We sell books, of course. Cave Art Press was represented at two functions in October on the same weekend. We simply divided and conquered. Cissy Miller and Lisa Wright attended the PNBA tradeshow in Tacoma; and I presented at Write on the Sound conference in Edmonds. Here’s a brief account of what we learned:
Cissy Miller, Marketing Director:
I just attended my first book trade show. Although I was briefed, instructed, and warned, I wasn’t prepared for the mob of booksellers who swarmed the exhibitors’ hall. Our display table was by far the most attractive. Who wouldn’t be lured by a basket containing a huge chunk of smoked salmon, a jug of hooch from a local distillery, and our three latest titles? Our books were beautifully displayed, and our discount offer available. My colleague, Lisa, and I were eager to wax eloquent about these new titles, which we did—a lot. But honestly, I think our bowl of candy corn kept the booksellers revisiting. Don’t get me wrong; the show was a resounding success. I met booksellers from all over the west coast and I was able to make connections and get a real feeling for this business that is new to me. I realized how lucky I am to be working for such an amazing publishing company. Next year I’ll bring two bags of candy corn.
Kathleen Kaska, Marketing Director:
Working at Cave Art Press for two years, I’ve learned a lot about marketing. I learned even more at Beth Jusino’s Write on the Sound presentation, Market While You Write. Beth is a freelance editor, award-winning writer, teacher, and publishing consultant. She takes the anxiety out of marketing by promoting six building tools for authors, which also apply to publishers or anyone operating a small business. It’s not necessary to use all six, but the first is a must. Here they are (summarized) with a few comments of my own:
1. Authors must have and build a mailing list—e-mail, not snail-mail. (This is a quick and easy way to post announcements and news, usually through a newsletter like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.)
2. Publish articles associated with your book in literary journals and magazines. (This is free advertising and it’s a bonus if you get paid to write the article.)
3. Create a blog, which can be part of your website, to provide your readers with helpful tidbits about a topic in which you’re are well-versed. (Cave Art Press has the Five-Minute Writing Tip, which is sent in our newsletter.)
4. Build a social network on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Goodreads, etc. (Facebook and Twitter are used most often. Facebook is your very own group and Twitter is more universal.)
5. Volunteer when you attend a conference. (When I presented at the Sherlock Holmes conference in Seattle a couple of years ago, I volunteered a few hours during that weekend. This gave me additional opportunities to meet people and talk about my books.)
6. Schedule public speaking engagements. Beth calls this “getting on the platform.” (Nowadays, authors must do more than arrange for book signings at book stores. Great venues for talking about your book are libraries, community organizations, conferences, book shows, or any locations associated with your book. For example, if your book has an environmental focus, contact nature centers, wildlife organizations, and museums. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in public. If it terrifies you, start with more intimate settings, like a book group, especially one that’s read your book. A book-launch party is also an informal way of promoting. Think of it as a cocktail party with your book as the main topic of conversation. Organize a panel with other authors so you’re not alone. Toast Masters helps you learn to develop speaking skills with positive feedback. But really, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Start with the tools you’re most comfortable with and build momentum as you gain confidence.
To learn more, please visit Beth’s website.
Kathleen Kaska and Cissy Miller, Marketing Directors