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
Kathleen Kaska, Marketing Director
It’s nice to learn new things, but sometimes I ask myself, “Where the heck have I been?” For example, while trying to figure out why Facebook kept ignoring my posts the other day, I overheard my colleagues discussing the use of adjectives. (See, we are a real publishing company and we often discuss grammar. But we’re also not above discussing whether Prosecco goes better with chocolate or pizza.) As it went, using more than one adjective to describe a noun requires putting the adjectives in a specific order. So if I were to write about my sister’s dog, I would, without thinking, describe “Precious” as a cute, fluffy Pomeranian. I would not say she is a fluffy, cute Pomeranian—for the simple reason that it doesn’t sound right. After all, in their grammar bible, The Elements of Style, Strunk and White often justify grammar rules by declaring certain usage just sounding right.
Back to my office pals. After reading an article and doing a little research, I got the lowdown on correct adjectival order. General adjectives such as good, bad, ugly come first, followed by specific adjectives like polite, immoral, and foul, which in turn are followed by adjectives that describe size or number, shape, age, color, nationality, or finally material.
Here are some examples of adjectives out of order:
“A huge, orange and black bird landed on my feeder” sounds better than, an “orange and black, huge bird landed on my feeder.” In this example, size (huge) comes before color (orange and black).
“The bright, magical moon” has a romantic ring to it. “The magical, bright moon” doesn’t sound too bad, but indicates that there could also be a magical, dull moon.
“Freshly fallen, white snow makes me think of Christmas.” “Fallen freshly, white snow, etc.” makes we wonder if the writer is implying that old snow can fall. But the timing of the fallen snow is given before the color.
Now here are a couple of correct examples from fairy tales. They are so familiar we don’t think about whether the authors correctly considered the rule, although they have:
“Three [number] little [size] pigs” clearly brings to mind three small, maybe identical oinkers, just like “little red riding-hood” gives us an image of a young girl wearing a red hoodie. “Little three pigs”, and “red little riding-hood” sound so awkward that no explanation is needed.
The rule was ignored for “big, bad wolf,” but don’t try to change it because it is firmly ingrained in our literature.
Since we keep that aforementioned bottle of Prosecco in the refrigerator for toasting the issuance of new books, here’s one more example: “Cold, sparkling Prosecco is a staple in our office.” “Cold” is general opinion and “sparkling” is specific. But in either order, we’d drink it anyway.
By the way, give us your submissions because we’re eager to toast a new titles! Log-on to our website for guidelines.