Monday, May 7, 2012

Social Media is NOT all you need

Therese didn't go to Chicago, she went to Oregon City....

Regardless how many times we hear that the world of books is dead and the ereader is all there is - your readers don't live in that world. They like to browse bookstores, libraries, and garage sales, for their reading material.
Many avid readers attend book/author events but now they don't want to buy the book, they want to download to their reader - which is at home...

This is where authors with digital books need to be - but how? We don't have an answer but here's our first suggestion. Freebie handouts of professional quality with engaging content!

We bought the space and attended a local Author Fair as an experiment for market research to see what tips we would be able to share, and we had a blast doing it. Yes, you are all welcome and we do advise you to team up and cross-market.
However, we had one big surprise.

There were over 40 attending authors, a bake sale, and sample platters to purchase from local specialty food shops. Burgerville sponsored a free raffle of prizes, every hour, during the four hours. (I won a jar of their famous sauce as the author next to me won the final drawing but doesn't do mayonnaise based products. She kept everything else in the prize pack.)

This combination of books, cakes, and local business at an event is recommended. Plus, it was within a historic landmark building in a busy part of town, and right next to the library. The Atkinson Memorial Church is painted a much brighter pink than the sidebar on their website, and it was open for tours. It is gorgeous!
Morgan and I chatted with most of the authors and a new, local, indie publisher called, appropriately, Puddle Town Publishing Group.
Our conversations centered around marketing, and books, and we learned a lot about what authors outside of our network are doing so we have some cool tips for future posts. 

We also observed shoppers at our table to note the differences when we were promoting our freebies as to when no one sat in the chair. Shoppers chose a lot more when no one was there to hand-sell the promo items. One woman I encouraged to take as much as she wanted admitted that she didn't want to appear greedy - to me. But with my permission, she and her two friends had a blast gathering up almost one of everything. (We stayed away from the chair most of the time.)

Morgan and Therese at the Author Fair with our table of goodies to share.

So what was our surprise? While I can't verify actual numbers and can say what I took home was a lot less than what I had when I arrived, BUT - drumroll - the biggest draw for shoppers was - a newspaper! 
They were all gone before the event ended.

Thanks to Patricia K. Lichen for coordinating this event! Great job!

Oh yeah, the bonus for the authors? A brilliant piece of coordination by Patricia!

Each author was able to donate one copy of their books to the library. Now they are all in "the library system" and were also on display at the library - ALL WEEK - in honor of the-author-event-next-door.


  1. Thanks for telling your marketing story. Good luck with your book promotions.

  2. Sounds like it was a very good learning experience all around.

  3. To get the "joke" about Puddle Town, check out Nancy Brophy's "Rose City Rhapsody" at the See Jane Publish blog on wordpress.

  4. Looks like it was a blast. Sorry I missed the fun. Didn't get home til mid afternoon and had to stay with hubby.

  5. What a great idea. Our town (small and rural) has a fair in September; Morgan and I are thinking of getting a table with freebies about our books (his 3 and my one).


    1. Team up with someone who writes different, but similar books.

      One author at the fair had field guide books for recognizing plants and animals in various environments around the state. Another author had books about scenic day trips and hikes around Oregon. We recommended they team up and market themselves together. The one is where to go, the other is what slugs and edible plants you'll meet. Fun cross marketing for both.

  6. I love the part where people pick up more when you're not there hovering. Of course that is only helpful when you're handing out freebies! But useful information--thank you. M. S. Spencer

  7. Terri - you have no idea how sorry I was to miss this event on Saturday. Thanks for the mention. Nancy

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and ideas - sounds like a lot of fun!