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kimmer
01-10-2008, 08:05 AM
I just had a wonderful experience about book promotion that I wanted to share.

When I was doing a second round of research for my book proposal and trying to provide evidence for a courting publisher, I hit the streets and talked with bookstore managers, info desk staff, and librarians. I didn't make appointments or ask permission since these are all public venues, I pretty much just showed up with two or three burning questions about the market and where they saw my book fitting in. I even showed them some possible titles and asked them to rank their favorites. Granted, this was all anecdotal evidence but it helped personalize the statistics I provided in my proposal. I went at about 2:00p.m. on a weekday (not many customers/patrons) and EVERY person that I spoke with was helpful, gracious and very insightful. It wasn't direct book promotion, but it helped me with the marketing plan for my book.

Now, for the best news, this week I actually had a dinner meeting with the City Librarian (I knew her long before I wrote my manuscript and long before she became City Librarian). She provided critical information about how library promotions work, what has changed over the last few years, the logistics, library acquisitions, how to sell the book at an event, etc. You may not have access to the top librarian but why not start chatting it up with other librarians?

If you haven't already done something similar, I encourage you to do so. The results of the "field research" I conducted were priceless.

Some tips:

Not once did I beg someone to promote my book. I never asked that.
Ask questions like, "What do you think about ....?" "Where would a book like mine be categorized?" "What makes your job easier?" "What makes it more difficult?" "Have you noticed any trends in this genre, location, store, community, etc." "What kind of book in this field is missing, over-saturated, under-appreciated, etc.?" "Describe what kinds of people come looking for this type of book (age, gender, race and more)?"

We spend a lot of time as writers trying to get an agent or publisher to bite that we sometimes forget to query our audience or the folks who directly deal with our audience.

I had such a positive experience that I wanted to share this (as opposed to begging for help, which I usually do in the forums).

flashgordon
01-11-2008, 12:20 AM
Yes, asking questions is often the best place to start.

I've known many authors who got book signings or a store to carry their book by simply going in and asking the right person. Same goes for getting non-bookstores to carry your book (i.e., museum shops, gift shops, specialty shops, etc.).

ResearchGuy
01-11-2008, 08:01 AM
That is an admirable post, kimmer. May I suggest that you consider developing an article on that theme? It sounds like a natural for Writer's Digest or The Writer.

--Ken

kimmer
01-19-2008, 10:42 PM
That is an admirable post, kimmer. May I suggest that you consider developing an article on that theme? It sounds like a natural for Writer's Digest or The Writer.

--Ken


Geez. Thanks. I never thought of that because I'm always trying to pitch my expertise, not my life as a writer and consultant.

Kimmer