Venues Where You Can Sell Your Book

sample1I’m often asked about how one goes about getting their name out there. Truth is, there’s no one who can sell your book better than you. You are the brand!

If you’re not already, you should be thinking about the upcoming holidays! I know, fall has just started. Let’s not rush it, right? Halloween hasn’t even happened yet!

However, this is the time of the year when children are back at school, and parents/grandparents are already starting to prepare their birthday/Christmas lists as they get back into their daily routines.

So, where are the best places to help readers get your books into their hands? Below you will find some of my suggestions.

Note: Like any other form of marketing, you will find what works for one author may not work for you. It’s all about learning, exploring and discovering what areas work best for you and your book. You may be surprised to discover where you can be successful in selling your book!

Author Events/Conventions:

These can honestly be a hit or miss, especially if you are a first time published author.

My advice: look for author events that have been around for several years. Do your research. Find out how many attendees were there, what type of books they bought, what kind of advertising is going on, are there any guest speakers, and most importantly, who is hosting the event? Remember: not every opportunity is a good one.

For example: I made the mistake this year of attending an author event this summer, which had been recommended to me as the “place to go” for a YA author by a local bookstore, that just happened to be run by a self-published author. Within the first few minutes of the event starting, I sensed something wasn’t quite right.

One author stated he was selling his book, which he knew was full of errors, and frankly, didn’t care. This not only made me question the event’s reputation, but it soon became obvious, I wasn’t part of “that” crowd when readers deliberately skipped my table like I was wearing an invisibility cloak, and proceeded to move onto everyone else’s table in my row due to them being already familiar with those authors because they were “friends” with the host.

Needless to say, I won’t be attending that event again.

Book Festivals:

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My first author event took place this year at the Ann Arbor Book Festival in Ann Arbor, MI in June. Above I’m pictured with 7 other authors representing BHC Press.

We had a great turnout despite the event itself failing to properly advertise. It was especially unfortunate that majority of the local businesses had no idea this event was even going on.

Comic Con:

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Even though I personally have not attempted to sell my book at comic con yet, many authors I know have, and have done really well. The reason I have not tried selling my book at comic con is because the ones I normally attend as a spectator are huge and expensive. For example, back in 2014, a table at Wizard World Chicago cost over $400. I have never sold that many books at an event before, so I know I would just end up taking a loss with just one book.

However, the key is not to think big like Wizard World Chicago, San Diego Comic Con, or Fan Expo Canada. Instead, think of local venues that are smaller, that have specific kind of guests. If you’re a horror writer, for example, you may target a comic con that has Norman Reedus as an invited guest,  because known for bringing in a crowd.

Comic con is also spectacular for panels. That’s how I got to meet Genese Davis, Rachel Caine, and James Morrison.

Barnes & Noble:

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Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble: Rochester Hills

This is every author’s dream if you live in America: getting your work recognized by Barnes & Noble. And despite what you may have heard, you don’t have to have sold millions of books to get into their stores!

Most recently I had the awesome opportunity to participate in the B-Festival: Teen Festival through the Barnes & Noble Rochester store located in Rochester Hills, MI. The entire day was filled with activities on publishing, writing, young adult, and teen books.

And the best part of the day – the author’s panel!

Library Book Fairs:

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This summer I had the opportunity to participate in my first library book fair at the Warren Civic Center. The facility was beautiful, and the hosts were delightful. I joined 15 other authors where we got to meet new readers and all got the opportunity to talk about our books. There was also a really cool group photo taken, but due to I suspect…more email issues, I don’t have a copy of it.

Art Fairs:

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Okay, I’ll be honest with this one. When I first thought of art fairs, I didn’t associate them with places to buy books. Instead I thought of them as solely places to buy art. However, I soon discovered that could not be any further from the truth! I mean when you think about it, books are a form of art too, no? They are just a different kind of art.

This summer I attended two art fairs – Fenton’s Art Walk and Swartz Creek’s Art In The Park. The result: both times I either doubled or tripled the amount of sales I made from any of the other venues mentioned above, which convinces me these are the venues that work best for me.

So, what was different about these venues versus the ones listed above?

Both of these events felt more inviting than any of the events I’ve attended thus far. Everyone was encouraging each other due to the large variety of items for sales. And Swartz Creek’s event was also a fantastic place to network! I’ve got so many invites to different events that I am literally overwhelmed!

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Hidden Inspiration

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.”
~ Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as an author is what inspired me to write The Rite of Wands. I have always found that question interesting because when you think about it, inspiration is different for everyone. It may be a memory, a character from a book, song lyrics, a political speech, a TV series, or even an actor’s performance. Pure imagination is in all of us—we only need to discover it, and sometimes storytelling helps.

template-4-12172901503297868-large.pngInspiration can come to us in any shape or form; you never know what or who may inspire you. That was the case for me in 2014 when I got the opportunity to attend Wizard World Chicago and meet English actor Matt Smith, who is known for playing the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, and most recently Prince Philip on Netflix’s The Crown. I had originally gone there because I really wanted to meet a Doctor, and honestly felt it was going to be one in a lifetime, never thought it would be possible to meet him again being in America. If only I had known then that I was about to discover the main piece of inspiration in order to finish my book!

A few months later, I was sitting at my desk in my writing office, trying to compose something, but nothing would come to me. I was staring at a blank page for what seemed like eternity. I was close to tears. Not because I was sad, but because I was so frustrated with myself! I thought I had what was called a dead book, and my dream of becoming an author was coming to an end. I wasn’t a writer like I thought. In that moment of desperation, I literally shouted at my computer, “WHO are you? Show yourself!” And then inspiration hit.

I envisioned out of a dark alley in Glendalow, Matt Smith, dressed in medieval warlock attire, carrying an ebony wooden wand in his hand that contained a bloodstone crystal at the shaft. There was also a scar on his face from some type of chemical accident.

I felt like I was having my own “regeneration.” I was being fed all the information I had been missing all at once. I could now hear the character, see the character, and I got a huge grasp on this character’s dominant personality, especially after the first thing I could hear this character say to me was, “My name is Mierta, and that is NOT how it happened.”

In that moment, I gained my confidence back, realizing my dream of becoming a writer could still happen. If you’re a struggling writer, don’t give up! Keep at it. Find what inspires you. You never know what or who that may be!

B-Fest Teen Book Festival

20770207_1137385089697080_4001119598216775061_nA full day of awesome Teen book events at the Barnes & Noble (Rochester Hills) location! Authors! Panels! Giveaways! You won’t want to miss this. This wonderful day will be hosted in partnership with Reuther Middle School, and will be a fundraiser for them.

LEARN MORE AND RSVP ON FACEBOOK AT FACEBOOK.COM/BNROCHESTERHILLS 

*GIVEAWAYS AT EVERY EVENT!*

B-FEST EVENTS:
1PM – “B-In The Know” Workshop. Readers will B In the Know at 1 p.m. with teen trivia, created by Penguin Random House, that’ll put your YA street cred to the test.

2PM – “B-Super” Workshop. Calling all comics fans: B Super at 2 p.m.! We’ll be celebrating iconic DC Comics superheroes and heroines, including Batman and Wonder Woman. Don’t miss trivia, mad libs, book excerpts from Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker, and a giveaway of two copies of Batman per participating store. And remember to wear your superheroic best for our costume contest! Joining us for this workshop will be author Heather Maclean – Author.

3PM – “B-Part of the Fun” Workshop. B Part of the Fun at 3 p.m., when we’ll be celebrating your favorite teen series with games, trivia, scavenger hunts, and more. Joining us for this workshop will be authors Erica M. Chapman and Heather Smith Meloche.

4PM – “B-Yourself” Workshop. This workshop will teach you all about the self-publishing world. Learn about writing, NOOK Press, print-on-demand books, and more! Join us and authors CK Brooke and Mackenzie Flohr – Writer.

5PM – “B-Creative” Workshop. Aspiring writers will want to B Creative at 5 p.m., with story development workshops created by Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and Adaptive Studios. Joining us for this workshop will be authors Ali Novak, Barbara Rebbeck, Erica Chapman, and Kristin Lenz.

7PM – MULTI-AUTHOR “NO FILTER” PANEL EVENT: This awesome panel of authors will be one you won’t want to miss! We will be asking them “no filter” questions and having a blast! Nothing is off limits!!!!! Plus, lots of giveaways! Joining us for this panel will be authors Ali Novak, Darcy Woods, Erica Chapman, Barbara Rebbeck, Mackenzie Flohr – Writer, Kristin Lenz, Rebekah Purdy, Heather Meloche, CK Brooke, and Heather Maclean.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Ali Novak is the author of The Heartbreak Chronicles and My Life with the Walter Boys.
Darcy Woods is the author of Summer of Supernovas.
Erica Chapman is the author of Teach Me to Forget.
Mackenzie Flohr is the author of The Rite of Wands.
Barbara Rebbeck is the author of Nola Gals.
C.K. Brooke is the author of Secrets of Artemis and the Jordinia series.
Rebekah Purdy is the author of the Backstage Pass series, the D.B. List, and The Winter People trilogy.
Heather Meloche is the author of Ripple.
Heather Maclean is the author of Toward a Secret Sky.
Kristin Lenz is the author of The Art of Holding On and Letting Go.

 

Author Interview: Greg Jolley

Today I’m fortunate to present Greg Jolley author of Murder in a Very Small Town.

Hi Greg, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

 

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Greg Jolley (left) and Mackenzie Flohr (right)

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

 

Originally that oddest part of the world, California. These days, I’m enjoying the relative calm and sanity of Michigan.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

No matter the genre, it’s the mystery and suspense; the what will the characters decide to do? It’s the dance of the characters, caught up in the conflicts between good and evil.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

Through childhood, I was an avid and compulsive reader. Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I asked myself, “Why not write one? Contribute to the world of stories.” As is almost a requirement of first novels, Distractions (1984) was partially a mirror game of what was happening in my life, which wasn’t as interesting to me as taking the first steps into learning and enjoying the art and craft of stories.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write seven days a week, starting at 5AM with espresso brewing. I am firmly seated in the school that holds to the craft model and find artistic expression and exploration within each day’s efforts.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I over write and over research each novel. I’m also open to whatever means get the words and story into play. Sometimes that is typing into my iMac, but of late, it has been four blue line notebooks laid out side by side and a cup of Pilot V5 pens and colored pencils. I also carry a notebook everywhere, as the books continue to percolate throughout the day.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

The latest book is Murder in a Very Small Town, in the suspense genre, where I’ve been living comfortable for the last few writes. I make the distinction between mysteries and suspense, grounded in exploring the dance between good and evil by sharing both the heroes and villains with the readers.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

With the writing of Murder, I was delighted to work with another odd Danser family member, this time Wiki, a twenty-something gay, headstrong and feisty woman. She kept taking the story away from me to make it her own. Every time I knew she was going to turn left, she steered right, over the median, planting her boot on the accelerator and taking off into the uncharted.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

51mmb5u+UdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Yes, of course. This is from chapter one of Murder in a very Small Town:

The truck pulled off slowly to the side and braked to a stop. Now Wiki had the view of her headlights glaring into the snow-swept road–the two beams illuminated heavy snowflakes falling at an angle. The steering wheel felt fluid in her small hands, and she slowed down again to five miles per hour. Snow was clouting the underside of the car and sometimes white waves crashed up over the hood. There were furrows out before the car, from prior vehicles, but they were becoming harder to see and stay within. Anxiety, perhaps fear, changed the pace of her breaths and chilled her palms on the wheel.

A highway sign appeared, lit by the white headlights. It read, Exit 143. No name of a town, just the distance to the exit.

Even from within her personal storm of shock and sadness, Wiki understood that she could not go on much further. She turned on the right-side blinker, something that in her normal life would have made her giggle, what with her being the only car for miles. She slowed some more and began to watch for the furrows to sway off to the right.

A single car-wide set of tracks continued into the narrow tunnel of the storm and Wiki turned off, staying within the white tire marks. The off-ramp was tree-lined and rose over a knoll, and there was a single yellow light swaying in the distance to her right. She rolled slowly down the other side of the hill and saw a tangle of cars, headlights, and movement. There was an accident at the base of the hill. Wiki lifted off the gas completely and began lightly braking the car. She was studying the scene a hundred yards away, feeling the car slowing and lazily wiggling its rear. The bridge supporting the trestle tracks was what changed everything.

The car felt like it somehow accelerated. It is also began to slide sideways. Wiki took the wheel tight in both hands. She tried more pressure on the brake pedal. The accident was less than forty yards away, and she could tell that her car was picking up speed as it slid down the snow-covered ramp.

Sara, the baby, and the heartbreak were forgotten. She could see two men working between three wrecked vehicles, prying on a door. Her hand went to the horn and stayed there, pressing it in a solid cry as she and the car slid closer and closer. Neither man seemed to hear or care about her approach. Not knowing what else to do, Wiki turned the wheel all the way to the right. The car stayed on its steady course for impact.

Ten yards away one of the men finally looked up, but there was no time to do anything more than that. Her car struck the two men and hit the wrecked cars. Wiki rebounded on the seat after clouting her head on the wheel, and the two cars spun slowly away and her car, now crushed in at the front, slid past. Her car stopped when it crashed into a third vehicle. This impact had more force as she had hit a large tow truck. Her temple hit the steering wheel again as her car finally stopped.

Wiki sat perfectly still, looking out around the raised hood of her car to the tow truck, ignoring the bump on her head, watching her wipers continue to brush snow from the windshield. She began to shake and could hear the storm wind and the damaged engine of her car.

She was sitting there staring out into the view when her door opened and a frigid blast of air and snow swept in. She turned and thought she saw a woman’s face close to her; the woman had cloth across her mouth and her head was deep inside a fur-lined parka hood.

“Lady, are you okay?” She heard, and thought it odd to be addressed as “Lady.”

The cold and wind coming in through the door jarred Wiki into the current moment. She turned her attention to the woman and nodded, “Yes?”

The woman’s glove pressed Wiki’s chin and turned her eyes to hers. “You better get out. Another car might come. Come on, take off your belt.”

Wiki heard and understood, but sat staring. Then she remembered her car striking the two men and that got her going. She unbuckled and climbed out, the wind whipping her heavy coat and summer dress and thin bare legs.

She looked back up the exit ramp to the two cars she had struck. Their headlights were shining in the blowing snow, and she saw a man staring at the chaos with his jaw dropped.

The woman had her arm around Wiki and turned her away toward the tow truck.

“We need to get inside,” the woman said, leading her to the passenger door of the large yellow vehicle. “There’s nothing we can do out here but freeze.”

“Should we call the police?” Wiki asked, feeling more and more in the moment.

The woman opened the door and climbed in first with her hand out to Wiki.

“Can’t call the sheriff,” the woman replied, waiting for Wiki to close the door.

“Why not?” Wiki asked. She turned on the seat and looked out to the accident.

“Because he’s under your car.”

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

The sequel to Murder is in the brilliant and capable hands of my publisher, with a January 2018, release date. It is titled, Malice in a very Small Town and in it, Wiki Danser continues her war against madness and evil.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Hiring a professional editor for every book before it even reaches my publisher. I gladly go out of pocket for this invaluable service and expertise, working with brilliant and passionate editors who enrich each novel with substantive, line and copy revisions.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

I’m always available to readers at the following:

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8261931.Greg_Jolley\

FB – author page: https://www.facebook.com/gfjolle/

Twitter: @gfjolle

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gfjolle/

www.gregjolley.net

gfjolle@sbcglobal.net

A Small Gang of Authors

https://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com

Thank you!greagauthor

All the best,

Greg Jolley

The Danser novels

The Benefits of Newsletters

Newsletters are a bit of a newer concept to me. Most of the authors I know do have some type of mailing list for their readers to keep up with them, but, if you’re a newer author like me, how do you get people to subscribe in the first place? I am going to share some tips I recently learned.

When Charlene Kowalski, marketing director, asked during a panel to a room filled with authors, bloggers and readers during Once Upon A Book convention this past weekend in Frankenmuth, MI, it was interesting hearing the various responds from those present.

What tips really stuck out:

  • Making your newsletter personal. Readers want to know more about you, and your life. They want you to feel like you are a friend versus just another author. They want different content than just hearing “buy my book”!
  • Offer a free book or short story exclusive to your newsletter subscribers.
  • Having giveaways exclusive to your newsletter doesn’t keep readers! This, I honestly found really surprising. Most authors said they found people were more likely to unsubscribe when their newsletter contained a giveaway.
  • Sales really CAN increase. I’ve heard more than once in the indie community that authors find newsletters are time consuming, tedious and a waste of time. However, one author said their sales increased by 44% simply because she had a newsletter.
  • Send your newsletter out quarterly, that way you will always have fresh content. If you send out your newsletter more frequently, it can lead not only unsubscribes, but people may report your content as spam/abuse.

 

Author Interview: C H Clepitt #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present C H Clepitt, author of a variety of works, including The Book of Abisan and I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse.

Hi, C H, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

I’m from Bristol in the UK, famous for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, The balloon fiesta and Wallace and Gromit!

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Well drawn characters and an exciting story. The characters have to be real for me to enjoy reading it, and I think the situations can be utterly ludicrous as long as the characters react plausibly.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

It’s a bit corny, but I actually had a very vivid dream, which basically told me the plot of the first four chapters, and it just went from there! My inspirations come from things I feel passionate about, and in recent years my writing has become much more political.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

A bit erratic! In an ideal world, I would be nocturnal, but as the rest of the humans are not, I am forced out in daylight, but really, I get my best writing done at night. I try not to schedule it, though, as I find it hard to be creative on demand, so I just go with the flow.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I guess that I play out entire scenes in my head before writing them. I go for long walks just letting my mind play them out, then I mull them over for days before writing them down. My process takes a while!

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse – satirical sci fi.

Heels Text Meme

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Badgers make great spirit guides, and all the readers love a badger!

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

I am currently working on the sequel to I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse, and have attached a teaser for you!

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

Cape Meme (1)

Well, I am finishing up edits on Everything is better with a Cape, and hope to have it available for pre-order in less than a month, and am working on a new fantasy book called The Smuggler’s Daughter, which I am currently posting on newsnibbles.co.uk as I write it. The first two chapters are up there. Alongside that, I am working with another author to create a fantasy magazine, we have so much content and I am really excited that people are soon going to get the chance to see it.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Reckon my Chromebook! It is so battered now, but it still works better than any other computer I’ve ever had, and I can just carry it around and write whenever and wherever I like!

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

I have a website, chclepitt.com, or I’m on Facebook @CHClepitt or Twitter @BadgersTweetToo. Stop by and say hello, I love meeting new people.

chclepitt