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As a new author, I view my book marketing efforts with a whole lot of anticipation mixed with a small amount of trepidation. I know that in order to get my name  known in authorland, I have to showcase myself and my work. If I don’t do it, no one else will. And so in the past month I embarked on two book signing events at two different libraries for my book Women For All Seasons. My first one was a successful failure. And I do mean that. Apart from my son and my grand-children, only one person showed up and that was a friend I’d invited.

Location, Location, Location

Okay, so what went wrong? First of all, location is not only crucial in real estate. It matters a great deal if you’re trying to sell something, or someone. If you are an unknown author in a remote location, you have as much chance of being found as Robinson Crusoe on a deserted island. But that’s not the only drawback. If you’re on this unknown island and you make a roaring fire, big enough to be seen from the sky, then someone may spot you. In my case, I didn’t even have a smoke signal. I was out of town until three days before the event, and the ads I’d sent to the various media were somehow never published . The library itself does not do any promotion and when I walked in there on Saturday morning, there was nothing written on the board. All I had to announce my event were the fliers I’d given them a few days before. To top it off, that library closes at 2.00 p.m on Saturdays. My event was from 11.00 to 1.00 and attendance that day was very low.

Picking The Right Location 

For my second event, yesterday, I chose a library with which I was very familiar, and one that always has a lot of traffic. It’s Saturday hours are from 10.00 to 6.00. From the first day I contacted the events coordinator (the other library didn’t have one), I realized that this was going to be serious business. We e-mailed each other back and forth and she informed me of all that I needed to know. She even asked to see my ads so she could approve them before I sent them out. I had to include the library’s logo and the list of County commissioners on all of my ads. In addition, she mounted a large poster in the lobby, announcing the event. I was overwhelmed by emotion when I saw it. Encouraged by all that the library had done, I prepared for my big event. However, only ten people showed up.

Make It Personal

 I thought I’d done everything right, but I was to learn another lesson. Never depend on mailings alone. How many junk mails do you receive every day and just dump them in the trash? My press releases and carefully-worded invitations to book clubs, churches and other groups never saw the light of day. Only one book club responded and that was the only one that was represented. So for my next event, I’m going to mail and e-mail all the groups that may be interested in my book, but I will follow up with a phone call or a visit.

Overall, I’m enjoying the experience. Despite the poor showing, I did manage to sell 10 books. And the small number of people who were present made for an intimate gathering, which helped to dispel my nervousness. I was able to speak without a tremor in my voice and do everything I’d planned to do. In the end we took pictures and one lady even told me that her group would invite me to speak to them.  My beloved library coordinator cheered me up when she said that some authors have had one person or no one show up for their book event.  I kept my face expressionless.

If you have had a recent book event, won’t you leave a comment and let me know how it went? Or if you have any ideas for improving the attendance at future events, I’ll appreciate it.  

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