To Blog, or Not to Blog

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World Nouveau (parent company of Mischievous Muse Press and the newly launched Echomark Press) sends out marketing challenges to all WN authors. Here is one on blogging.

This week’s challenge is: BLOGGING
1. If you haven’t already, sign up for a WordPress account. Go to www.wordpress.com and follow the instructions to sign up.
2.WRITE A BLOG! A blog is an essay or commentary about your life, a journal or diary that you share with the public. Blogs can be very popular and are an excellent FREE way to advertise your book and to promote yourself!  Recommendations: Start by blogging about being an uncertain blogger, an author just starting out in the world, or about being a seasoned author selling your new upcoming book. This is your chance to let your fan base know who you are as an author and a person. Blog especially about your book’s topic: for example, our author Dolores who wrote a recipe book can share recipes, and Elayne can share about unusual geographic places that inspired her fantasy novel. Keep your blogs mostly about your writing career, although talking about other subjects is okay, too, especially if it somehow fits in with an aspect of your book (for example, environmentalism is a theme in Cat’s books and also something she writes about on her blog).
3. DESIGN YOUR BLOG: WordPress is a relatively easy to use blog with a lot of options to create a simple design. Once you are signed up, look for “Theme Showcase”…you will have the option of several themes. Pick one you like, and “hover” your cursor over it; it will give you an option to “Use This Theme.” Click it, and then you can decide if you like the look, or you can personalize your blog with your own photographs.
ALL AUTHORS should start blogging, even if your book isn’t out yet! Create buzz about your up coming book! 
 
GOOD RULES OF THUMB and SUGGESTIONS
•Blog at least twice a month. Three or four times a month is a good goal
•Connect your blog to your other social media; Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, etc.
•Invite interesting guest bloggers to blog on your site if you are too busy to blog or just can’t come up with something to say
•Don’t try to “sell” your followers your book — try to get them interested in the subject matter and in you as a person, so they will want to buy it! If your book is published, periodically post the buy link on Amazon.com with a blog about how you are advertising your book, or what your publicist is doing for you, etc.
•Proof your blog carefully before posting!
•Post interesting photos that pertain to your book’s subject matter
•Once your blog is up and running, you can then do the following:  Tweet on Twitter about your blog, with a link; talk about your blog on Facebook, with a link; and if you have a GoodReads author page or an Amazon.com author page, you may link your blogs on those pages as well. Get as many followers as you can!
 Do it for yourself… do it for your book!
Be Fearless! Your Book deserves it!
Here are some relevant articles:
Happy Blogging,
Cat & Gineve

Tips for Getting Your Books into Bookstores

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Tips For Approaching Bookstores to Get Your Books into Bookstores (this method gets the best results):
• Have at least 10 books in your trunk at all times
• Every time you go into a new town for an appointment or to visit a friend etc. go early and stop by as many bookstores as you can hit in the area
• Approach the bookstore clerk with a copy of your book in hand and say: “Hello, I’d like to talk to someone about placing this title in your store.”
-Don’t say you are the author (yet)
-Don’t give your name (yet)
-Don’t pitch your book (yet)
-Don’t ask for the “Book buyer” because they might say he/she is not here right now, come back later
• With the intro line (in bold) above you might get the book buyer, or if he/she is not there, you will be directed to someone in charge who can influence the book buyer. Never pitch the check-out clerk unless they respond to your into by saying, “That would be me” or “I’m the manager, our buyer isn’t here right now,” etc.
• Once you get to the right person, introduce yourself and ask if they have a moment to chat
-DON’T hand them your book (yet). Once you give them the book their focus is no longer on you. ALWAYS pitch first and hand them the book after, if possible. Sometimes they reach for it and at that point it becomes awkward if you don’t hand it over
• If they say yes they have a moment to chat, start your pitch with the same line you gave the clerk (unless the clerk IS the manager or book buyer which happens in smaller stores sometimes).
-“I’d like to talk to you about placing this title in your store. It’s called ______ and it’s about…”
-This is your “elevator pitch” here. One or two lines is fine –three at the most –don’t go on and on about the plot or tell them how good it is
-Elaborate only if they ask questions
-If you have been published by a small press let them know. Tell them the name of your publisher, and that your book is fully returnable, listed in “Books in Print,” and available through the normal ordering channels (as is the case with most small press/indie publishers). If your book has been self published, and they ask, tell them the truth. Let them know a little of your personal story–how you came to be a self published author. Remember, self publishing one’s work is a triumph of the human spirit. Be proud of what you have accomplished.
-When you give them the book, let them know it is a complementary copy
-If they seem reluctant to consider it for their store, offer to give them a few copies for consignment (which means you only get paid if they sell) but be aware, consignment often requires paperwork which means more effort on their part, and some bookstores do not offer consignment as an option
-What I suggest if you can afford it: offer to give them a few extra free copies to sell in their store (this is where the copies in your trunk come in handy) and say “If they sell, you can order more. That will be sufficient compensation.” This allows them to test the title in their store with no risk and no obligation.
• Always let them know you will be marketing the book in the area to drive traffic to their store
• Let them know you are available for book signings.
• Always thank them for their time and let them know you will stop by again to say hi and see how the books are doing.
• Always ask for their business card and give them one of your  business cards in return–one that represents you as an author and has the cover of your book on it.

• Carry a small notebook to keep track of every store you visit, the contact person’s name, notes on what they said and how many books you left with them and include the biz card with your notes. Remember to record the date so you know when to follow up. If possible, put your follow up reminders on a digital calendar that can send you a reminder when it is time to follow up. Usually one or one and a half months is a good check in point, just so they won’t forget about you.

• One last thing. Wait three weeks and then send a friend into the store to buy a copy of your book.

This method of approach has been tried and tested over the years and has gotten great results!