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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, August 14, 2008

Early Bird Signing Opportunity for LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books

Please join the HowToDoItFrugally authors as a signing author at at the LA Times Festival of Books on the beautiful UCLA campus now and get a substantial discount!

The fair is the last weekend of April 2009. The book-signing portion of the fair requires that you attend but other value-added promotions do not. You'll hear more about those later.

This is the fifth year this booth has been available at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books to cross promote. We focus on making a humdrum fair into a sizzling success; we make changes every year based on what we learned the year before and the year before that.

Register before September 16 and receive an early bird discount for the signing slots. One hour signing segments (50 minutes to allow set up) cost $100 for the first and $80 for a second hour. After August 15, the fee will return to its regular $150 for the first and $100 for the second day. The fee includes display of your book, your order forms and your bookmark or business card and a poster for the full two days.

Last year we had our booth televised on the Internet. Rey Ybarra from Best Selling Author Television was there to cover the event. He conducted short three-minute interviews with the participating authors. The program proved to be a great success. Rey will be there with his crew again this year. (To see the 2008 video made by Rey Ybarra, go to Best Selling Author Television site at :

For benefits offered by this booth please visit or e-mail Christine Alexanians at

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
Learn more at Carolyn's website, Her blogs are also content-laden:
and a Writer's Digest Top 101 Website:

And the New Book Review is at your service: (Follow the submission guidelines in the left column!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Free Teleseminar for Genealogists, Journalists and Storytellers Everywhere!

I want to remind you that publisher Patrika Vaughn, talented Toastmaster award-winner Allyn Evans and I are teaming up to present a free teleseminar to writers who want to tell their own stories, as memoir or as fiction. Thus it is for genealogists, journalers and story tellers everywhere. It is titled "How To Write Your Life Story."

I'll share my experience turning my family's genealogy and stories into my award-winning novel This Is the Place and how I used the leftover stories from that effort in a book of creative nonfiction short stories, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered. I hope my experiences will inform those inclined to publish their stories but who need more information about how that might come to be. I even used family memories in my chapbook of poetry, Tracings.

Patrika is author of How to Write Your Own Life Story or Your Family's Saga available as a CD set. She will talk about how to turn this material into a book, covering:

1) why you should write it

2) how to go about it (even if you've never before written anything but emails)

3) how to make it interesting to others

The teleseminar will be moderated by Allyn who is also the author of Grab the Queen Power: Live Your Best Life, based on her own experiences.

Writers are invited to listen and come prepared with their questions at noon on July 12th EST . Call 1-218-936-7999. When prompted use this access code: 390175. If asked participants may need this pin number: 2823.

The teleconference will be available as a podcast afterward at :

Authors' Coalition, www.authorscoalitionandredenginepress/podcasts_&_radio.htm
The ACapella Publishing site,
Allyn Evans' site,
On Allyn's Queen Power site, .
And on Carolyn's Resources for Writers page at

Those with questions may contact Patrika at

The seminar is offered as a service to the writing community through the auspices of Authors' Coalition ( and Vaughn's publishing firm, A Cappela Publishing (

We three would love it if you could (or would!) pass this information to your fellow writers. How about your fellow critiquers and writing club members? (-:
Her other blogs include and, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.
Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Friday, May 23, 2008

AC Member Pam Kelly Sets Promotion Example for Us All

Authors' Coalition thank yous go to Pam Kelly for putting the Authors' Coalition (and my guest appearance at her class) front and center on her blog.

Her blog is a perfect place to see some shots of fair happenings at our booth (the videos with Rey Ybarra at our booth, shots with Annette Fix, (a fellow Authors' Coalition booth participant) and Book Publicists of Southern California (BPSC) leader, Irwin Zucker, plus notes on the way she used a drawing (and promoted it!) during her signing time and, of course, the beautiful set-up for her table during her signing time. Her passion shows through, of course, (She wrote Speak with Passion! Speak with Power!) but her promotion details set an example for us all.

Just a quick note on the Authors' Coalition catalog that goes out to booksellers, too. Mindy Laurence is sending copies to bookstore buyers. Both in her hometown and that of her PR client, Dr. Dan Skelton.

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Q&A a la Ann Landers: Is a Book Fair Booth Signing Worth It?

Below you'll find a question from one of our booth participants that turned into my annual report of book fair booth do's, don't's, pro's, con's and marketing secrets:

Question: It would appear, from my short stop at the tent [at the LA Times Festival of Books], that no one made enough sales to break even. If that is true, an analysis would determine if it is worthwhile.

Answer: Thank you. This is a perfect way for me to focus that fair report that I promised those who participated in our booth. Questions and answers are always better than a plain old report. (-:

I can't remember exactly when you came onto the scene in our little book fair process. I say over and over again (in my newsletter, on my website, even in my book and on this blog that fairs are NOT about book sales but about exposure. The chance to send out invitations, releases, etc. and align oneself with the name of a fair as prestigious as the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books. It is prestigious not only because of its size and its own association with names like the Times and UCLA but also because the general reader assumes that if you're signing at the fair in any capacity, that's a big deal.

I. E. book fairs are about opportunity, not sales. That is why all our AC booth participants receive e-mails from me over and over again. They include templates for releases, for fliers, for invitations and tons of stuff on the basics of marketing in general and marketing book fair appearances in particular.

Having said that, I can't think of one book promotion in the ten years I've been doing it that "pays for itself." For one thing, except for a book fair, it's rare if we know exactly how many book sales to assign to a particular effort. Even a fair can't really be measured this way. Did people go home and buy a book online, as an example? Did they do it Monday? Will they do it Wednesday after the fair? Will they do it when they see you or your title again in the newspapers or on the WEB next week?

Marketing is cumulative. Marketing is about "Persistency over time" and "frequency." Those words are my marketing mantras.

A fair is also about networking. As are many speaking engagements (where one also may sell quite a few books and sometimes, may not).

So, I think the question to be asking ourselves here is not if anyone sold enough to cover their expenses (if you count my time billed out at minimum wage, I certainly didn't and haven't for the last six years!) But instead each person who signs at a fair should ask themselves:

1. How much did you learn?

2. What would you do differently next time?

3. Did you participate in any of the value-added promotions offered by your booth planners or produce any of your own? Did you do your basic marketing? Those releases and invitations?

4. Are you using what I'm sending you after the fair for follow-up publicity. And are you assigning a value to that (not in book sales--again, that's too hard to trace -- but in what you would pay for advertising space equivalent to what you got either on the Web or in your hometown newspaper?)

5. Did you make an important contact for your future career at the fair. A publisher? Editor? Bookstore buyer? A writing club? Editor? etc.

6. Did you collect names for your contact list? That's important so that the next time you will have more people to invite.

7. Did you use your participation as a featured author in your other promotion? Your website? Your blog? Your newsletter? (It is not too late!)

In other words, did you play this fair (or any other fair or book signing or event) for all it can do for you?

For those of you who participated in the catalog only, the principles I've mentioned apply to that kind of promotion, too. Did you supply book buyers' names as asked? Are you following up with that list to talk to booksellers about the catalog? Are you sending them another catalog or media kit or sell sheet now that the catalog has been delivered? Perhaps with a handwritten note attached pointing your book out as one written by a local author.

By the way, did you know that big marketers think any campaign is HUGE if they get 7% of results. That means if they send out 100 postcards, they feel very fortunate to get responses (even nonbuying responses) on seven of them.)

So, to answer this question. Those of you who prefer to evaluate your book fair may certainly find that it didn't pay for itself. Of course, much depends on your royalty/profit margin on your books. Much will also depend on the kind of book you have. Generally, as an example, nonfiction books sell better than fiction. It's the nature of the game. That is true across the board in the world of publishing.

I saw people in our booth sell from two books to about 12 in an hour (the higher number is a guess because I obviously can't count everyone's sales when I'm busy.) And I would welcome figures from you all. I also saw many visitors ask authors for their signatures on posters, ask to pose for photos, etc., and I believe that those with signs that made passers-by immediately aware they were authors, saw more of this kind of action than others. That may not seem like a calculable benefit to some, but I sure think it adds to the fun. And those pictures can end up on Facebook, blogs and more. Especially if you had good signs and/or remembered to grab a copy of your book and hold it face out for the camera!

If enough of you volunteer to give out your sales, I will be happy to post that. I'd also like you to briefly enumerate what you did to promote your appearance before the fair.

Here are just a couple of additional items to report. We had three volunteers who handed out fliers and bookmarks and many authors brought their own volunteers who were generous about handing out materials for authors other than the author they came with. Yes, I often asked them to do that. Ha! Our books were on display individually (something few booths do) and well lighted, also a book fair booth rarity.

If any of you have anything to add to this, suggestions for next year or things I missed, please use the comment butt on this blog.

What have you found effective in the book fairs you've participated in? Please share here by using the comment link below!
Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Booth Participant Sends Valued Suggestion

This suggestions was offered from one of the authors signing at this year's Authors' Coalition booth. I have long encouraged authors to bring help but usually to run errands, help take money, etc. Maybe we need two helpers. Here is the suggestions from David H. Jones:
Hi Carolyn,

Dian and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Authors' Coalition booth on both days at the LA Times Festival of Books.

It was a delight meeting you and all of the other good folks involved
with Authors' Coalition. Thank you for having us.

One thing that was very apparent to me during my two stints at book
signing was the importance of having an assistant out front of the
booth handing out bookmarks for my book, Two Brothers: One North, One South. Dian was able to steer a number of people to the table. Almost all of them bought a book and
had it autographed.

Visitors to the Book Fair become so visually overloaded as they walk
past a multitude of interesting booths that many who would otherwise
stop, simply go by without taking notice of our presence or signage.

I highly recommend that author's bring someone to fulfill that
function during a crowded event . . . it makes all the difference in
the world.



David H. Jones
Author of Two Brothers: One North, One South

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Best Selling Author TV Offers Book Fair Participants Post-Fair Exposure

Just because a fair is done, doesn't mean the publicity has to die, too. Now, to aid those who signed at Authors' Coalition's booth with their post-fair publicity comes this great spread from Best Selling Author TV!

How might you authors use it? Link to the page Rey did for us on your website, your blogs, and let your fans know about it! Try to spot your books on display, your posters, your faces. Here's Rey's note and link! Leave a comment, please, and, for the good of your book, leave a web address with your signature!

Thank you, Rey. We'll look forward to seeing more videos!

Please click on the link to see photos and write ups for authors who participated on our Best Selling Author Television program from this years UCLA/LA Times Festival of Books!


Rey Ybarra

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books: Authors' Coop Featured Authors

Visit with these authors.

Let them sign your purchases.

Get a free book with your purchase while our supply lasts.

Come to the LA Times/UCLA Festiva of Books, Booths 610 and 611, Zone F, Near the Food Section on April 26 and 27, Saturday and Sunday!


Two per table

Please note--some authors are signing both days.

10 am Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Joyce Faulkner

11 am Fred Ephraim and Deborah Amelon

Noon Danalee Buhler and Annette Fix

1 pm Christine Alexanians and Sona Ovasapyan (both poets)

2 pm Carol Wood and David H. Jones

4 pm Rey Ybarra, video photographer


Two per table

10 am Annette Fix and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

11 am Fred Ephraim and Pam Kelly

Noon: Danalee Buhler and Barbara Crandall

1 pm : Carl Nelson and Patti Kokinos

2 pm David H. Jones

4 pm Rey Ybarra, video photographer


Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Here is your Authors' Coop Booth Signing Schedule!

This is the signing schedule for the authors who will be meeting readers and signing their books a the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books. A free book will be given with each purchase while supplies last.



10 am Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Joyce Faulkner

11 am Fred Ephraim and Deborah Amelon

Noon Danalee Buhler and Annette Fix

1 pm Christine Alexanians and Sona Ovasapyan (both poets)

2 pm Carol Wood and David H. Jones

4 pm Rey Ybarra, video photographer


Two per table

10 am Annette Fix and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

11 am Fred Ephraim and Pam Kelly

Noon: Danalee Buhler and Barbara Crandall

1 pm : Carl Nelson and Patti Kokinos

2 pm David H. Jones

4 pm Rey Ybarra, video photographer

If your name does not appear here, that means that something has gone awry with your sign-up. Please contact me. If you need to research the guidelines for the display aspect of your signing time, please go to the blog at

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stuff to Know Before the Book Fair...

...or Preparations Before the Fair.

Here is what you'll need and a few directions and helps:

Those who are signing at our booth, please take the time to read this all the way through. There is lots here that can make a difference to you. If you still have questions after reading through, highlighting, and absorbing, please ask questions on this blog by using the comment feature. That way we can ALL benefit from them. Also, everyone feel free to chime in with a comment, to exchange ideas and to give help according to your expertise. (-:

To park go to the LA Times Festival of Books website ( and look at the campus map. Park in the #3 structure, near Sunset and Hilgaard. You will find people there who will help direct you to our booths, #610and 611. Parking is $8. Follow parking directions to the letter. Tickets are expensive.

Bring your books for sale and be prepared to take extras back to the car if you have more left than what you can carry. We can't store backstock of books for everyone. There is just not enough room and we try to keep a tidy booth.

If your poster does not arrive in the mail on Friday before the fair, it most likely will not get posted. These posters go up at 6 am on Saturday morning--or before.

It is best to use something that rolls to bring your books and display material for your table.

You will need:

-Change for cash sales.
-A Visa machine set up if you take credit cards (not necessary)
-A resale license (it can be temporary). You probably won't need it but you should have one anyway.
-Decide whether you want to take checks. I do. I don't take credit cards, though. That's because I don't sell many books myself but go through wholesalers and distributors.
-A box for your money/checks, etc. I use my pockets. Not too classy but very fast.
-The signs you put out on the table for special offers, the price of your books, if you have an award and want it to be evident, etc. We provide the signs that say our customers get a free book with a purchase of a book, while supplies last.
-Stands for your books and/or other display aids like inexpensive card holders. Try Michael's or Staples.
-You may want to pack a lunch, depending on your schedule.
-Wear warm shoes in case it is cold or rains. The booths are on the grass and feet can get cold.
-Dress professionally or in a way that will market your title or brand yourself. Color works well if you want to attract the visual media. Also, you will be filmed by Rey Ybarra for Authors' Coalition videos.
-Arrive at least 15 minutes before your allotted time. There is some trade-time between authors.
-Make your reservations for your personal video with Rey Ybarra if you wish. To reserve your own special time ($99.) e-mail him at
-Plan to be at the booth each day at 4 pm for some video footage that Rey will shoot for Authors' Coalition. These videos will be available to everyone who is participating to use for promotion. You will want to be on them!
~A guest book if you wish. Keep collecting names for your contact list.
~A good signing pen. Several others for backup.

I can't be specific about how many books you will need. It depends on your title, how old the title is, how you promoted your signing beforehand, how well you relate to the crowds walking by the booth and the people who come into the booth, how expensive your book is. The free book with purchase offer will help you close a sale. Beyond that, I have seen a book priced at $50 sell two books. I have seen authors sell as many as 40 books in an hour. Bring what you think you can sell. Stow extras in your car (always a good idea). Bring a friend to help you run to the car if you need to and help in other ways. And, in the meantime, promote, promote, promote! Keep in mind,though, that this fair is HUGE. It attracts 135,000 visitors including Hollywood types.

You may also wish to take advantage of the great free seminars offered by the fair. There are dozens and some are presented by famous authors. Others are valuable panels.

You may sell your books before and after your allotted time but we do ask that you step outside of the booth to do so. Those who are signing will want to be seen and if you crowd around you will limit visiblity. You may also want to discreetly pass out fliers before your signing time and/or post them in lavatories, etc. Note the word discreetly. If you are asked to desist, do so politely.

Please plan to send out invitations if you have not already done so and e-mail reminders one or two days before your signing date. Don't forget your media releases to your local press/TV/radio. You could even call your local reporters and invite them. Even send personal invitations to them.

If you haven't heard from me, that means I do not have your materials for display. Display means the bookshelves that show your books when you are not signing. That is where we put your order forms, books, and bookmarks. You may have some of those materials on your table when you sign, of course!!

Give yourself time and a small budget to browse and to buy the books of others. If authors don't buy books, how can we expect others to buy ours?

Note that Rey and Randy (TV host and cameraman) will be in and out of the booth filming. This will attract traffic. It is up to YOU to utilize it well. I. E., strike up conversations with those standing about looking.

Also note this is a cross-promotional effort. When you have sold a book (say to someone you have invited to the fair), introduce them to your table mate and/or suggest one of the other books in the booth. When you first sit down, take a minute to learn something about your table partner. Early in the day, browse the other books on display.

Use the booth and the entire fair to network. You will be evaluating your experience not on sales but on many intangibles. Leads. Contacts. Opportunity to contact those who can help you in the future (editors, publishers, readers, etc.). Learning new promotion techniques from your fellows. I. E. fairs are opportunities for you get more exposure and to build relationships. Also keep in mind, many who don't buy your book will go straight home and buy at a discount on Amazon. I recommend that you let them. I don't think it is a good idea to sell your own work at a discount. It competes against your bookstores (not really ethical) and it diminishes the value of your work. That is one of the reasons we offer the free book with purchase.


Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

AC Catalog: Let's Get Those Book Buyers' Names Going!

It's time to submit names of the book buyers at your favorite bookstores to Joyce Faulkner.

The idea here is have the catalog go out (primarily) to bookstores that might be familiar with one or more books in the catalog. That, along with the tie-in to the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Book and with Authors' Coalition, gives book buyers a reason to pay special attention to ALL the books in the catalog.

So, participants send us names of bookstores that you are willing to contact either before the catalog comes out, after or both. Your pitch goes something like this:

"I am a local author associated with Authors' Coalition and featured at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books. You will be receiving a catalog soon in which my book, XXXX, is featured as well. I do hope you will take a look at it."

AFTER the catalog goes out, your pitch goes something like this:
"I'm hoping you received the catalog."

If the book buyer says they didn't receive it, offer to send them another copy by post (extra copies are available in groups of 25 at a small charge) or by e-mail (ask and we will send you a pdf of the catalog which you may use electronically or print out yourself). Either way, ask them if they have your book in stock. And then suggest an event/booksigning. You'll have better luck if you can offer them a workshop or seminar on a topic related to your book than if you only ask for a signing. In your pitch tout every award, every sales figure you can. Another figure that will impress them is the number of people you have on a list to invite to such an event. Don't mention it, though, if you don't have more than 500 or so.


BOOK BUYER'S NAME (IF NOT, STORE MANAGER OR EVENT DIRECTOR) This is very important. It makes the mailing more personal. Include the contact's title.)
ADDRESSCITY STATE AND ZIP CODE (We have to have the zip!!)
TELEPHONE WITH AREA CODESuggestion, copy this form, fill it out as many times as you can--hopefully 25 times--25 different bookstores. And then paste it into the e-mail window for Joyce. That way you don't forget anything! (-:

Those who have done catalogs with us before should update their information, indicate it has been checked and/or let us know in bold if any detail has changed.

Please send these names by March 27. All our time is volunteered so let's make it as easy on Joyce as we can.

Others interested in the catalogue must take care of payment and the list very quickly. Call me at 818-790-0502 if you would still like to participate. We still have about 4 ads (depending on size) that we could fill.
1/8 page: $125
1/4 page: $250
1/2 page: $500
Full page: $1000.

Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

On Marketing and Essentials Like Parking!

I'll post these notes on marketing occasionally; they may make you think of things you can do to drive traffic to your segment. In so doing, of course, you benefit the entire booth. This is a cross promotion effort! (-: The note to me is in Roman, my answers are in bold.

Last November I was invited by the UCLA Native American Studies Program to speak at their 2-hour brown bag lunch series. The bookstore brought over 8 books but sold 14, the total number of people who attended the seminar lunch. I'm sending a special invitation to the department and letting them know that I'll be on campus Saturday and Sunday and offering them a special rate, even less than the Festival rate that I'll be offering. They will send out an announcement through their internal network and I hope to have a good showing on both days. UCLA has one of the largest Native American Studies programs in the U.S. so, for my book this is great.

ANSWER: This is great, targeted marketing, Danalee. The whole booth will benefit.

Will security care that I'm walking into the festival pulling a big black suitcase full of books, etc.? Will you have some sense of the best lot to park in to be close to your booth?

ANSWER: Remind me just before to give you all very specific parking instructions but for right now, parking is $8. and lot three is closest to our booth. It is near the corner of Hilgard and Sunset (northeast corner of campus). And, trust me, security will be EXPECTING people rolling big lots of books around campus!! (-:

By the way, before I forget. Make yourself a name tag that indicates you are a signing author. If you include a satin ribbon rosette (available at Stapes or Michaels I believe) you will be a standout! If anyone would like to volunteer to do this for the entire group, I will supply names. Otherwise, you're on your own. Methinks I have me hands full. (I think that's Irish for "I'm trying really hard to keep up my steam. (-: )

Danalee Buhler

You're welcome. Let's all think of the organizations that might be interested in our books right now! And be getting a list ready to send out invitations to the members!


Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Question on Book Fair Book Sales Answered

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks again for all of your helpful emails about the festival. My book, Running From Coyote: A White Family among the Navajo, is receiving some great reviews. You can see Tony Hillerman's comment, as well as the Discovery Kirkus Review on my web site:

I have a couple of questions.

QUESTION: First, I plan to bring 40 books with me for the signing. In your experience, is that too many, too few? If I need more, I need to order them now from the publisher.

ANSWER: You'll be getting a notice on this soon. But yes, 40 would probably do it. It is a hard thing to know, however, because the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books attracts 135,000 visitors (among them directors, producers, etc) so anything can happen. So much depends on:

1. the title
2. the author (if he/she is recognized by some and if he/she has learned/knows how to relate to people walking by)
3. the amount of promotion the author has done both in general and for the signing
4. the price of the book.

Also, keep in mind that, though we would all like to sell lots of books at this fair, fairs in general are about, yep! exposure and credibility among readers. So, think sales, certainly. But keep in mind that what you are really after is to be associated with this fair (LA Times and UCLA and Authors' Coalition!) and to use it has a vehicle to contact bookstores, contact media, contact libraries, contact readers.

Let the world know that you will be featured author at the AC booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books!

QUESTION: Secondly, I have two laminated 11x17 inch "Meet the Author" posters which I plan to add an 8x11 inch author photo. I will hang these on the booth. Can I use these instead of the requested 14x16 inch poster? I will pick them up by closing on Sunday.

ANSWER: Yes, but you would need to get some grommets in them so we can string wire through them. That's how they get hung. And we do the hanging, around the top of the booth. If you want to keep one to use when you're signing (stand it on the table near your book display, as an example) that would work. One for the permanent display in the booth (hung by wire) and one for your display as you sign. )

QUESTION: I was planning on bringing my own cash box and handle my own sales. Is that how it's done? That's not a problem for me. I have some old fashion candy give-a-ways for my 1950's memoir. I will also bring my 3x4 foot Navajo rug for display on the signing table.

ANSWER: Yes, that's it exactly. Each author is in charge of his/her own little table area, his/her own book sales.

COMMENT: Finally, I will provide ten books for your give-a-way program.

RESPONSE: That the booth offers a f r e e book to people who buy books from any of the authors (while supplies last) obviously makes it possible for people to see your book even when it isn't your turn at signing. Thank you. That's a nice incentive for our readers to buy others' books and so appreciated by all. Thank you, Dana.

I will have the items listed in your last email ready to mail to you around the first of April. I look forward to meeting you.

Danalee Buhler

SUGGESTION: This blog is made available to all authors so they can learn more about planning for fairs. Go back and see what we've done in the past, how they might be applied to any fair or booth you might be planning.
Blogging by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, founder of Authors' Coalition ( Learn more at both the AC site and Carolyn's website, and her blogs:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting Ready: Signs and Posters

Training: Your Signs

Here is what you'll need in terms of signs for your appearance at the Authors' Coalition 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.

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 if you should choose to accept the assignment. (-

These posters get hung around the edge of the booth. They are not required. And they are a bit expensive. It is your choice to have one or not, but keep in mind that these will not be returned to you. You can come back to the booth as we are tearing it down to retrieve it, however.

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 strong 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.


This will be posted on our book fairs blog so you can go back and refer to it. Also, if you have suggestions to share with others, please leave them as a comment on the blog. (-:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Authors' Coop Offers Trial Videos at LA Times Fair

Big Video News!

Best Selling Author TV To Be at LA Times Festival of Books

Rey Ybarra, the interviewer for the video many of you have seen and commented on is fantastic. See what he did for me on the video in this blog. It has been an extremely effective promotion. Isn't his camerman, Randy, fantastic? You should see the professional equipment they use! And their knowledge about getting that video out to places that most authors know little about.

They will be filming at the Authors' Coalition booth at the LA Times Festival of Books April 26 and 27th with a special introductory price for videos. I'm hoping lots of authors drop by to see what he can do for them besides film a really nice video. Find him at Explore the videos he has done there. Check out his amazing past in radio and TV.

More details to come. Or e-mail me with VIDEOS in the subject line.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sample Release for AC Members Participating in our Catalog

This is a sample of how a release would look for those participating in the Authors' Coalition catalog. Please see the next blog for a sample of how the general template was adapted for one of our signing authors last year.

Contact: Jorge Lan
Phone: 727 2300568

For Immediate Release

Little Great Ones "Benjamin Franklin" featuring at LA Times Festival of Books

DATELINE (your city and state here)—"Benjamin Franklin", a biographical read-along series published by Little Great Ones, will be featured in Author's Coalition catalog for the LA Times Festival of Books. The catalog presents Authors' Coalition's finest authors in a full-color catalog to booksellers and media.

This catalog is issued in conjunction with the Authors' Coalition booth on the beautiful UCLA campus in Westwood, CA. on April 26 and 27.

Jorge Ian, publisher, says "These biographies authored by assorted writers, will promote a love for reading and knowledge in an appealing and entertaining way and help establish the essential values that great historical characters have taught us by example in this fully-illustrated book and CD. Of course, Benjamin Franklin was one of the most admirable men of his time and one of the most interesting. His story travels from thunderstorms to great inventions to the independence of our country."

Veronica Vidales, a mother and sales director of Inquamsolutions, Inc, a book distributor, says:“I congratulate you on the quality but mostly for the values you are instilling in children. My son will surely have these books.” Veronica Vidales (Mother and sales director, Inquamsolutions Inc. Book distribution).

"Benjamin Franklin" is authored by Nancy Shepard, educator, art teacher and parent counselor. She has been a Montessori teacher for more than 20 years and worked with children from all ages, constantly exploring and developing better teaching methods. She is the head of an art institute for children and the principal of a Montessori school.

Learn more about Little Great Ones at

Other authors participating in the Authors Coalition program are Catherine McDonald, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Barbara Crandall, M.D., Pam Kelly, Joyce Faulkner, and Pat McGrath Avery. Featured books include everything from nonfiction to poetry to genre fiction.

More information on the LA Times Fair go to The fair is f r @ @ to the public. UCLA parking is $8.

Learn more about Authors' Coalition at 

Support material available on request

Sample Media Release

This is a sample media release from Karina Fabian. It was adapted from the general release. I'm including it so you can see how that is done. The general release for 2008 will be posted soon for people to use as a template. And then another release that was adapted as a sample for those participting in the catalog. Beginners should keep their releases simple and clean.


CONTACT: Karina Fabian

For Immediate Release

Catholic Sci-Fi at LA Times Book Fair

Fredericksburg, VA--Catholic sci-fi fans will find something to interest them at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books this April 2? And 2?: Infinite Space, Infinite God, an anthology of Catholic science fiction edited by Karina and Robert Fabian.

Infinite Space, Infinite God features fifteen stories about the future Catholic Church. They tell about Catholics struggling to evangelize to aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status for genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand. They feature the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers and inner-city priests. Two stories explore how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and to help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession. The introductions discuss present doctrine and current trends in technology to set the framework for the stories and, the Fabians say, to encourage discussion.

"We're very excited to have our book at the festival," said Karina Fabian. "It's a terrific opportunity to showcase a genre of fiction that often gets neglected--religious sci-fi. I know people of any faith persuasion--but especially Catholics--will enjoy the stories. Like all good sci-fi, we're examining issues rather than evangelizing. This is faith-filled fiction for people who think."

Festival attendees can explore Infinite Space, Infinite God first-hand at booth 610, Zone F. The LA times/ UCLA Festival of books, in its 12th year, is the largest book fair in the United States, with over 130,000 attendees and more than 370 famous authors. The Festival, located on the UCLA campus, also features literary, cultural and musical presentations on six different outdoor stages. And explore our two giant children's areas, where there's storytelling, crafts, costumes characters and lots of family-oriented activities. Admission is free.

Those unable to attend the festival can learn more about Infinite Space, Infinite God at its website,

Infinite Space, Infinite God is available online at

# # #

Full Media Kits, headshots, Book Cover Art and more available upon request both electronically and by post.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reach Bookstore Book Buyers and Cross-Promote in One Fell Swoops

Calling booksellers on the phone can be a futile effort if they have no reason to know you.

Worse, it's impossible to call every book buyer and expensive to send info on your book out to hundreds of them.

And, yes, you need some credibility. The could be some past experience with the bookstores (you were a guest on a panel perhaps?). Or you could be part of a professional organization and that is evident in the first contact you make with them.

Authors' Coalition to the rescue!

Authors' Coalition sends out a catalog under our name. But we also tie it to our booth at the LA Times/UCLA Festival of Books. That's Double Credibility!

Participating authors provide the names of the book buyers we send it to, 500 or more. That means that it many cases the bookseller will know at least one author featured in the catalog. That's a another level of credibility, another reason for them to pay attention to that book and the others in the catalog.

And it gives the author a way to follow up with a phone call that will be better received. They simply ask, "Just calling to see if your received the LATimes/UCLA catalog sent by Authors Coaltion. My book, Great Expectations, was featured."

Then, of course, it's a four color catalog. It comes in the mail, a rarity these days. And, did I mention that it's less expensive than going it alone?

Learn more about this and all the Authors' Coalition programs at:

The catalog and others are designed so you don't have to be at the fair or even in LA to benefit.

After you've peeked at the AC page, e-mail me with CATALOG in the subject line. I'll help you pick and choose the programs right for you.