Thursday, April 17, 2008

Marketing 101:)

Currently Reading: Finished Satisfaction Guaranteed (yes, I finally learned to spell it...sorry, Isabelle:) I enjoyed it; however, as Barb can attest, two characters who refuse to TALK to each other and withhold secrets drive me crazy! I want to crawl into the pages and shake both of them until they TELL each other what the hell is going on!

Am on page 22?? of The Perfect Cover. Ryan's just confessed he needs a cover, and Sean has offered to provide it. Can hardly wait to see how this one turns out!

Print book: Am on Ch 6 of Surrender the Pink. So far, my eyebrows raised when the main character revealed her mother bought her a vibrator for her 16th birthday! Ha...when I was 16, I got flowers and my own rollar skates! What's wrong with this mother? (hers, not mine!) Probably why the daughter's screwed up, hmmmm....

Okay...need to get crackin' on the laundry!

I've been asked by several people in the last week about my signings; how did I go about setting them up; what do I say; the easy part; the hardest part, etc.

Step One
I selected the cities I wanted to visit and went online to look for Book Stores or specifically, Barnes and Noble or Borders. I then called the store and asked to speak to the Community Relations Manager.

"Hi, my name is Molly Daniels, and I wanted to let you know my 2nd book was just released last November. Would you be interested in hosting a signing for me?"

Usually the next question they ask is the name of the book; what genre; who the publisher is. And then the manager pulls it up on their computer. After that, their calendar is consulted, and I either get a date thrown out at me, or an inquiry to see if I'm willing to bring my own books. Sometimes I've been asked for my phone number, so they can look more thoroughly through their calendar and will call me back by the end of the day or week.

I usually call a couple of days in advance to make sure everything is still in order, and if there is anything I need to bring. Usually everything is all set, and I just need to show up.

Step Two
When I arrive, I try to be slightly early. There will be people who mistake you for a worker, and will ask where the bathroom, magazine section, sports section, etc. At Folletts last weekend, I had people asking me for directions to apartment complexes; if the store had shot glasses; and where the 'cheap' T-shirts were located! So it's a good idea to 'scope' out the store first!

I carry a small plastic tote which contains my extra books, my business cards, bookmarks, and newsletter sign-up sheet. I also pack a small container of M&Ms to entice the kids over, and maybe their mom's will follow! (Although, I have had kids ask, "Are they real?" "Nah...they're fake..." SNORT! Like I would hand out fake candy!)

Some authors sit behind their table and wait for the customers. I prefer to stand, bookmark in hand, and approach people when they reach me, or come in the door.

"Hi, I'm author Molly Daniels, and I'm signing copies of my latest release, if you like to read romance novels." (Arm extended, smile in place)

Sometimes I get, "No thank you; I don't read romance"; sometimes it's a simple "No thanks". But occassionally, their eyes light up and they want to know more!

Standing Solo
Sometimes, the hardest part is the standing around, waiting for the customers to walk through the door. Sometimes your tongue gets wrapped around and the words get all jumbled up! For instance, when BB Walters and I did the co-signing, I kept forgetting hers was fantasy and kept introducing her as a 'Sci-fi' author. And a couple of times, she'd say she was signing copies of her new romance novel, and catch herself. Then I'd jump in and say my book was the fantasy genre! Everyone got a laugh out of when we'd mix up like that!

It's easy to tag-team customers; it gives you confidence, and sometimes it's easier to pitch someone else's book instead of your own. Last June, another author was upstairs in the Children's section. He was also a local weatherman, and people were coming in specifically to see him. I directed his traffic, and some of them stopped by my table on the way out.

I encouraged another friend of mine to publish 2 years ago, and when she had her first signing, I actually sold 2 of hers before I sold any of my own. Barbara Kacer was wandering around, and she came back to the table as I was talking to a customer.

"I'll be right back, Molly. I'm going over to buy some popcorn."

"No, Barb; I need you over here." (Big grin on my face)

(Puzzled look) "Why?"

"Because this gentlman would like your autograph! You just sold your first copy!)

"OMG!" She hustled over and was thrilled someone was interested in her book, "Back Then".

"Can I have your autograph?"
The easiest part is signing your name. Unless, of course, you forget your pen name! Or, like last time, my pen stopped working in the middle of it! I don't like to sign with handwriting is barely legible with a pen, let alone a marker! If I've been chatting with them, I'll personalize the message. Usually, I simply put "To__ Enjoy!" Or even, "Welcome to Arbor U! Enjoy the series!" Just depends which muse is with me when I open the book to sign it.

"Molly Daniels...Who the hell is that?"
I had to laugh. When I stopped at my BFF's house and found her gone, I left a note for her on her door. I used one of my brand new sticky notes, and signed it, "Love, M". Her hubby wondered who the hell was leaving notes on their door, and when E said it was me, he asked, "Well what's wrong with using her real last name?"

"It's too long!"

Wait until he sees the other pen name, ha ha!

Hope this helps:)
I hope this helps anyone who's interested in setting up a signing for themselves, or at least wondered what to say. When my 1st book came out, I was terrified and ready to crawl into a hole! But a few people read it and wanted more, and that built up my confidence level. Tomorrow, I'll post some of the reactions I've gotten.


barbara huffert said...

There's a Barnes & Nobles and a Borders here. When are you coming?

Carol Preflatish said...

Great information, Molly. I'm going to remember this if I ever get to have a book signing.


Unknown said...

Book signings scare me. I used to do them but I was lucky if I sold a couple books after I sat around for several hours. A couple times the bookstores never paid me for my books they had, so I stopped doing them.