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The Magic of Cross-Promotion How To Do It Frugally Style

A Retrospective of the Doings at the LA Times Festival of Books

Friday, October 23, 2009

Using This Blog to Learn More About Value-Added Promotions

Please know that this blog is inactive except during fair season. That does not mean that you won't be able to find information on how to better run a book fair booth using value-added promotions by browing through past posts. And, of course, you can also go back to your copy of The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo ) for the chapters on book fairs and other signings. Be sure to use the appendix so you don't miss any valuable tips.

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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Join the LA Times Festival of Book Excitement for 2010!

Thank you to Linda Ballou, author of Wai-Nani, for this peek at the excitement, business and buzz of the fair, the our booth and the area around our booth. We had to turn people away in 2009 so let us know if you are interested so you get first dibs on the early bird special for 2010. Contact Christina at chalexwrite@yahoo.com.





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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Promoting with Invitations, Giveaways and Media Releases

Janet Goliger is back with our booth for her second year. She is a master promoter. Here she shares with her fellow booth participants but also with others who may be signing at a book fair. Here, she says, is what she has done so far "in a nutshell."

Now is the time to promote for the 2009 L.A. Times/UCLA Festival of Books. Press releases need to be submitted to online sites now for search engines to pick them up. Once the search engines get them, they will be available for viewing almost immediately and will also run for a good year. I still find some of my old press releases when I Google my name or book title that were submitted over a year ago.

Many of these online sites are now charging a fee, however, there are still a few like 24-7pressrelease.com/ and http://free-press-release-center.info/ that are free to use.

Another great way to network is to send your fair invitation to everyone you know. In the message, ask them to forward the invitation to their friends and colleagues, post them at their place of business and maybe even make copies to give to others. I sent mine to about 60 people, many of whom are in different fields of work, and within 1 hour I received 12 responses, all positive. The point is, you’re not just letting your friends know about this, but by the time they each send them to their friends, and so on, you have literally sent out over thousands of invitations for free! And who knows? Your invitation just might get into the hands of someone who can do more for you. If you have your own Web site or blog, get it all updated now.

No matter what you do to promote your book and our book fair booth, be sure to include the names of all authors associated with our booth. The more we do this, the more publicity we all get!

Now one more tip. Go to VistaPrint.com. They offer so many FREE promotional materials that by the time your done, you only end up paying a small shipping fee. I do this once a week all the way up to the date I need them. I have already ordered free promotional post cards, door magnets, calendar magnets, posters, pens, hats, t-shirts and more, all for only minimal shipping costs.

Good luck to you all and I’ll see you at the fair!



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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books Featured Authors: Find Us in Booth 610



Signing Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26
Booth #610. It's by the food booths! Yay!

 Get a FREE book with your purchase of any book while supplies last.
 Browse books of other authors.
 Sign for Free handouts on promotion, editing and more (to be sent by e-mail).

UCLA Campus, Sat. & Sun, April 25 and 26
FREE Admission/Parking $9.
Easiest Parking at Structure 3 near Hilgard & Sunset Boulevard, Westwood (Los Angeles Area), CA.
Use the map of the on-campus event: http://www.latimes.com/extras/festivalofbooks/eventmap.html.
Look for the Authors Coop banner above booth #610.

Booth Sponsored by:
Marshall Turner's WebforAuthors.com, Red Engine Press, HowToDoItFrugally.com Series of Books for Authors, 4RVPublishing

Gift with Purchase Books Furnished by:
Leora Skolkin-Smith, Diana Raab, Philip Henderson and others.

Scheduled Authors Saturday 04/25/09
10:00 AM Loren Woodson
11:00 AM Lynn Goodwin
12:00 PM Janet Goliger
1:00 PM Marilyn Meredith
2:00 PM Anne Megowan
3:00 PM Linda Overman
4:00 PM Julie Spira
5:00 PM Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Christine Alexanians


Scheduled Authors Sunday 04/26/09
10 am Linda Ballou
11:00 AM Lynn Goodwin
12:00 PM Janet Goliger
1:00 PM Marilyn Meredith
2:00 PM Anne Megowan
3:00 PM Pamela Kelly

4:00 to 5:00 PM: Poetry readings!
Here's the breakdown:

4:00-4:15 Sona Ovasapyan
4:15-4:25 Don Kingfisher Campbell
4:25-4:35 Pardis Bagherzadeh
4:35-4:50 Carolyn Howard Johnson
4:50-5:00 Christine Alexanians



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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Display Essential To Make Books Stand Out at Fair



Once upon a time I owned a small chain of retail stores. I know how important display is to a product; we used to display our merchandise (like mini pictures) with bookstand and we sold the stands to customers to use in their homes as well. So, I've always used bookstands to display my books on, too. Here is a source for LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books participants and writers taking booths at other books fairs to use the same professional methods. If you don't already use them, you'll find details on how to do it on my Sharing with Writers blog.

Guest blogger Sue Freeman has the resource for bookstands and a few other inspiring stories to tell about how and where to sell books. She also has some ieas for their most effective use. You will see my novel, This Is the Place, displayed on a stand in the photograph. If you decide to utilize this source, please let Sue know where you found information on her product. (-:

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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Do You Put in a Book Fair Booth--Let Our Authors Help You!

Promotional Training: Your Signs

From Christine Alexanians

Here is what you'll need in terms of signs for your appearance at the Authors' Coop booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books.

There are two aspects to your signage. What you put on the table with your books and the poster for the booth. Both will be part of the display pack you will be sending to me. (I'll send you the deadline for this is another e-mail.)

Signs for your portion of the signing table

There is not much to tell you about these. They should use few words, be bright in color if possible, list any specials you want to offer and you should have some way to make them stand upright. Kinko's has easels that can be adhered to the back of poster board or any other material you choose for your signs. You may have separate easels of your own. You may choose to make them as tent cards. Keep in mind that, as an incentive, our booth provides a free book to customers who buy your books while supplies last. And, yes, we will accept copies of your books for that if you wish to contribute slightly damaged copies or whatever. (-:

Your posters for the booth

It is time to produce your posters.These get hung around the edge of the booth. They are not required. And they are a bit expensive (Between $50 to $75 at Kinko's). It is your choice to have one or not, but keep in mind that these will not be returned to you. You can retrieve them at the end of the fair, when we dismantle the booth.

This is how to do it.

~~It should be 14 inches wide and 16 inches long. (Do not reverse this. Your poster should run vertically!

~~It should be an image of your book. You can add a few words like "Award-Winning" but I strongly suggest you keep words to a minimum. Let your book cover speak for itself. You want people to be exposed to that image over and over again. If you choose to use words, they should be large. People will be reading the signs from a distance.

~~Your poster must be laminated. Kinko's can do that for you.

~~Your poster must have grommets in the UPPER two corners. These are little holes with metal around them. Like the ones your shoelaces go into. That is how we hang the posters. If your poster does not have grommets, it may not get displayed.

This poster must be sent to me on or about April 1. But, please not before.

Do not send the signs for your table display; bring them with you along with your books to sell. (More about that later.). Your package to me will include:


1. Your poster.

2. A copy of your book.

3. Your bookmarks or business cards.

4. A holder for business cards (very inexpensive at Kinko's)

5. Order forms. These include a way for people who see your book when you're not signing and want to order it from you. It should give them all the details needed to do so, including where to mail the order or how to do it on the Web. Use an order form from a catalogue as a sample if you are unsure. Be sure to tell them how you will accept payment. Check, money orders, credit cards? If you prefer orders go to your distributor or publisher? Etc. These should be about 4 x 6 inches--about index card size or a little larger. DO NOT SEND FULL SHEETS. I WILL USE THEM BUT YOUR DISPLAY SPACE WILL NOT LOOK VERY NICE IF YOU HAVE PAGES 81/2 X 11 IN IT.


REMINDER; NONE OF THESE MATERIALS WILL BE RETURNED. They will be donated to a library if you do not pick them up at 5 pm on Sunday.

DON'T OVERDO THE NUMBERS. 100 TO 250 EACH OF ORDER FORMS, BOOKMARKS AND/OR BUSINESS CARDS ARE PLENTY.

If you have suggestions to share with others, please leave them as a comment on the blog. (-:

Christine Alexanians
Author of It's Spring. It Snows, a chapbook of poetry
Website: www.christinealexanians.com
Signup for my booth at the UCLA Festival of Books
E-mail: chalexwrite@yahoo.com
Blog: http://christinealexanians.com/blog.html


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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Fair Booths on a Budget and Why a Book Fair Can Be Free Advertising


Here is a "Q&A a la Ann Landers" segment from my Sharing with Writers newsletter. It it seemed like a good chance to share what a booth at a book fair will and will not do. You'll find more on the subject in The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't.


Question from anonymous:

"Because I am a new author and have limited funds I wanted to get some idea of the success of authors selling their books. I know you can't tell me how many books I'd sell, but I just wanted a ball park answer. I will not hold you to this. How many books do authors usually bring?" She gives me information on her title and indicates that she does know that networking is an important aspect of a fair.

Answer :

Thank you for your inquiry. I hope you have done some reading on book marketing like Marilyn and Tom Ross's The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, John Kremer's 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and, of course, mine. If not, you may come to a fair with unrealistic expectations. I can’t write you another full chapter (there is one in The Frugal Book Promoter) , of course, but I thank you for giving me a chance to explain what book fairs do and do not do.

Fairs are not really about book sales at the fair. They are about branding you as an author to begin that trek toward a career in writing. So, you pick a great fair with a great booth (Note the traffic at our booth which is in a prime spot because we have had a booth for several years and worked up to one near the food court!). YOu want a booth that offers cross-promotional benefits (one where all the authors are really expected to market the booth). You promote like crazy. You use invitations and media releases, etc. to get exposure. You use the fair to get credibility because you're associated with a prestigious fair. You use the fair and all the promotion you do for it to get lots of free publicity. And, you put your finger on it: You use it to network with other authors and with the people who come by the booth. And to learn. And, yes, you will sell some books.

I know that is not really what you asked but I feel I must preface with that. Keep in mind that your readers and prospective readers will be impressed that you are signing at the fair. Few have any idea that there is a difference between signing in the booth and being the star of the entire fair.

As to your numbers question: I have seen writers sell as few as two books (it was one that cost $49.95 and the author sent out no invitations or media releases--though she did get asked to be on a radio show when she was in the booth). I have seen others who sell upwards of 40 in an hour and have lines waiting for them to sign and author Raff Ellis recently wrote to say he had sold as many as 60.

Here are the influencing factors:

~New books sell better than ones that have been around a long time and that the author has exhausted her personal contacts for sales.
~Generally speaking nonfiction how-to type books sell better than some other kinds.
~Those who market and publicize will sell more books than those who don't. (Don't forget Christine Alexanians and I provide templates for these promotions when people participate in our booth at the UCLA Festival of Books--we don’t just turn you loose and say “Do it”).
~Authors who have developed person-to-person sales skills sell their books better than those who are shy.
~Authors who use a great book fair as one aspect of an ongoing promotion campaign do better than those who just try a book fair, then something else a few months later. The secret is to make it part of an overall branding campaign.
~Authors who sign at book stores in cities or towns where they already have lots of relatives, friends or business contacts sell more books than those who jump into a new pond, though there is a certain value to developing new contacts in a new area!

Most of us authors have limited funds. And those that do have a lot of money still should not spend huge amounts on a campaign. There is never a guarantee that any advertising or marketing expense will break you even or make you money and that is true in ALL advertising campaigns. There are just so many variables.

These are all reasons why a coop booth works better than going it on your own (these booths--unlike some small book fairs--are very expensive!) and why a booth at a respected and well-attended fair (in a highly-trafficked area) is more effective than most other booth situations. See some of the other benefits of our booth on this blog. Just scroll down for the most recent entries.

I hope this isn't more than you wanted to know or is confusing because there is so much. I do urge you again to read a good book on book promotion--mine or someone else's. That will help you pick and choose the best possible promotions for your personality and your pocketbook. And do know that you will have to spend some money, of course, but that you can run a really good campaign on a very small budget.

And last, here is my history and the numbers of books I bring to fairs:

~Poetry and short story collections first year, I brought 10. I was lucky to sell three. But I got other poetry readings every time. Places I didn’t know about before the fair.

~First release nonfiction how-to: I brough about 40 to 60. Over the years, probably 25 is an average sales number. After the book has been out awhile, I bring 20. And at the point sales can be very erratic.

~My novel This Is the Place: First year I sold about 20 and after that anywhere from 2 to 6. At a book fair in Utah where I spoke and sold books, I sold about 55. That was becasue I both had a group of supporters there (I was raised there), because I spoke (not just signed), and because the book is set in Salt Lake City.

This year I'll be introducing a how-to book in an entirely new area, business/retailing. I am just as curious as you are about your book to know how it will do. (-: And I'm always hoping for one lucky break. A catalog or corporate sale. A teacher who wants to recommend my book for his UCLA class. And at the fair in Los Angeles, maybe even a director or producer.

The more important fact is that because of continued promotion, my writing career is thriving and I don't spend much and I'm really loving it.

Now, here’s the kicker. If you can break even, you’ve figured out a way to advertise free and get more marketing education (from Christine and me) in the process.

For cost, participation details, and benefits of a cross-promotional booth like this, please see the next entry in this blog. You'll also find a picture of booth-doings there. To participate send an e-mail to Christine Alexanians at chalexwrite @ yahoo.com. She will invoice you for PayPal or give you an address to send a check. Please put "LA Times Fair" in the subject line and please let her know whether you would like to sign one or two days so she will know how to bill you.

Sorry but all display-only slots are sold out. We have only signing positions available.

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Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Learn more at Carolyn's website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Her blogs are also content-laden:
www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:
www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

And the New Book Review is at your service: www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com. (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)