Acme Authors Link Again Welcomes Austin Camacho, the author of four detective novels in the Hannibal Jones series plus a great marketing book, Successfully Marketing Your Novel in the 21st Century
Signings, conferences and good word-of-mouth.
First, thanks to everyone for their questions and comments. You’ve really made me feel welcome here!
Morgan asked what single marketing action has sold the most books for me and I admitted it had to be book signings. I’m pretty extroverted and do best face to face, but I hope that doesn’t discourage the wallflowers among you. My book, “Successfully Marketing your Novel in the 21st Century” divides tactics into “active” and “passive” marketing. I’m more an active guy, but both are important.
However, you can’t just show up at a bookstore and expect to sell books. You need to make sure the manager knows you’re there to help him or her, not just yourself. Send bookmarks and posters in advance. Posters announce that something special is coming. Bookmarks dropped in every bag are good reminders. When you arrive have a table sign or wear a button that says, “Author” so people don’t think you’re just the Wal-Mart greeter. And speak to every person who comes thru the door. I like to link myself to the store name, since they already know the store. Something like,
“Hi, Borders is featuring my mystery novels today. Are you a mystery reader?”
Newt asked about a different face-to-face interaction: conferences. I love them, and I go with an agenda, and it’s NOT selling books. On the one hand, I want readers to remember me and my books, so I get on panels if I can and between panels I walk around, making myself available for people to talk to.
The other side of conferences is networking. You want other writers to remember you too. At Bouchercon I got commitments for blurbs for my next book from 2 guys who said nobody ever asks them for blurbs. Bob Randisi founded the Private Eye Writers of America. Jon Jordan publishes Crimespree Magazine. You might not know the names but their titles sure will look good on my book. And I didn’t meet either of them at Bouchercon. We had met at previous events. They know me as part of the community.
New writers should be networking too… with editors and agents who also hang out at cons. At writer events they’re like scouts at spring training. I’m not sure buying a 10-minute chat helps, but sharing a coffee with an agent between panels can separate you from everyone else. When your manuscript lands on their desk it helps if they recognize your name.
Newt also asked about making the writer’s name stick in people’s mind. I think repetition is the key here. (Remember the Saturday Night Live skits written by “Me… Al Franken.”) So blog. Do guest blogs. Send a newsletter. Sit on panels at cons. Review other peoples’ books. Just toss your name around like confetti and it will stick.
And if you want word-of-mouth for your books, ask people to do you the favor of mentioning your books to others. And consider giving something in return. The official members of “Austin’s Army” might get a Hannibal Jones T-shirt or mug. How about a contest? Maybe free books for the winner, but to enter people have to send in two links to social media web sites where they mentioned your book. I plan to try that with the next book.
Be creative, and don’t be shy about asking readers for their help.
I’ll address more of your questions on tomorrow’s blog. Meanwhile, keep writing!