. We are going to meet next week to discuss the process, and then I’ll decide how best to proceed.

I will say that when Gloria participated in events, the kids who bought her books really enjoyed meeting her.  But in general, I don’t think book signings for unknown authors are the way to go.

In my opinion, you have to really work at promoting the author and promoting the book before you begin the book signing route.

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