Doing What Works

Guest post by Jeff Rivera

I’ve been at the indie publishing game before it became fashionable and long before Amazon’s KDP service became available. That is how I eventually landed my deal with Grand Central Publishing. I wrote an indie book and did so well with it that they became interested.

Since then, it’s been over ten years, I’ve been able test out good ideas and bad ideas to see what has worked for me. I’ve had some ideas skyrocketed my sales and other ideas that were so bad that I cringe at the aftermath.  So, if I were to give advice to new indie authors or authors who just want to see an increase in sales, then I would recommend the following:

1) Make a list of every little thing you’ve done that has actually led to direct sales. Buzz and excitement about your book are not sales.  Don’t think about promotion, think about what has led to sales.  Do that, and only that.  Leave the other stuff and anything you want to experiment with aside for now, until you’re making enough that you can afford the time.

2) Focus only on your audience, not the world.  The more specific you are, the better. Don’t just write a book for moms, but rather a book for moms 34-43 who live in Wisconsin and love One Direction. Once you’ve done that, it’s very easy to find out where they are through blog searches, Facebook Graphs, Twitter feeds, etc. Within seconds, you can find out whom those people are and start making an excel list of who they are. 

3) Stop pushing your book on people. If you’ve identified who your potential readers are, all you have to do is be nice to people.  Treat them like a human being not a potential sale and eventually, on their own time, they’ll discover you. They will search your Twitter profile or website from your email signature or your Facebook feed and discover that you’re an author.  It’s non-direct marketing and more accurately, relationship building. These efforts won’t bring you overnight sales, but it will bring you long term relationships and opportunities that you never thought you’d have.

 

 

 

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Promoting My Books Effectively

Guest Blog By: Mandy Eve-Barnett – Author, Ockleberries to the Rescue

The most successful technique I have found for promoting my books is through local events, such as book fairs and community hosted events. With the ability to display my books and interact with potential purchasers, I can effectively promote my stories and engage visitors at my table.

To draw people to my table, I create themed displays for each book. This catches their eye and draws them in. For example for my upcoming children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, I have small animal characters reflecting the ones in the story and for my work in progress, Willow Tree Tears (a western romance) I have already purchased a couple of items, including a cowboy boot ornament.

The other method, I employ is a colouring competition for my children’s book, Rumble’s First Scare, which is Halloween themed. Each year, I promote the competition and that year’s special prizes on social media, through my publisher’s website and at events. The winners are presented with their prizes at an annual October book fair, just before Halloween. As my second children’s book will be launched at the same event this year, I will be adding a colouring competition for it to run during the spring. This will give me two avenues for promotion during the year for these children’s books.

Although I am extremely active on social media, I have found the personal touch is the most enjoyable and effective method for selling my books.

Mandy Eve-Barnett is the author of Ockleberries to the Rescue, Rumbles First Scare, The Writing Prompt Journey, Life in Slake Patch, The Twesome Loop, and The Rythom Kingdom.

 

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Helping Us All

Guest post by Cassie Stocks

There are times when things become overwhelming for each of us, times when sickness seems to be who we are, rather than something we have, times when caring for others leaves us nothing for ourselves.

The Rainbow Society of Alberta grants wishes to children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. I once worked with a young woman who had been granted a wish by a similar charity. The wish was granted when she was nine. Ten years later, when I first met her, it was one of the first things she told me about herself. It was something that had made her feel special and was far more important to her than her illness. Sometimes it takes something big, something we long for, to allow us to forget the unpleasant things in our lives.

The Alberta Caregiver’s Association supports those who are taking care of others. While I haven’t had direct contact with this Association, I have seen many examples where it might have been useful; the elderly taking care of elderly spouses with Alzheimer’s, parents whose lives have been subsumed with caring for their disabled children, even siblings caring for a brother or sister. We are better able to care for others when we feel supported and strong ourselves.

Charities such as The Alberta Caregiver’s Association and The Rainbow Society of Alberta help individuals, their families, and their communities. We all benefit from supporting them.


Cassie Stocks

Cassie Stocks is the author of Dance, Gladys, Dance, her first novel and winner of the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.

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Successful Book Marketing Requires “Off the Bookshelf” Thinking

Guest Blog By: Rick Lauber – Author, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians

How does an author sell his/her work? Through bookstores, of course; however, the most successful authors also use other creative avenues to market themselves. Following my own book’s publication, I quickly learned that I could not rely on bookstores alone to generate sales. Authors must become their book’s primary promoters and can pursue various opportunities as a means to introduce and showcase their book(s) to readers. Among the many effective methods to boost book sales are bookstore signings.

Bookstores are prime spots for author appearances and bookstore management has never turned me away. Visiting authors can generate some “buzz”. Call the bookstore well in advance, politely introduce yourself as an author and ask about upcoming signing dates. If the bookstore carries your book, allow them time to order sufficient stock. Self-published authors will need to supply their own books (or “car stock”) to sell on consignment (where the bookstore will take a percentage of sales).

A table and chair will be provided, but authors can’t just show up empty-handed for a signing! Pack along a tablecloth, business cards, sharpies (excellent for signing …), bookmarks, and a “table-topper” of some kind to attract attention and serve as a conversation starter. My “table-topper” is a stand-up banner, which rolls out and hangs from its own stand. I’ve also photocopied numerous newspaper/magazine articles either written by me or about me to offer as hand-outs.

When doing bookstore signings, smile, be enthusiastic and focus on your job (turn off your cell phone). Also, be prepared for anything. Yes, I hear many of the same questions from customers, but I have found that other doors can open. During one outing, I met the Home Care Manager for a chain of local drugstores. Following some conversation, she accepted a number of my books to sell on consignment through each of her store locations – an unexpected but pleasant surprise!

Rick Lauber is the Edmonton-based author of Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians (Self-Counsel Press). Please visit www.caregiversguideforcanadians.com.

 

 

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Readers Connecting to Authors

As authors obviously know, you write a book and get it published. The challenge is finding your audience and building your reviews. You have several options when searching for reviewers. You can search out reviewers via blogs, social media or print.

While planning my own marketing and promotional tour I came across Story Cartel. You need readers to connect with authors. For a fee of $30, you submit your book to Story Cartel and if approved, it is available for download for 20 days. The readers get the book for free but must share their email and post a review. They are also entered to win one of 3 $10 Amazon gift cards provided by the author.

While the reviews have been positive, I decided to try such a promotion to see for myself if a site can help connect with readers.

Searching for Normal: A Memoir was launched this week and is available until September 27, 2014 for free download and review.

 

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Alberta Caregivers Association – A Helping Hand for Helping Hands

Guest post by Rick Lauber

We don’t always think about those who help others requiring help themselves. Caregivers – or those who help tend to the needs of aging parents, friends, spouses or partners – certainly fall into this category. As a former co-caregiver for both of my senior parents (Mom had Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease), I know full well that caregiving can become an all-encompassing task … one is kept running day and night with everything that needs to be done. It is imperative that caregivers find and utilize outside help themselves – this is not a job to tackle independently.

With completely focusing their time, energy and resources on a loved one, it is little surprise that caregivers often overlook their own needs. Caregivers will easily ignore signs of frustration and/or exhaustion (just two of the symptoms experienced by caregivers) and keep going.

Just one important resource – specifically for the caregiver – is the Alberta Caregivers Association (ACGA) which offers numerous programs of value. These include Compass for the Caregiver, numerous Community Caregiving groups, Caregiver Information Sessions, an in-house Caregiver Advisor and so on. Through these programs, caregivers can learn, share and take respite from their significant work. It is also important to state that many of the ACGA’s office staff and Board of Directors’ members are, or have been, caregivers themselves so they will truly understand what others are enduring. With the essential work the ACGA continues to do with caregivers throughout our province, we thought it was only fitting to recognize and support them in return as one of our two selected charities with this year’s book sale and silent auction.

To learn more about the ACGA, please visit http://www.albertacaregivers.org/about.


Rick Lauber

Rick Lauber is the author of Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians (published by Self-Counsel Press and now in its second edition). Rick’s book is a valuable tool for prospective, new and current caregivers alike; it discusses relevant issues for caregivers, explains what to expect and recommends resources. Rick is also an established freelance writer; his work has appeared in Canadian Living, EverythingZoomer.com, Edmontonians, The Edmonton Senior, The Caregiver Space and The Edmonton Journal. For more about Rick’s book, please visit www.caregiversguideforcanadians.com.

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Disneyland Proves to Be My Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Most children have a lifetime to live and grow to build their wishes and achieve all their dreams. Some children’s dreams, regrettably, come with an expiry date due to a chronic or life-threatening illness. Those children do not have the luxury of time to build the connections or to save the money required to achieve those dreams. The Rainbow Society of Alberta is dedicated to fulfilling wishes of Alberta children who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses. In fact, it is their focus to include such children that sets them apart from other wish granting charities.

Children’s wishes can range from riding a horse, visiting Disneyland, swimming with dolphins and/or meeting a special hero/heroine in their eyes. All of these wishes come with a challenge of making the right connections and securing funding.

Selfishly, I chose The Rainbow Society as my charity as they granted me a wish when I was a child. My hope was to travel to Disneyland – a magical place where doctors, medical tests and the never-ending uncertainty seemed miles away. My family and I were granted the wish and, to this day, I still carry the memories with me. When we came home I felt as if no matter what happened, my body and spirit had been provided a burst of energy and hope. The trip gave me, my Mom, and my Aunt, who lives a province away, a chance to bond without our daily life routines. My memories are even more special now as my mother has dementia and is unable to recall all our time together.

The Rainbow Society’s team needs your help to build the connections and make each child’s dream come true. This is the other special charity for this year’s Authors for Altruism Book Sale and Silent Auction.

For more information on the Rainbow Society of Alberta, please visit http://www.rainbowsociety.ab.ca/

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2nd Authors for Altruism Charity Book Sale & Silent Auction!

Meet and mingle with local authors, support two worthwhile charities and get a head start on your Christmas shopping!

Announcing the second annual Authors for Altruism Charity Book Sale & Silent Auction! Save the date of Saturday, November 08th, 2014 (noon – 4:00 p.m.) and note our new venue – Expressionz Café (located at 9938 – 70th Ave., Edmonton).
A percentage of book sales along with all proceeds from our accompanying Silent Auction, will be donated directly to The Rainbow Society of Alberta along with The Alberta Caregivers Association. Despite a few speed bumps encountered last year, we were very pleased to raise approximately $700.00 – a pretty good day’s work!

Participating authors from last year, along with several new writers, have stepped forward to express interest in joining us this year. Here’s who we have confirmed (so far …):

Cassie Stocks
Dance, Gladys, Dance
Winner of the 2013 Leacock Medal for Humour

Rick Lauber
Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians (now available in its second edition)

Alison Neuman
Ice Rose – A Young Adult Spy Novel, Searching for Normal: A Memoir, Don’t EAT Family (also available in French translation – On Ne Manage Pas La Famille).

Halli Lilburn
Shifters, Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman and other steampunk tales

Jennifer Snow
The Trouble with Mistletoe, What a Girl Wants, Falling for Leigh

Laini Giles
Love Lies Bleeding

Alison Clarke
Eli Goes to the Moon, The Women

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Don’t Eat Family & On Ne Manage Pas La Famille Book Launch

On Sunday, Don’t Eat Family and On Ne Mange Pas La Famille was launched at Audreys Books. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate.

Special thanks to Audreys Books Ltd., Cookie Love (for some delicious gluten-free cookies), Roxanne Ulanicki (our wonderful MC), Aneta Staniszewski (super talented face painter), Katherine Restoueix (for baking sugar, shortbread and oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies), and Linda from Dream Write Publishing for her support and the wonderful pictures.

Don’t Eat Family and On Ne Manage Pas La Famille can be purchased on Amazon, Dream Write Publications and in Edmonton, at Audreys Books Ltd.

Alison and Katherine - book signing

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Book Launch / Lancement du Livre

Don't Eat Family Book Launch One Ne Mange Pas Lancement du Livre
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