Thursday, July 15, 2010

Promotion continued

How can you promote your book? I'm making a list for HOW THE WEST WAS DRAWN: COWBOY CHARLIE'S ART.

I've searched all connections I may have - book clubs, library, museums, golf league, crafts group, relatives and writer's organizations to name a few. Should you do those presentations and signings for free?

Book signings definitely are free with hopes of selling some books. What about other signings? I belong to Colorado Author's League. An email request came through before I had a book contract asking for twelve authors to speak at a school in Denver. The other day I received another call-out for the same school from CAL again. It seems the curriculum coordinator only received a few volunteers. The same day, SCBWI posted her request. Volunteers may be the key word.

In other words, the curriculum coordinator is asking for twelve authors to present - one author a month - for only sales of their books. She advertises, sends out press releases and whatever she can to bring in an audience. The after school program usually draws from 50 to 100 parents and children. Their tight school budget does not allow for payment to the authors. I volunteered.

Some authors never do school visits for various reasons - time, talent, personality or distance. I'm not sure how they help the publisher promote their book or if they have good sales. Each author must promote in her/his own way.

As a first book author, I don't feel I can require a fee. If the school allows book sales, what more can I ask? I've read that the first three presentations should be free and then expect payment. I know if a person doesn't charge for their expertise, they are often considered less valuable. Still, at this point, I can't require each child buy a book or a classroom pay a fee. Although my book offers the tools with which to view other art works in addition to those shared Russell pictures and I want to spread that knowledge, I still can't insist the children buy books. 

Instead, I'll present a teaser PowerPoint presentation in hopes of creating their interest in a purchase. I'll find as many places to present as I can. This book is really not just for children. Adults will glean ways to involve their children with art. I know because when I read my manuscript to my critique group, they were more like children than adults trying to find the hidden objects or answer my questions.

Determine how you want to promote your book. But remember, just like you tithe donations, think about tithing your promotions. For every paid performance, consider giving one away.

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