Yesterday, my friend and fellow Abingdon Press author Kay Marshall Strom, headed to a United Methodist Convention in Salem, OR. We were signing our books in the conventions’ Cokesbury Bookstore, but it quickly became evident that many of the people who dropped in had already read my book (it’s closing in on two years old) and were purchasing another for friends or loved ones. I took the opportunity to try a little extra networking, taking note of the conferee’s home town, letting them know I was available to come and speak to their book clubs or other church organizations.
Writing Tip for Today: I had already sent out blanket emails to a bunch of Oregon Methodist churches with my offer, which resulted in several speaking engagements for me. Yesterday’s face-to-face opportunity added value of actually meeting a person and starting a relationship, however brief or surface. Which makes me think about networking as book promotion:
- Use the Personal Touch Wherever Possible. A personal, face-to-face introduction is the best way to secure a speaking or other type of author event. You have the opportunity to not only sell your writing, but sell yourself. Things like body language, speech inflections, a smile, eye contact or a sense of humor are difficult to portray through email or a letter.
- Put Something in the Customer’s Hand. If I’d been thinking, I would’ve made some CDs with my book’s trailer and other pertinent info to give those who were interested in me as a speaker. Or at least a flyer, bookmark or something to put in their hands. As it was, a business card or a generic bookmark was the best I could do. I won’t make that mistake again.
- Use that 100-mile radius. Start with your immediate local area, and then branch out into concentric rings of potential places to sell, speak or otherwise promote your book. One hundred miles is a two-hour car trip, doable in a day. Farther than this, however and you will need to begin adding in expenses such as hotels, meals and transportation. Sell/promote to your home area within that 100 mile radius first.