Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, April 14, 2006

Marketing and the Intrepid Author

What aspect of writing, reading or life in general to address today? You see, I’m in Texas. Not really on vacation but inserting vacation into every portion of the visit I can. I’ve been writing my blogs for, playing, sleeping (mostly sleeping) and just enjoying the heck out of my family. But I did finally hit upon something.

Other authors are always asking me how I set up book tours, book signings and speaking engagements. So there you go, there’s my topic.

First: Book Tours.

These are easy. Sit down, go through your address book and see where all your friends and family live. Then check those corresponding cities with the bookstores that are available. If those two things coincide, then map out your journey. For instance, when my first book, Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light hit the market I hit the address book and I got to work. Within a week I was arranging the plans: Baltimore, MD (Uncle Mike), Morgantown, WV (‘dre (my agent)), Chicago, Il (husband’s cousins, Glen and Julie), Independence, MO (husband’s cousin, Sekeli) and to top it off, Dallas, TX (my brother, Cash) – and the plans for my book tour were done.

Now back east, there are no church bookstores in the Baltimore, MD or Morgantown, WV areas so I asked my family to set up private book reading/signing parties. How does that work? They issue invitations to a select number of people (between 20 and 40) to come meet the author, Candace E. Salima and hear a reading of a portion of her book. The floor will be opened for questions and then she will sell personally autographed copies of her new book. Everyone one of these I’ve done have been a smash hit. I’ve sold every book I’ve taken to these events.
I arrange my tours around family and friends because I am poor. I get to combine visiting and work and save money in the process.

Second: Book Signings

In order to find the church bookstores in the other cities I went to my publishers website and looked for stores in every city I was going to – found ‘em and called ‘em. What do you say? Well, something along the lines of this: "Hi, my name is Candace Salima and I’m the author of . I’ll be in your area on the 15th of June and wondered if you’d like me to come in and do a book signing for you?" That’s it! That’s as hard as it could get. They’ll either say "no" (only one has ever done that) or they’ll say "yes" and you get busy. I always call my publisher and give him the dates and places. He calls the bookstores to make sure they have the books in stock and to place any orders that are necessary. In addition, be sure to call the bookstore one week in advance to make certain everything is in place. There are lots of things you can do to prepare for a book signing, Jeff Savage addressed some of them in an earlier blog on this site.

Third: Speaking Engagements

Depending on if you want to speak at churches, schools or universities you’ll have to exert different levels of effort. For firesides, you call said family member and get their bishop’s phone name and phone number. Then you call the bishop and explain that you’ll be in the area doing a book signing and you’d love to come do a fireside in his ward. Mention the family member’s name and have your bishop’s name and phone number ready to go. This is about as difficult as it can get with firesides.

For schools and universities it’s a little more complicated. Put together a synopsis of what you will be speaking on in addition to a bio and purpose. Look on the web for the email addresses of principals in the select area you will be doing a book signing in and email them the synopsis. Follow up within the week to see if the synopsis was received and find out what you can do to expedite matters. For universities, call the general information number and explain who you are and what you’d like to do. They’ll direct you to the appropriate department.

That’s it! That’s as difficult as it gets. You simply have to reach out and make it happen.


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