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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, November 27, 2007

Q&A: What If Your Book Won't Be Ready?



I thought I'd seek your guidance on this. My next book, Months and Seasons, will be published on June 14, 2008 in a special presentation at the Beverly Hills library. Hence, I won't have books to sell in April. Still, I'll be promoting it at that point. I'll have sent galleys out to reviewers before that date. How might I use what you offer?

Chris Meeks, author of The Middle-Aged Man and Sea and other books


Very good question, Chris.

I would do the catalog that goes out to booksellers and press. You have access to it to print up your own and repeat that later. You benefit from doing it this way because:

1. It is less expensive than sending out a mailing on your own.
2. Your book is associated with an organization rather than looking like only one of the hundreds of thousands of subsidy-published books.
3. The cross promotional aspect of many authors using the catalog afterward (in media kits, to follow-up with the same or other booksellers, to give out at events, etc.) can also be useful if we have an active group participating.
4. Because participants give us the names and addresses of bookstores in their area and bookstores they work with (including contact names and e-mail addresses), this becomes a targeted list. If they follow up with a phone call to the 25 or more bookstores they submit, that gives them a chance to do that frequency thing I always suggest. (-:

I also like both the CD and the slide show for both of the above reasons. If you do the CD, you get the slide show for only $30 more dollars. I don't believe you are a member of AC, but with that fee comes some other perks and associations that can't hurt either. Check out the membership page at

Having said that, here's another idea. You could also do a "meet and greet." Send invitations to press and contacts. Promise them excerpts (of course, if you do the CD that would have an excerpt on it, too!) and sign them. We give away books with any sale and we could do the same with people who came by for your white paper/booklet/handout--whatever format you wanted. You would be a test on this. We have nevery done anything like it. But with your contacts at UCLA, etc., I should think it could be very successful.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Award-Winning Podcast Covers Book Fairs, Book Tours

Irene Watson, pocast host and editor of AuthorSuccess says of the new podcast interviews in her series:

"... I have no doubt this episode [of podcasts] will go on to be
forever in our Top 10 list. Congratulations on a great show!

Here is her invitation to listen:
Visit with the creative force behind the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for writers. Carolyn shared her best tips and strategies for low-cost/zero-cost marketing campaigns and also talked about what NOT to do to market your books. She also talks about the value of editing and how it directly controls how your proposals, books, and marketing are peceived in the marketplace. Listen to the interview on Authors Access(visit link and click on the PODCAST button). Tune in each week as Irene and Victor interview industry luminaries on marketing, writing, editing, and publishing by subscribing to the RSS feed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Come Join Us as a Participating Author! LA Times Festival of Books

The following is the 2008 program:

You are invited to participate in our next LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books booth--the one April 26 and 27 of 2008--or any of the value-added programs aligned with the fair. The book-signing portion of the fair required that you attend, the others do not.

(For pictures of the 2007 booth taken by Janet Goliger, one of our 2007 participating authors, go to

Authors' Coalition will again be sponsoring a double booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books booth on April 26 and 27 of 2008. As many of you know from this blog that focuses on making a hum-drum fair into a sizzling success and from past experience, we make changes every year based on what we learned the year before and the year before that (see other entries).

Last year we opened the fair booth to authors who live outside the LA area. That worked very well. Such participation includes the catalog, the slide show, and the CD offering. Those of you without travel budgets may like to know that we will have booths at other venues throughout the USA and throughout the year including Veteran's Week in Branson, MO.

Other advantages Authors' Coalition booths offer:

1. ongoing education in the operation and promotion of the booth
2. value-added promotions designed to draw readers to our booth including
the slide show, CDs, catalog for booksellers and media, and the free
gifts with purchase program designed to entice people to buy (Kind of
like the Estee Lauder gift with purchase at your local Macy's (-: )
3. cross promotion of many authors rather than of only a few
4. excellent location at the fair
5. association with a recognized name and with other authors with recognized
6. a stable booth position/location with an established history among
return visitors to the fair
7. a booth with double the usual frontage of most
8. assorted ways to participate, some available to authors who don't live in
the area
9. a limited number of books accepted to increase visibility (see below for
10. display of your book (those who are signing) for the full two days
11. display of your poster for the full two days
12. exposure on Authors' Coalition blogs (see details below)
13. your book listed on an Amazon Listmania
14. the credibility being associated with a well-planned booth


Books on display will be shown on a bookstand, not tossed into a bin with hundreds of others. There is room near each participant's book to have a flier 4 x 5 3/4 and, to give away bookmarks or business cards--any two of the three. Each author may also supply laminated signs with grommets to be hung around the perimeter of the booth. Note: We are not offering display to anyone not signing this year. All books on display will be those of signing authors.
Other Perks and guidelines:

You may have your book featured FREE in our CD with the participation in our value-added catalog and slide show. (see details below).
You participation in signing and display, includes an ad on the Authors' Coalition website at no additional charge. For those participating in the catalog, slideshow and CD, your ad will be placed on other pages of the site as space allows.

No books will be sold out of the booth except by signing authors.

This fair-focused blog is open to all. That further exposes our participants' books. We use the blog as a kind of journal of our experiences and the blog comments as a way to share promotion ideas and ask questions. It is an ideal way to keep a record but also to share with other writers who might be planning a fair booth elsewhere.
We also offer a free review blog ( where I post authors' favorite reviews (with permission from the reviewer).


Local authors or authors willing to travel may purchase one hour segments of signing time. Signings will be posted in the booth (Sorry, but the LA Times Festival of Books administration does not provide a way to list multiple authors in the brochures, etc. that the LA Times sends out. Thus signing authors will be responsible for their own promotions including media releases and invitations to drive traffic to their signing. In fact, for everyone to benefit we will ask for a pledge that each of them will do so.)

One hour signing segments cost $140 for the first and $100 for a second hour. The fee includes display in the booth for the full two days. If you choose to sign, we strongly recommend that participants consider the stands and banners we tested last year to make their signing times a standout. (Information on these amazingly-effective stands to come and at ) All signing positions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. We have had authors with books traditionally published as well as subsidy- and self-published. We only ask that no one with pornographic material apply because we are located near the children's section and sometimes have children's authors as signers. Those who are not members of Authors' Coalition will be asked to join at the Silver Membership level, $20. Participants whose memberships come due in April will be given a 50% discount for their next year's dues. ($10 in addition to the signing fee.)
Training: It is our policy to supply ideas for book fair promotion as well as to lead our participants through the process. We begin early. Many find this an educational experience equivalent to taking an expensive class in promotion.

Gift with Purchase: We supply books to give away free with purchase of books (while supplies last) from those signing. This does not cost anything additional. We will be pleased to accept books in quantity as giveaways for this purpose--from participants and other authors as well. We know donating books is a wonderful way to utilize damaged books, overstock, etc. Books in the hands of readers bear more fruit than books stowed in a closet. (-:.

Disposal of Fair Materials: Books and promotion materials will not be returned. Display books will be donated to a library after the fair.
Other terms: Because of the training process and because we must pay our expenses early, fees must be paid upon signing and cannot be refunded. There are also no refunds for natural or unnatural disasters and, yes, that includes rain.
An author must participate in the signing segment to actually sell books. They sell their own books in our booth only during their signing time and handle their own sales (or bring an assistant to do that for them.)


Based on last year's success, we are offering a catalog again this year. This is a cross-promotional effort . Those who participate are expected to contribute names of bookstores in their area and to follow up with phone calls to the book buyers after the catalog goes out. That's what makes this super-successful, the personal contact with the buyers who then pay special attention to the catalog so that all participants -- regardless of the area they live in -- benefit. Participants also benefit from their name being associated with a prestigious fair. Prices are:

1/8 page: $125
1/4 page: $250
1/2 page: $500
Full page: $1000.
Nonmembers of Authors' Coalition or those not participating in the full program, please add $20 to cover your membership.

These prices include:

ad set up (layout),
ad space
postage to book buyers and press contacts.
pdf copy of the booklet that each participant may produce (print) on their own to use at their own events throughout the year. the right to print and send copies of this catalog for other purposes as long as you do not make changes in the catalog

You can see how this cross promotion could snowball. We only ask that no changes be made to the catalog and that it be given away, not sold. If there is a demand for printing, we may also offer that service.

Catalog Details

A electronic sample catalog from last year is available on request.

Authors may participate only in this catalog or in combination with some of the others programs offered.

Those who participate in the catalog and the slide program will be included on the CD that we give out to 1,000 fair-goers at no extra charge.

The costs listed are for paid members of Authors' Coalition members. To support our sponsor, Authors¡¦ Coalition, all participants who are not members will be asked to pay $20 for a basic membership fee (or $10 renewal if they participated in last year's fair).

Participation in this catalog is limited.

This catalog will be sent out to at least 500 bookstore buyers and Los Angeles press contacts by mail.

This catalog will be circulated by e-mail to bookstores for which we have e-addresses. Participating authors will be encouraged to supply e-address as well as postal addresses.

This catalog will be circulated to bookstores personally selected by the participants as well as others.

Those who wish to list more than one book in this catalog will receive a 10% discount on the 2nd ad, 20% on the third.


Last year Joyce Faulkner, director of Authors' Coalition, produced a test slide show for LA Times Festival of Books participants. Because it was a trial is was a free perk for those who participating in some other programs. It has turned out to be an excellent opportunity for exposure wherever crowds of readers gather and especially effective on the huge Veteran's Week ( screens in Branson, MO, (attendance some 100,000) and at speaking engagement where television screens are available. Here is an opportunity to join in its future. We will be using it at every feasible venue that we will be at and participating members may choose to utilize it at their events as well. Thus, it will be seen in places you can't possibly be yourself. When you use it at your own events it will be great cross-promotion that benefits others on the slide show and well as YOU.

So, if you want to be part of the slideshow/video you may. It travels with Authors' Coalition wherever it goes and with participating members wherever they go. It shows on computer screens and big silver screens. And your investment in this promotion lasts the entire year and only gets stronger with each participant. It is available to any author, whether he or she participates as a signer at the fair.

The cost for the slide show is $100.
Included in the fee are:
the technical aspect of setup
exposure wherever the slideshow/video travels through the year
a copy for your own use at your signings, seminars, workshops, etc.
the right to use it at your own events
It's a true cross-promotion. Your book, your blurb, your URL will be featured at these events. If you choose to participate, see below.
A 50% discount applies for those who participated in 2007. Those who are not members of Authors' Coalition will be asked to join at the low Silver level ($20). Learn more about the perks that come with that membership at AC.


We are offering a promotional CD with professionally designed artwork burned into each again this year. Authors' Coalition will burn 1,000 (or more, depending on participation) to be given to visitors and the press corps at the fair. Last year's participants will be given a price break because their sections will need only minor updates. (See below under "Costs.")
Authors will be able to purchase additional CDs to send to their own press contacts or readers or to use throughout the year. I use them as give-aways where I need an entree to talk to people and as easily mailable thank you gifts to editors, reviewers, etc.. Participants will also have the right to make copies on their own at not extra charge to distribute at events as give-aways. We ask only that no changes be made to content. Therefore, each author who participates must see that this kind of cross-promotion will benefit them and be willing to let their CD partners distribute the CDs at will. In other words, participants who actively promote with the CD will continue to benefit themselves and others.
The CD ROM includes your:

book title
book cover
author biography
review of books
a story, poem or excerpt.

These CDs will include professional design on each disc.

There will be a small additional fee to cover webmaster's time for any authors who wish to include multiple books.

CD Cost

A: $200 fee includes:
1.webmaster fees
2.CDs and sleeves
3. right to produce additional CDs on your own
or to purchase additional CDs at a minimal cost of $50 for 50 CDs plus
shipping costs. (Graduated discounts available)
4.1000 CDs given to readers and media at the LA Times Fair

Those who are purchasing the slide show may be included in the CD for only an additional $30.

Those who were included on the CD in 2007 may participate in the 2008 program for only $20.

Possible venues in addition to the LA Times/UCLA Fair (attendance 135,000P your CD will be shown at are:

1. West Hollywood Book Fair
2. Southern Book Fair
3. Arkansas Book Fair
4.Branson Veteran's Week
5.The classes, seminars, workshops and other events (where facilities allow
for its effectiveness) will be presented by other participants and Carolyn
Howard-Johnson, Authors' Coalition founder, and Pat McGrath Avery and
Joyce Faulkner, Authors' Coalition directors.


To participate send an e-mail to Pat Avery at She can 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 the programs you would like to participate in so she will know how to bill you. She will then send you details for participation and answer other questions regarding this show.
Questions come to Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Put "LA Times Fair" in the subject line and them send to me at