Gretchen Preston plans to expand her marketing efforts in 2012 through appearances with the U.P. Book Tour and participation at events throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan. Her marketing strategy consists of building a fan base. Children and cat lovers of all ages are her target groups. She has targeted locations where kids visit. School events, candy/ ice cream stores, and community events all provide opportunities to sell books. She takes all opportunities to speak to audiences. The ability to speak in public is a tremendous marketing tactic. Another marketing strategy she employs is to make sure that anyone who shows an interest in her books leaves with at least a business card. It’s good to provide a brochure of accumulated works. She makes sure that all kids with whom she comes in contact get a Valley Cat bookmark to take home. Preston advertises in local newspapers, on radio and places book flyers on community post boards.
A marketing idea she would like to present to our UPPAA group is that of providing large hotels and visitor’s centers with a “U.P. Author Bookshelf.” Author business cards would refer interested buyers directly to the author’s website for purchases. She would also like to approach local businesses, grocery stores and shopping malls to provide space for possible UPPAA book fairs to get our books in front of as many people as possible. She regards our best marketing strength as the overall promotion of our UPPAA group. We are not competitors; we are our own best advocates and marketing implements. Whenever possible Preston markets member’s books to her customers and makes it a point to promote her local author peers.
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Deborah Frontiera sells a lot of books at festivals and grocery stores. She offers the following tips to authors in crowded festival type settings, or those doing a signing just inside a large store’s main door.
Make Your Table Attractive. Be Eye-Catching. Bring a poster with your picture, picture of your book, etc. I have a canvas one I had made at Kinkos. It rolls up into a small space and never gets ratty looking. It’s easy to attach to the front of my table with those big metal clips.
Always Be Positive. Stay alert. Smile. Try to greet everyone, even those who don’t look toward you. Simple, “Good morning/Hi/ How are you today?/Fine day, isn’t it?” draws many people into a conversation with you that may lead to a book sale.
Be assertive, but not pushy. People’s eyes and body language tell you if they do NOT want you to pitch to them: Someone talking on their cell phone (sometimes I just smile, or nod my head to these folks): people looking at a list; people going by at top speed; people who look at you and then immediately look away. Some folks even turn their heads very obviously in the other direction.
People who listen to my pitch have lots of ways to say, “No.” Many don’t realize a simple, “No, thank you,” will not offend me. Here are some of the excuses I’ve heard: I’ll stop back on my way out; will you be here tomorrow? I’ll come back then; I’ll bring my child/husband/wife by later. He/she loves books; I’m in a hurry; we’re late for a ball game/practice/party . . . (probably true); I don’t read. (To which I say, “I’m so sorry to hear that.”) Thank these people for listening and wish them a good day.