Friday, July 25, 2014

Promotion Made Personal

Promotion is a requirement for authors.
Readers can not buy your book unless they know there is a book, what it is about, and where to buy!

This promotional event was sponsored by Montlake Publishing for the 2014 RT Booklovers Convention. It included a scavenger hunt that required readers to review the novels and chat with the authors. 25 Gift bags were raffled to all the readers who completed their forms and there was a grand prize of a $150 Amazon Gift Card.

There was a consistency to each author table. This is something to consider when planning an event designed to engage customers and sell books, or any direct retail event. Every item, from pens to brochures to candy to costume jewelry was displayed with enough space to be noticed. No one promotion was bigger than the other and readers had to search for the books instead of being overwhelmed with a lot of banners mounted on the walls. This created a rather cozy feeling in a very crowded and noisy room. All the tables were in the center of the room and comfortable for standing, but chairs lined the perimeter of the room so no one had to leave in search of giving their feet a rest.  Separating the author tables, which could be rather crowded with fans, were a few more tables promoting additional books and authors.

The game was the brain child of Robin Perini and she stated it was inspired by Darynda Jones. Each of the eight participating authors had a table to display their book(s) and give away promotional items. All the clues for this scavenger hunt were about the book but the answers were not obvious.

Questions included: "Whose heroine and hero meet at a sacred wellspring?"
"Whose hero feeds his wife chocolate croissants in bed?"
"Whose heroine lost her mother to a serial killer?"
"In which book does a character get broken out of prison?"
Debra Holland and a fan
None of the answers were listed in the book blurbs so a reader would have to discern where those questions may apply then ask the author questions. Some of the authors had fun being cagey about providing yes or no answers and were able to chat more about their books. Players (readers) loved that added interaction to the quest for answers.

There was also enough time for readers to fill out their sheets, enter the drawing, chat with other readers, and still have time to get pictures with their favorite authors.  Everything about this event was low pressure, cost effective, and personal.

An interesting tidbit to us and our message of the author career spanning many years is - many of the featured books were first in a series and published years ago. This promotion was not geared to a latest release or debut author but to creating engaging relationships between authors and readers.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Putting Your Street Team to Work!

As we've mentioned in past posts, we attended the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, LA in May. Of course, we were on the look out for GREAT marketing in action. Here's an example of what we found....

Saturday at RT is primarily composed of Teen Day and The Giant Book Sale. This year, there were two ballrooms full of authors signing books and double the usual number of convention goers.

As attendees, hundreds of us lined up in a snaking queue to enter The Giant Book Sale. (Some folks started lining up more than two hours ahead of time.) As we stood in line, shifting our weight from foot to foot, this guy in a tailored white shirt started moving through the throng of people handing out fliers and engaging otherwise bored readers in witty conversation.

The snaking queue waiting for the book sale to open.

Who was this guy? He was a member of Team Callahan, the street team for Coreene Callahan.


In fact, the execution of this marketing activity was so great it merits further comment and analysis!

  • I don't want to objectify this guy, but let's face facts, Ms. Callahan knows her audience. Utilizing what we shall dub the 'hunk-o-man walking billboard' definitely got our attention. I mean really... Is there a better way to promote your romance books to romance readers? The fact that he was also engaging us in conversation also made this strategy a winner.

Coreene Callahan's 'hunk-o-man walking billboard' street team member.
  • Notice that his shirt features a dragon...This one image is a HUGE clue as to what Ms. Callahan writes. If the reader doesn't like dragon stories, they could smile and walk away. But if a reader LOVES dragon stories, well now you most definitely have their attention.
  • The image includes her full name and website. Yes! Send readers to your website to learn more and access your BUY links. Smartphones and e-readers make this information even more important - now the reader can make an impulse buy!
  • Her tagline: "Romance on the Razor's Edge" also give readers a clue as to what to expect with regards to the story content.
  • You can make this shirt at home! Just pull a shirt out of your closet and apply an iron-on decal. (You can purchase printer friendly iron-on decals at your local office supply store or online. (Here's one we found!)
Of course, your walking billboard doesn't have to be a 'hunk-o-man'....And you do want to be careful that your street team members know when people are interested and when to move along. (Truly there are very few things worse than being stuck in line with an annoying and talkative person.)

We did not know Coreene Callahan or her books before we met her street team member. All that we can say is that we met him in May. It is now July and we STILL know who Coreene Callahan is, what she writes, and where to buy her books....that, my friends, is called good marketing.