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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Expo Tips

I know a great many of you like to attend Expos and book fairs, not just to enjoy the event itself, but also to promote your own work. It's something I'd certainly love to get the opportunity to do if they had that kind of thing, way over here in Greece, it is...all I can do is stare across the ocean in envy, stick my bottom lip out, and sulk.

Anyway, for those of you who are able to enjoy the luxury of an Expo or two, I came across an excellent little article on the Writers Network, that you might find useful. It was written by a guy called, Ron Knight, who made some excellent suggestions as to what we could all do to make our work stand out that little bit more, and especially if you actually get to attend these events.
Here it is...see what you think.
I just attended a book fair in Venice, Florida that had 56 authors selling their books. Here are some things I noticed:
1~ About 20% of the authors were sitting. The problem with that is it makes the author look like they aren’t passionate about sharing their story. Of those 20%, only half stood up when I spoke to them. This is a big mistake if you want to sell books.
TIP: It can be exhausting, but you must stand and greet each potential reader. You only have a few seconds to make an impression.
2~ Only 2 authors stood in front of their table, rather than behind the table. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that I spent a few extra minutes listening to those 2 authors pitch their books.
TIP: Standing to the front/left or front/right of the table shows confidence in what you’re doing and you will engage in more conversations.
3~ Only 50% of the authors had either a bookmark, or business card with their contact information. Of those, 20% had cheap looking bookmarks or business cards that they obviously copied off their printer and cut out.
TIP: Most people will collect bookmarks and decide later on which books to purchase. This is essential for every author to have. Of those that had bookmarks or business cards, only 20% provided an email address. For some reason authors aren’t including their email addresses, but I’m not sure why.
TIP: You never know who will be stopping at your table. It’s important to have all of your contact information provided on a professional bookmark, or business card, which includes all of your links AND your email address.
4~ Only 2 authors provided an extra activity to do at their table.
TIP: If you provide some sort of simple game where you can win a free prize, this will build a crowd around your table and keep people near you longer.
5~ Only 1 author gave away a free pencil. (On that pencil was their book title and website.)
TIP: If you give away a pencil, or some sort of small prize, it will be a promotion that lasts even longer than a bookmark.
6~ Only 10% of authors pitched me on their books in less than 25 words.
TIP: The most difficult thing for authors to do is pitch their novel in one sentence, but it’s critical to have that pitch ready. Perhaps you can pitch your book the same as the film industry pitches a new movie. “My book is like Die Hard on a bus!” Or, “My book is Blade Runner meets Field of Dreams.”
7~ ZERO authors gave away an excerpt of their book.
TIP: Even if you sat down behind your table, didn’t give away bookmarks or business cards, didn’t provide an extra activity or handout free items, or didn’t pitch your book, there is one slam dunk way to get anyone excited about your story…give them an example.
Professional Excerpt Tips:
8~ On the top left corner provide a black and white photo of your book cover, or some sort of image that relates to your book.
9~ Provide the first chapter of your book, or whatever fits on a 9×11 sheet. On the back, (Or if you have room on the bottom front page) provide your links and email address.
Your story is amazing, so people will purchase your book before leaving the event, or purchase your book using one of your links. There’s no better pitch than your writing.
Bonus: Spend a little extra money and printout another sheet that provides 10 tips that benefit your target readers. Staple that tip-sheet to your excerpt.
For example, if you write teen books, provide 10 tips on how to survive high school. If you write inspirational books, provide 10 tips on starting off the day with a positive attitude.
10~ Zero authors sold something other than their book.
TIP: The book fair was outside in Venice, Florida. If an author sold waters for a dollar, they would have made a killing. Also, authors should sell wristbands for a buck that have the title of their book, or a catchy phrase based on their story.
Your book is the gateway to all kinds of success, but it starts with YOU…
Ron Knight
I don't know about you, but I found some of Ron's advice intriguing. I've done small publicity events here in Greece...and I don't know if it was the informality of the affair that helped...but thankfully, I naturally did some of what he suggested. I stood round on the other side of the desk. I socialized. Had a little competition, had cards and flyers made, etc.
But other aspects?
Having a one sentence blurb prepared? Fantastic!
Having excerpts of your book - or even a print out of your 1st chapter? Canny idea!
Other little gimmicks with the title or the emblem of your book?
Look at this.
My regular readers will know what these two symbols represent. Imagine if I had then transposed - as he suggested - onto wristbands, magnets, pens etc. Simple and effective.
I think I'm going to start doing this...and tell you how it goes. :)
That's all for now. I hope YOU found something within this item that might prove useful.
Until the next time, have a great day...

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