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Old 02-14-2011, 07:02 AM   #1
Tippecanoe1841
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My first book signing

I published my book, "Goodbye, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His One Month Presidency" using CreateSpace in December 2010. Not knowing exactly how to market a self-published book and having limited funds for doing so, I sent free copies of the book to historical societies, William Henry Harrison historical sites, and others that I thought would have an interest in the book.

I received an invitation to attend the William Henry Harrison annual birthday celebration in North Bend, Ohio on February 5. I was invited by the foundation that takes care of Harrison's Tomb there after I sent them a copy of my book. I attended the event and signed copies of my book afterward. I sold 29 copies of my book in an hour and a half, and met a lot of really nice people. The people there all had an interest in President Harrison, and I talked at length with many of them. A college professor was there with one of his graduate students, and the student was writing his master's thesis on the 1840 presidential election. He had a lot of questions for me and was deeply interested in what I had to say. A board member of a local historical society in a small town in Ohio asked me if I would speak at a future meeting of their historical society. I gladly accepted, and gave her my business card with the book I sold her. Best of all, I was introduced to the Executive Director of the Ohio Historical Society, who expressed an interest in selling my books in the gift shop at their museum in Columbus.

In conclusion, I now have a definite idea of how to sell my books. I know my books are not going to be in Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Book A Million. That is okay with me. I also know that I am not going to sell a lot of books online. I have only sold 7 so far through Amazon.com. I now believe that I can sell books through personal appearances. I have sent books to every historical site or historical society that I can think of that has some connection to president William Henry Harrison. I have located two author fairs sponsored by local historical societies in Kentucky that have table rental for authors for $15 at their book fairs. I am offering to speak to historical societies in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia, all states which have a connection to President Harrison.

I have no illusions of getting rich or quitting my day job, but I am optimistic that I can sell books to people I don't know who have an interest in US history or more specifically, President William Henry Harrison. Some of you may recall that in an epic manic meltdown, I burned my box of research materials in June 2009. In a more sane moment, I salvaged what research I could, and started anew. With a lot of late nights and long weekends, I persevered and finished my book. I am having a modest degree of success in selling it, and I am forever thankful to all of the people on AbsoluteWrite, none of whom I know personally, who encouraged me, kicked me in the butt when I needed it, or provided helpful advice.

I love all of you, and thanks for your help.

Keith W. Norris
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"Goodbye, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His One Month Presidency"
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:37 AM   #2
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Tippy...

When you have a niche market like yours, this is the perfect example of how to sell a self-published book. You might try college history clubs and such as well. Go to your local book store and see if they have a history club. These are all great ways to sell you work. Who knows, an scholastic editor might be in the crown and want to work with you...

Great work, hope you have many years of success...
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
Tippecanoe1841
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thothguard51 View Post
Tippy...

When you have a niche market like yours, this is the perfect example of how to sell a self-published book. You might try college history clubs and such as well. Go to your local book store and see if they have a history club. These are all great ways to sell you work. Who knows, an scholastic editor might be in the crown and want to work with you...

Great work, hope you have many years of success...
Thank you, Nick! Great ideas, and I appreciate the encouragement.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:43 AM   #4
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if you haven't already done so, you could contact universities that offer subjects relating to presidential campaigns/politics/history.

This is exactly the kind of book that students might find really helpful.

And of course - congratulations!
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:06 AM   #5
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Rock on, Keith! There's no shame in your game. I'm going to be doing the same thing as you on a fiction front. I know how hard it is to market yourself, and I am crazy lucky to have some people that I personally know helping me, including a PR firm owner. I'm no expert, but I can say this; if people like you, they will get your book, even if it isn't their chosen genre... even if it isn't something they would normally read... even if it wouldn't pass some of the strictest editors' reviews... they will buy it, and they will buy it as a way to say, "We like you, we like what you are/do/are interested in, and here's our way of saying 'thank you.'"

Go for it. Take no prisoners!
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:13 AM   #6
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This is wonderful news, Keith. I'm so happy for you. I remember the meltdown, and when you were encouraged to reconstruct your research.

Best of luck.

MM
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:23 PM   #7
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There are some good ideas in this thread!

Keith, do you know of any journals or historical publications that print articles similar to your topic? (Regional publications might also work.) You could select one topic from your book--the public's response to Harrison's death, say--and turn it into an article. This might stimulate interest in your book. If this worked out well, you could take another topic, and turn that into another article for a different journal.

Also, I just checked your Amazon page. I thought your Product Description was very good. For your About the Author section, though, I wouldn't mention your background in finance or claims adjustment, since (as you've noted here yourself) they aren't what people expect from an author writing about a president. Instead, why not put in a few lines about how you got interested in Harrison? There is no need to say that this is your first book, either. (The part about your location and family is fine.)

Last edited by JudyS; 02-21-2011 at 11:26 PM.
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