Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Promoting Book Signings by Davalynn Spencer


As we prepare to slip into 2015, I'm rerunning one of most popular Wednesday posts for the current year. In February, Davalynn Spencer provided much needed information for marketing our books. -- Sandy

Davalynn: When I worked as a reporter and religion page editor for a small daily newspaper, I saw press releases every day. I received a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul before it went on sale, and I knew about JK Rowling before most people heard of Harry Potter—all because someone wrote a press release and sent one to the newspaper where I worked.

I’ve stayed in touch with my reporter friends, and when I have a new book coming out, I shoot them an email to see if they’re interested in an interview. But I never assume anything and always phrase the request in a way that offers an easy out for them to say no.

Whether I’m promoting online or in print, I always write a press release for my books, tailoring it to the specific area if possible, especially if I’m sending “blind” without knowing the editor.

For example, last year’s book, The Rancher’s Second Chance, was set in the California foothills where I once lived. The release I sent to newspapers in the area focused on the locale and my former residency there. Releases I sent to papers in my current location mentioned “local author.”

Here are a few pointers for the news media:
  • Never assume anything – especially with friends. You can be more casual in your approach with friends, but show them the usual courtesy and give them a way out to graciously say no.
  • ALWAYS address the editor/reporter by name. If you don’t know them, find out.
  • Include “hooks” that will make an editor/reporter want to interview you either over the phone, in person, or via email.
  • If you are having a book signing nearby, include accurate information about when and where, and any giveaways or drawings you plan to conduct.

Book signings can be intimidating, but they are a great way to meet readers. Set one up at your local library, book store, or gift shop.

I am always more comfortable if I don’t sit down (unless I’m actually signing a book). I enjoy browsing during the in-between moments. This also gives me an opportunity to interact with people who may not be there to buy my book, though I keep a watchful eye on my book table.

While browsing, I pass out bookmarks—an incredibly inexpensive way to advertise. I get 250 for about $50 from Uprinting.com and I often use them like business cards. My website is printed on the bottom so readers have access to a buy link for the ebook or online suppliers. That way, bookstore owners are not offended by me pushing the book from an online dealer. After all, we need book stores.

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Stay on your feet unless actually signing your name. Keep an eye on your table when you’re away from it, but move around.
  • Offer bookmarks to people not at your table, with a casual remark like, “May I give you a bookmark?”
  • Place a bookmark inside the books you sign.
  • If you have more than one book, display copies/bookmarks of previous titles at the corner of your table.
  • Send the person who allowed your book signing a hand-written thank-you note. These little gems are becoming quite rare and the effort will make that person feel appreciated.

Do you have anything to add that will be of help to others? Have you sent press releases to newspapers and received interviews from them? Tell us your experience with press releases and/or book signings.

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Martha Stanton isn’t looking for love. The light went out of her soul when her husband fell to a bullet in St. Louis. Now, back in her hometown of CaƱon City, she's convinced she'll never know happiness again. Until she crosses paths with a darkly mysterious Colorado Ranger.

Haskell Jacobs has a mission. And the beautiful, flame-haired widow sure isn't it. But Martha is somehow mixed up in the crime that brought Haskell to the rough-and-tumble town…and soon, she's entangled in the lawman's heart. But the danger that lurks around them is all too real. Can they find strength and love in each other before it's too late?

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Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, Davalynn Spencer began her writing journey in the national rodeo market and as a newspaper journalist, winning awards in both arenas. Today she continues to win acclaim with her inspirational western romance placing second in the 2014 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and finaling for the Selah Award and the Holt Medallion. Davalynn teaches writing at Pueblo Community College, and with her handsome cowboy, has three children and four grandchildren. They make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with Davalynn online at www.davalynnspencer.com, www.Facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer.com and on Twitter @davalynnspencer.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info Davalynn. Your expertise has been very helpful to me in my own book signings.

    ReplyDelete

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