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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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Let Your Book Work for You When You're Not in the Booth!

This question came from one of the authors who is signing in our Authors' Coalition Booth and I thought my answer might help some other authors.

Carolyn: Would you send me a sample order form – I’ve never done this, so I want to follow the template that works. Then, I’ll send the book and form to you. Thanks! Nance

Answer: Ideally this is what your order form should include:

An order form should be no bigger than an index card. It must fit in a 1 ft x 1 ft spot on a book shelf, along with your book which will be on a stand. Ideally, the order forms will be padded so that if we have a breeze, they won't blow away. There is also room for a business card or a stack of bookmarks. If you send business cards, it is nice to send an inexpensive business card holder, too. (Remember, though, nothing gets returned).

Here are my suggestions for what to put on your order form:

1. An image of your book cover (that way people to go home with a form will have a visual to help them remember your book), the title and the author's name.
2. A flattering short blurb, preferably from someone influential but "a reader" will do.
3. A URL to order (I use Amazon even though I have a website).

If you want to take care of orders yourself or send readers to your publisher you'll want information on the person who is ordering, name, address, zip (for shipping), phone (UPS requires it), and a list of accepted methods of payment.

If you accept charge cards, you'll want a space for the charge number, preferably in little blocks which force people to print the numbers legibly, and the expiration date in the same format. Also ask for the way the name appears on the card. AND, you also need an address where they should send their order.

An alternative is to send readers to your website, but that works only if you have a shopping cart.

Add anything else that is necessary. Example, if your book is not yet released, you'd want to put a disclaimer at the bottom (tiny) that says that orders will be shipped after xx,xx,xxxx.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Founder, Authors' Coalition and award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for authors.

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