Author Topic: Live in Small Market Area  (Read 432 times)

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Offline Darren

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Live in Small Market Area
« on: June 10, 2014, 08:56 AM »
I would like your thoughts and perhaps suggestions.
My small press publisher recently released my middle-grade urban fantasy, the first in a three-part series. I live in a rural county more than 100 miles east of a major market area, San Diego. I have begun marketing efforts, but I am not going to get major sales in my area. I have an author website with a blog. I recently started an author facebook page. I have advertised locally, had a story done in the local daily and been interviewed on local radio. I have started to do library presentations locally, but none of it has amounted to much. I am trying with some small level of success to get into the San Diego market (it helps that I work for a San Diego agency). I have a book signing in July at a San Diego bookstore (a local author event) and in February 2015 (a while off) the main branch library has invited me to particiate in a display they do for local authors, but so far libraries in San Diego have not responded to my requests to give presentations, which I understand.
Key steps need to happen. My publisher will be trying to get my book an Accelerated Reader designation, which would be helpful in trying to get the books into schools and in giving book presentations in schools come the fall. We are also working on getting reviewers to consider the book, and I will be entering some literary award contests.
I know I need to get my book to a middle-grade and young adult market, but my question is what am I missing in this puzzle of trying to figure out marketing. What additional step should I take, in particular in reaching beyond my rural county?
It's not that I am expecting extraordinary sale numbers, but I want to make sure I am doing all I can. Even a marketing book recommendation would be helpful.
Thanks.
 

Offline Melissa

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 10:47 AM »
You're doing what you should, & the other thing is getting review coverage from the industry folks (which will open more school & library doors than anything else) & writing the next book.  You could also check for a local writers community out there to see if there are other local doors you can crack.  You're in a perfect area for it (I used to live in the San Diego area & have been back for almost every year since I was published).  There is nowhere in the country more plugged in to SFF than Mysterious Galaxy.  They handle the books for Phoenix ComicCon and SDCC and (I believe) still handle a lot of the school & library bookings.  Great people (staff & owners). Great store.  If there are local writerly events or groups, they'd know who/where they are.

Offline Darren

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 12:03 PM »
Hi, Melissa
Funny you should mention Mysterious Galaxy. That is the bookstore hosting the local author event in July where I will be doing a book signing. As for other books, the second book in the series is already written and is due out in late 2014 or early 2015. I also have a middle-grade pirate novel in the hands of an agent, though a small agency, and this summer I hope to finish a fourth book. So the writing continues, though it is difficult to concentrate on marketing and writing, especially as marketing is not going as well as I would like.

Offline AnnH

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 12:10 PM »
You might ask the people you know in San Diego if they'd ask their neighborhood library to get your book. No guarantees, but it might help. I have some of my books in town libraries in Oregon and Iowa (and I think a couple other states, but would have to check), thanks to friends who asked their libraries to buy my book. It doesn't add up to mega-sales or anything, but every little bit helps.
 
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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 01:46 PM »
Try contacting Upstart Crow in San Diego's Seaport Village. They do have author readings and signings and it's just a very cool bookstore-café. (I love to go there to write when I'm on vacation.) Good luck!
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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 02:17 PM »
This is a really small thing, but don't forget to put your book and or website in your signature on your profile here! We have people here who are booksellers, librarians, teachers and of course we're all readers! And I know there are others in SD area here as well.

(You can find your signature by choosing Profile from the menu header, Profile>Modify Profile>Forum Profile)
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Offline Darren

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 05:51 PM »
I appreciate the suggestions.
Thank you.

Offline Dianna Winget

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 06:46 PM »
You are doing all the right things, Darren. Try not to unduly stress. One other thing to consider. Go online and get a list of all the public libraries in CA. You'll be amazed how many there are. Then have some postcards printed with your book cover and other vital stats like ordering info ect. Have a brief message printed that says something like, "Hi I'm Darren so and so, a California writer from (your town) and I thought you might be interested in knowing about my new children's book." Then describe it in a sentence or two and say how terrific you think librarians are.
Most libraries are pleased to support "local" writers, and a number of them will be happy to order a copy.  I did this in my state of Idaho and got a nice response. I used Vista Print and it cost less than $100.  :fireworks
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Offline Darren

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 09:17 AM »
Great idea about the postcards to libraries.
I am going to do that.
Thank you.

Offline KateMessner

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 06:07 PM »
I'm in the minority here, but as someone who's had books with the tiniest of presses and some of the big ones, I'm of the opinion that a writer's time is usually best spent working on the next book instead of mailing postcards and calling libraries. The AR program really doesn't pick up small press books, so that's probably not the best use of your time or your publisher's - it's just one of those things that's out of your control. In my experience, nothing sells books better than another great book, so the best thing you can do for your current book is probably to focus on writing the next one.
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Offline Darren

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2014, 04:05 PM »
Kate, your points are well taken. I do have book two in my series written, and it is expected to be released in early 2015. I have a pirate novel, a separate series, in the hands of an agent, and I am writing another book, which I expect to finish this summer. But I find it so hard to concentrate on writing when I am more obsessed with trying to find that one brilliant piece of marketing that will allow this book to find readers. At times it makes it difficult to really focus on anything else, especially when I find myself glued to Amazon to watch my sales ranking, which goes up and down on a weekly basis. Still, I am struggling through it and still writing. I would love to hear your story some time about how you made the jump from a small publisher to Scholastic.

Offline Debbie Vilardi

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 07:43 AM »
I agree that you have to write the next book to help sell the first. I also believe a writer today has to take some steps toward marketing. Have you contacted the alumni associations of schools you attended? Sometimes they'll run an article on graduates who make good in the alumni newsletter.

If you are from another area, you can do the same sort of marketing there that you are doing in your current town.

You can also look at the urban area in your book, assuming you based your setting on a real place. Consider the themes and important objects in your work. Are any locations right for those themes? C. S. Lewis could promote The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe at local zoos or furniture stores today.

Take your pirate novel to museums that deal with boating and the history of the high seas.

I hope these ideas help.



Offline Darren

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 08:40 AM »
Hi, Debbie
You know a bike figues very prominently in my story even to the point of being a major character. It is a very special bike. I wanted to market the book to bike clubs. Unfortunately the effort has fallen a bit flat. The story also takes place in San Francisco, so I reached out to a San Francisco biking coalition and they allowed me to do a post on their facebook page, but a post has a value of a few minutes before another post tops it. A national cycling organization was going to do a giveaway based on my early rounds of contacting them, but they have stopped responding to emails, so I assume they had a change of heart. My publisher will be contacting San Francisco libraries and I have tried to contact a few bookstores there, but I don't expect much luck to come from that. But the efforts continue.

Offline Marissa Doyle

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 08:44 AM »
I'm with Kate.  I'm on a few online self-publishing discussion groups, and the consensus there is to focus on writing. Unfortunately there is no one magical piece of marketing--what works for one book won't work for another, or it might have worked last year but not now.  The only thing that's in your control is the writing of more books. The thing is, if someone likes your book, the first thing they'll do is hop online to see what other books you've published--and if there's only one...well, it's unfortunate, but they're not likely to remember you when the next book comes out a year later.  Can you work with your publisher to get the second book out sooner? It's just very, very hard to "get anywhere" when you've just got one book out, unless that book has huge backing from a Big Five publicity machine.
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Offline Jean Reidy

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2014, 09:20 AM »
Hey Darren - Don't forget school and library Skype visits. They'll allow you to reach readers from the comfort of your home. I do loads of them and find with a just little time on the front end - they're a fun and easy way to connect with readers, teachers and librarians. Here are 3 resources to get you started:

https://education.skype.com/

http://skypeanauthor.wikifoundry.com/

http://www.katemessner.com/authors-who-skype-with-classes-book-clubs-for-free/



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Offline Debbie Vilardi

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Re: Live in Small Market Area
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2014, 12:06 PM »
So that was you. I think you posted about it on the old SCBWI board (I remembered it and almost used that as the example in my post). Perhaps send an ARC to your contact at the cycling organization. Maybe you or your publisher can sponsor a bike race for kids somewhere. I believe in thinking outside the box for marketing.

I also believe in writing the next book. And the next.

Hi, Debbie
You know a bike figues very prominently in my story even to the point of being a major character. It is a very special bike. I wanted to market the book to bike clubs. Unfortunately the effort has fallen a bit flat. The story also takes place in San Francisco, so I reached out to a San Francisco biking coalition and they allowed me to do a post on their facebook page, but a post has a value of a few minutes before another post tops it. A national cycling organization was going to do a giveaway based on my early rounds of contacting them, but they have stopped responding to emails, so I assume they had a change of heart. My publisher will be contacting San Francisco libraries and I have tried to contact a few bookstores there, but I don't expect much luck to come from that. But the efforts continue.