& 'Don't's for Self-Publishers - Part Four
by Julie Duffy
DO: Remind bookstores to order POD books well in advance of events...
Bookstores usually contact a distributor or wholesaler for a book, a couple of weeks before a signing -- assuming that the wholesaler will have it in stock, or be able to get it very quickly. Even if the preferred wholesaler doesn't have it in stock, chances are someone, somewhere will, and the store can arrange to have copies rushed to them.
If your book is being produced Print On-Demand, it may take longer and there is no back-up stock...but the bookstore clerk probably doesn't know that.
Contact your POD firm and ask how long books normally take to ship. Double that, and tell the bookstore that is how far in advance they must order books. If they say 'no, it'll be OK', be firm. Tell them that it might not be OK. Tell them POD is a new science, that things can go wrong and, if they do, there is no alternative stock of books to order at a pinch.
POD is new, and you should expect to have to educate book stores, librarians, and sometimes readers.
DON'T: Expect to sell more than 20 copies at a signing...
In the traditional publishing world, the average book signing shifts 20 copies. Of course Howard Stern sells more, and John Grisham sells more, but the average author does not.
Don't be discouraged if your book signings don't make you rich. That's not what they are for. They are one more way to get your name and your book's title in front of readers.
Conventional advertising wisdom says repetition is the key to advertising success - your client (your reader) must see your product's name over and over...and over again, before they will even notice it. It takes many more repetitions before they are interested in buying it.
Book signings are an inexpensive way to create some of that repeated exposure. Not only will readers see your book during the event, but most bookstores will display posters of the book or an announcement for a couple of weeks before the event.
DO: Send customized press releases...
Every book has many themes, events, and characters that you can highlight in press releases for different audiences - and don't forget that you, the author, are interesting.
Editors are drowning in press releases. If yours is to make the cut, it must tell the editor something that will appeal to his or her readers. Don't just announce your new book and expect the world to be interested.
Instead, tell the editor of a child-care magazine how your novel features an inspirational 'everywoman' character who encounters all the same challenges and triumphs of raising a family that the magazine's readers face.
Sell the editor of a regional newspaper on a 'local author makes good' story.
This doesn't have to be as much work as it sounds. Write a standard press release with bio and summary information that will not change. Next research your market, and write a customized introductory paragraph just for them. Last, try to think up a snappy headline, related to what you have just written.
You may send fewer releases in the end, but 100 well-targeted releases will be worth more than 1000 box-standard press releases that don't give the editor a story angle, and are destined for the circular file.
DON'T: Burn your bridges...
...By insulting the agents and editors who turned down your first book.
You may need them for your second book, once you have proved yourself!
Go To Part One
Go To Part Two
Go To Part Three
Duffy (www.julieduffy.com) is the former
Director of Author Services at Xlibris. She is a
freelance writer and has been published in newspapers and
magaizines including the Writer's Digest special issue
|Home | Articles | Interviews | Links | Book Reviews | Free Ebooks | Contests | Market Listings | Ad Rates | Contact Us
|© Copyright 2000-2003
All work remains the property of Fiction Factor, unless expressly granted by written permission from the author.