So far, going to signing events has not been profitable. I don’t sell a lot of books. However, I learn things and I am the Founder, Dean, Provost, Sergeant At Arms, and Faculty Chair of the School of Learning Things the Hard Way.
For example, how to market one’s books. I screw up. I screw up a lot.
I figured, “Write a story. Get it edited. You’re done! You’ve created the book!”
Not so much.
I’m a solo act which means I am the one responsible for marketing aka convincing people to buy the book. I can persuade people to buy stuff, just get squeamish when selling MY stuff. That doesn’t work well when you are a solo act.
Authors create swag: small pieces of merchandise that reference you and your works. Things like bookmarks, cards, business cards, tiny versions of your book cover made into magnets, bookmarks, other chotchkes. The idea is that people will have your stuff and think of you, think of your books, maybe persuade someone to buy the books.
Go ahead, ask me if I had contact information on my stuff.
Didn’t even have a good email address on my business cards (it used to work, but I forgot the password and Gmail wouldn’t let me get it going again. For all I know, it’s how the Russians hacked the election).
I’ve spent more than a couple hundred dollars on swag. My bookmarks didn’t have MY contact info, but they had the Twitter handle of the Etsy artisan who made them. Not smart.
I’ve come up with a couple of images for branding purposes. It’s a start. I’ve come up with a new Gmail address for the business stuff (and for my pen name). Another step forward.
I’ve invested in some actual advertising in “Affaire de Coeur” magazine. Will it lead to sales? Don’t know. Pam Ackerson, who knows her way around advertising, a) explained how exposure works and it’s essentially a funnel that narrows down the field of possible buyers faster than the NCAA tourney clears out teams, and b) she came up with some excellent taglines. It’s like dating: you have to get out there (and the Amazon Kindle One-Click is kind of a Tindr app for buying books. Far too many people not swiping right on my stuff).
So, I need to redesign, including contact info. I need eye-catching. I need an elevator pitch for all of my stuff. I can do these things.
I may be an idiot, but that can be overcome with education. It’s just expensive, annoying and time consuming doing it my way.
But, I’m learning.