Author comments

We are very pleased with the printing Fairway Press did on our books. They look terrific! You were a great help to us completing the project on time. It was very good to work with you. The delivery was right on time so I worried for naught about the deadline. Thanks much.
—Judith Reuning, Publisher, LifeCrossings, LLC

Practical Marketing Tips

Responsibility Of The Author
Some of the most interesting people in the world are authors. This is because authors have fascinating stories to tell -- they are people who are willing to challenge accepted practices, take adventures, or share the innermost secrets of their lives. They write beautiful poetry or engrossing prose, painting word pictures which take people to places beyond their own experiences. This is why the author is so crucial to sales. Everyone wants to meet, interview, and read about the author, the person who created the idea, who caused controversy, or gave comfort to the grieving. An author is the best salesperson for his or her book. Authors who understand this role, sell books. Those who do not are often disappointed with the entire process.

An author must know and take advantage of his or her "sphere of influence" for a book to be successful. Cultivating this network can mean the difference between success and failure. One person's endorsement might secure the sale of a thousand books. Speaking to local clubs and organizations, doing interviews with local and national media, networking with other writers, and working through the internet are all important avenues.

The author's "sphere of influence" takes shape when the author lists those people and organizations who would be open to such things as book signings, window posters, speaking appearances, feature articles, or radio interviews. The responsibility of an author begins with the written word and ends with the sale.

Guidelines For Book Signing Events
1. Do not expect many sales during a book signing event. Local authors who are not well-known cannot expect more than a few (0-4) copies to be sold during the event.

2. Store managers are generally willing to have local authors conduct a book signing event in their stores to draw some interest in entering the store.

3. Usually, a bookstore manager will order twenty (20) copies of the book for a book signing event.

4. Posters and stuffers should be at the bookstore five (5) days prior to the event. Earlier delivery will result in the materials being misplaced.

5. Visit the bookstore one day in advance of the book signing event to confirm all arrangements.

6. Be at the event 15-30 minutes early to assure proper setup and possibly assist the store staff in the setup.

7. Have handouts (promotional flyers) available to distribute at the signing event.

8. Passersby are generally shy. Make eye contact and give a friendly greeting with a smile. Attempt to engage them in conversation.

9. After the event, autograph all remaining copies and ask the bookstore to provide you with the "Autographed Copy" stickers that you can put on the books. This ensures that the books are not immediately returned to the distributor by the bookstore.

10. Revisit the bookstore a week or so after the event to see if you can do anything else to help the store sell any remaining copies.

Allow us to add one more. Make sure that friends, business acquaintances, neighbors, members of your congregation, and everyone else within shouting distance know that you are going to be there and that you would enjoy their support.

Fund Raising With Your Book
Many authors have successfully used their books to raise funds for favorite charities or ministries of their church, synagogue, or organization. Specific arrangements vary greatly, but the general idea remains the same. You provide copies of your book (on a consignment basis) to the group raising funds. The book is offered at a predetermined discount with a certain percentage being designated as proceeds to benefit the sponsoring organization. In these situations, everyone wins: your book receives further exposure, sales increase, and a charity benefits as well. The event can have even more impact if you can be present to autograph the books purchased.

"Taking Your Book With You"
Whenever you are invited to a conference, meeting, workshop, or seminar where your book may be of interest, plan to take your book along for possible sales. When publishers or other vendors have reserved space at the event, often they will work with you to set up a special display. This works especially well for those times you serve as the keynote speaker or serve in some leadership capacity at the event. However, do not discount the sales potential at events where you are simply a participant. Often colleagues and friends are quite interested in looking at and purchasing your work.

Promotional Methods (Primary Channels Of Effective Promotion)
1. Enroll family and friends in sharing the news of the book's release.

2. Develop a substantial, targeted mailing list of acquaintances and send them press releases, flyers, order forms, promotional announcements, etc., concerning the book.

3. Prepare and submit a press release to all local newspapers and magazines. Include a copy of the book with a request for a book review.

4. Develop and submit press kits to radio and television talk shows that could potentially be interested in the subject matter of the book.

5. Actively volunteer for speaking engagements at churches and civic and social organizations that may be interested, with the intent of using some of the book content as the basis for the talk.

6. Submit magazine articles that contain excerpts from the book.

7. Explore cost and benefit of paid advertising in various media.

8. Contact local bookstores and gift shops with the possibility of consignment selling of your book.

9. Schedule book signing events at bookstores and gift shops.

The Realities Of Promoting A Book
1. Prepare a list which prioritizes your promotional methods and schedules your time. Plan on blocking out significant chunks of time to promote the book.

2. Be prepared to give away many copies of the book for review and promotion. This is a necessary marketing cost.

3. Actively pursue various promotional methods. Generate interest in as many areas as possible; it is not a time to be shy.

4. Prepare appropriate promotional material and kits in anticipation of use so that they will be available when the unexpected request comes. Always have a supply of books with you along with some promotional materials.

5. Rehearse a short verbal presentation so that you are at ease in answering the question, "What is your book about?"

6. Be disciplined in maintaining a database of contacts and follow-up your efforts. Good follow-up is necessary in building a relationship with your contacts.

7. Obtain someone to maintain the distribution of promotional materials and keep the calendar of follow-up items and scheduled promotional activities. This will provide more time for "author required" promotional activities.

8. Expect many "not interested" responses in the promotional effort. Timing is everything. Use each rejection as a learning experience and consider going back to the not interested contact later with a different approach.

9. Nothing will happen in the time frame you expect. This will be a long-term effort.

10. Opportunity does not announce itself. Continually view each environment you are in for an opportunity to promote your book. Each day do something to promote your book.

Setting Up Book Signings and Author Receptions
Many times an autograph party with plenty of community publicity will help convince a manager to sell your book. Being in business, he/she wants to create traffic through the store. An autograph party with refreshments and enthusiastic response from you and your friends is often a great creator of store traffic and increased sales -- not only for your book, but also for the rest of the products in the store. Publicity pieces which can be helpful are as follows.

• Posters featuring the book cover, ad copy, biographic information about you and other pertinent information.

• Promotional flyers (5.5 x 8.5) which can be used as bag-stuffers several weeks prior to the autograph party.

• Letters to the local media urging them to feature a story or announcement of the autograph party.

Sample Consignment Letter

William S. Johnson
29 Roberts Road
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 353-4851

St. Jude's Shop, Inc.
21 Brookline Road
Havertown, PA 19083

Attn: Emilla DeCocco, Book Manager

Dear Emilla,

Thank you so much for considering my book, A Journey In Faith, on a consignment basis. This book retails for $13.95 and is published by Fairway Press, a subsidiary of CSS Publishing Company.

At your suggestion I am consigning to you twelve (12) copies of the book for a period of 90 days. The agreed-to price to your organization is $8.35 a copy for any books not returned following this consignment arrangement.

Again, thank you for your consideration. If there is anything I can do to help promote the sale of the book, please call. I have a limited supply of books at my residence, but the publisher can respond to any large quantity requests with a reasonable lead time.

Yours very truly,

William S. Johnson

Books received under above conditions by


St. Jude's Shop, Inc.

Dated: ___________________________
Used by permission of William S. Johnson

Dealing With Bookstores
Bookstore managers, like radio station program directors, are keenly aware of their clientele's unique needs and preferences. The manager or book buyer of the local bookstore will gladly carry your books if he/she feels there will be sufficient community interest in the book. Bookstores will be reluctant to carry the book if it falls outside their parameters of clientele preferences or past sales performance figures. Most bookstores expect a predetermined discount on your book in order for them to recover their costs and still make a profit. Often stores will carry books on a consignment basis with return privileges expected after a designated length of time. Make sure that you have some type of record of any books not paid for upon delivery. Payment for sold books can take place on a periodic basis or at the end of the sales period for the book. In dealing with the manager or book buyer, be sure to clarify all arrangements before leaving copies of your book. We encourage you to get specifics in writing whenever possible. This will keep all business dealings clear with no room for unshared assumptions. It is also important to give the managers or book buyers the name of your publisher. This way they may contact Fairway Press for additional information. It also may be helpful to let them know that our parent company is CSS Publishing. There are many bookstores acquainted with our name.

Paid And "Free" Advertising
As you would expect, you have a lot more control of content and quality of paid advertising for your book. However, do not discount the impact and quality of "free" advertising which is often available to authors like you. Here are some examples:

1. Most radio and television stations have a community bulletin board or local interest programs which can do much to spread the word about your book.

2. Newspapers often have book review editors who are looking for books and authors to feature in their regular columns. When utilizing this idea, it is good a practice to have arrangements made for some local bookstores to carry the book. A mention of that fact in the article will help everyone involved.

3. Church and service club magazines and newsletters often have special "Member News" sections which are perfect for mentioning your new book. Don't forget to contact the editor of the periodical about the possibility of a full-blown article about you and/or your book.

If you discover other ideas for "free" advertising, please share them with us. We certainly would like to pass them along to your fellow authors of the future.

Contacting The Media
The editorial and book review staff at newspapers and periodicals prefer brief, concise communication. They want the basics first. Then, if they choose to pursue an article or interview, they will be in touch to explore the details. Naturally, these tips are general in nature and your own circumstances may differ, particularly if you are personally acquainted with staff persons in question.

Radio and television station program directors are often looking for local human-interest stories to feature in their programming. Interviews with you or feature stories about your work are always a possibility. Please keep in mind that each station has its own demographics and audience with which it is concerned. If not already aware, do not be afraid to ask questions concerning the station's target audience and programming goals as you communicate with the program director.

Whatever contact is made, plan to follow up the initial contact with another written memo, a phone call, or e-mail. The people being dealt with are extremely busy people. They often appreciate the gentle reminders and follow-up you can provide as they promote your work.

Preparation For An Interview
1. How would you define the major theme of your book? What was your objective in writing this book? What problem or issue do you see the book addressing? Why would this book be of interest to someone else?

2. Why did you feel compelled to write this book?

3. Have you always wanted to write a book? Is this the book you dreamed of writing: why or why not?

4. How long did it take you to write the book? How did you prepare for the writing and what resources did you use?

5. A promising author must face many rejections. How many rejections did you have? Do you have a secret for handling rejection? What other obstacles do writers face and how can they overcome them?

6. Your book contains many personal experience stories and testimonies. Why do you feel strongly about this form of writing? Is it difficult to write about such personal experiences?

7. What do you believe are the attributes of really good writing that will interest the editor and minister to the readers?

8. What response have you had to your book so far? What audience did you have in mind for this book? Are you satisfied that the intended audience is aware of your book and appropriately responding to it? Where can someone obtain a copy of your book?

9. What advice would you give to others who aspire to write a book? How can they get started?

10. In closing, what final thoughts would you like to share concerning your book?