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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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How do Book Fairs Stack Up? Q&A A La Ann Landers

Question: I have so many expenses and so little money. Do you think [a book fair] would be a good investment or should I save my money for mailing, like to libraries or indie bookstores?

Carolyn's Answer: Try, as THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER suggests, not to use your money for promotion that can be done as well or even almost as well online. Use Google to the max. Glean the e-mail addresses from indie bookstores and libraries and send out your releases (both the release about your book's release and about your author-appearance at this--or any other--fair) by e-mail.

Question: Also, I get a better discount on my first order of books than thereafter and I was thinking I should buy as many as possible [with the money I have available].

Carolyn Answers: Buying books at a greater discount works pretty well but not if it leaves you without the funds you need for other important promotion. Promotion first. You won't sell the books you buy if you don't promote.

Question: There are also so may places to spend money in marketing -- like buying adwords and keywords.

Carolyn Answers: You can do something similar to Adwords without spending money. It's only similar but will work until you have some cash flow going for your book. Use the features on Amazon. The keywords feature. The help search feature. Listmania. So You'd Like Tos... Amazon is where readers hang out anyway. So read the chapters on that in your THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER and spend some time exploring the Amazon possibilities.

Question: Where do you think the book fair stands among all these things?

Carolyn Answers: That's a tough question. I do know that book fairs only work as well as you work them. That is true of any kind of promotion, professional organization, etc. Unless you're going to get that media release written and disseminated using the list on the Resources for Writers page my site, unless you're going to use your list serve groups (like our private (a group of those who have taken my classes at UCLA) to let people know you'll be at the fair, unless you send your friends and contacts invitations to tell them you'll be there, etc. etc., it won't work at all. I've seen authors who do all these things, do really, really well (maybe sell 20 or 30 books and make important contacts to boot!). People who don't are lucky to sell 2 books. it's all about promoton, truly.

So, the choice is yours but I wouldn't be spending money to do by mail what you can do free by e-mail! (-: That's for sure!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Questions Submitted by Alexa Wolf, author

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Come Sign and Cross-Promote in West Hollywood

Dear Authors' Coalition Members and Future AC Members:

It is time to sign up for a signing spot for the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 30, 2007. Some of you may already be set to display at the fair because you qualified for that when you chose to participate in both the catalog and the CD program at the LA Times Festival of Books in April. If you wish to sign as well, there will be an additional charge. This is what the guidelines said on that when I put out the call last year.

"This year we are combining the offer with an opportunity to also exhibit at the West Hollywood Book Fair in September of 2007 Frequency, after all, is the golden guideline for great promotion.

"This year you can have your book displayed F R^ E ^E. by participating in other value-added promotions (both the CD effort and the Catalog) associated with the fair."

So, for those who want to sign in West Hollywood on Sept. 30 (a one day fair only), this is what you need to do.

1. Contact Pat Avery and determine with her how you would like to pay (Paypal or check.) Pat is a director of Authors' Coalition. Contact me at for directions on how to reach her.
2. Participation will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. There are only 12 signing spots. Several of you have already told me you would like to sign.
3. Signing segments are for one hour (realistically 50 minutes to allow set up and break-down time). There will be two authors at the signing table at once. The cost is $80 for one hour if you are NOT an AC member (and that includes a silver membership) or $60 for an hour if you are already a member (all those who participated in the last booth are members).
4. All those who sign for this fair will get display space as per the LA Times booth at no charge.
5. The slide show that many of you participated in for the LA Times fair will be shown in this booth at no additional charge. Many of you also participated in CDs. We will distribute more of those as well, also at no extra charge.
6. Any unsold signing spaces will be offered to authors outside Authors' Coalition on July 1, 2007.
7. All signing authors and those who display are not encouraged but actually expected to promote. This is why our booths work better than others and better than going it alone. It is called cross-promotion. We will consider that if you participate in our AC/RedEnginePress booth, you will send out media releases, invite Southern California booksellers and librarians and utilize your personal list of anyone you know who lives anywhere from the Mexican border to San Francisco to the fair. Why such a large area? Because you might be surprised who comes and even if your contacts don't come, it gives you one more valid reason to contact them. In promotion and branding, frequency counts and your being an active author is good branding.
7. After the unfortunate malfunction of our blog during the last fair, we will have one that works for sharing ideas this time. This is it! Please feel free to share ideas and learn, members of AC or not, participants in our booths or not.

If you have questions regarding this e-mail, please post here and I will answer. We will all benefit from having all questions public--yes, even when I boo-boo. Part of the value of working with Authors' Coalition and this booth is what we learn from one another, both our mistakes and our successes. (-:

Directors of Authors' Coalition are Pat McGrath Avery and Joyce Faulkner.

Very best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Founder Authors Coalition