Quick and Easy Tips to Get Your Books Ready for the Biggest Book Buying Season of the Year by Kiffer Brown
Point of Sale Marketing – Are Your Books Ready for the Holiday Season’s Annual Sales Spike?
Shoppers are overwhelmed with gift buying decisions at this time of year. The clock is ticking and our lives become even more hectic as the gift giving season approaches; our to-do lists are exponentially expanding as the winter holiday countdown begins.
Authors (and publishers) need to make sure that the gift buyer has easily accessible information about their books to aid the gift buyer with his/her purchasing decisions quickly and easily.
Utilizing time proven Point of Sale Marketing methods could make a huge difference in helping gift givers to decide on your book when making purchasing decisions.
Four Selling Platforms for Books – Make sure that your books are ready to sell across all of them with these handy tips from Chanticleer Reviews
Today we will focus on using point-of-sale tips for Holiday Gift Fairs, Author Signings, and Temporary Markets.
How do you attract potential readers to your table/booth when you are in a sea of authors at a book fair?
IF possible (and this depends on where the event is held), I always suggest adding some “flair” to your booth.
- Signs with your cover(s) enlarged on poster boards or free standing signage.
- Be sure to dress the part! Dress to reinforce your branding — what your readers expect the author of the title to look like. And this doesn’t mean you have to dress in costume. See the first article for ideas of how to hint at your branding with your dress. If you write Westerns, dress like you are a character from your book. If you write Steampunk, then definitely dress as a “steampunker.” If you write contemporary romance, make sure that you dress with flair – again something that your main characters might wear. Science Fiction author? Then dress in a way that resonates with your targeted reader audience.
- Business cards! Make sure that you ALWAYS have your AUTHOR business cards available at your signings/booth. Your cards should include your website, social media tags, pen name, email. You do NOT have to list a telephone number on your business cards, but there should be some way of contacting you either through social media, email, or your website’s contact form. I would suggest on the backside of the card that you list your titles and your genre with your website’s URL. The genre that you are writing in should be reflected in your business cards design.
- Don’t forget your own “branding” table cloth to make your area standout from the sea of the inevitable white or black tablecloths.
- Candy, mints, or treats are standard draws for any author signing! You can also keep them in the back of your display and offer the treats only when you want to make contact with a potential reader.
- Proudly display any ribbons or awards!
- If possible, have a drawing at your table to attract traffic. If you are allowed to give something away make sure that it increases your branding in some tangible way. A key chain, a bauble, a fancy pen, a coffee or teacup, a candle, a handkerchief, a shopping bag…. anything, but your book. However, the item used for the drawing should reflect your book’s branding.
- We have buttons and I LOVE BOOKS bumper stickers that we give away at events.
- Awards Stickers and Shiny “Reviewed” book stickers help to attract the potential readers’ eyes and also help to distinguish your book from the others at the event or on the shelves.
- Have a sign up sheet for your newsletter or to gather information. Many times, people who have already purchased and read your book will attend book signings/book fairs just to meet the author. Make sure that you capture the emails of these VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE who are readers of your work to foster and maintain a readership for your next book.
- When ever possible stand at the side of your table or in the front of the table. Remove any friction or barriers between you and your potential readers. If you can’t do that, try not to sit unless you are signing a book. Standing makes you seem much more approachable by potential readers. And SMILE!
- Make your display as vertical as possible. Use boxes under the tablecloth or use stacks of your books at different angles to catch the eyes of potential readers as they pass by.
- Before the signing/event/fair and during the signing/event/fair make sure that you post about it in your social media. Remind your friends and associates the day of it. Everyone is busy with many activities vying for their attention. Make sure that your event stays on their radar.Are there community calendars or places where you can post signs about your event? If so, make sure that they are posted at least two to three weeks in advance. If the calendars are printed, you may have to notify the calendar coordinators at least three to four months in advance.
- Have fun at your event —even if it is with the staff and coordinators. The reason for book-signings, book fairs, seasonal markets is to build awareness about you and your book. Make sure that folks remember a professional author of a particular genre and not some grumpy, desolate “writer” who isn’t selling books. Make sure that you make a professional and positive impression on each every person who comes into contact with you as an “author.”
- Cross promote with other authors. Build your network. A new “author colleague” may have connections to get you into another book store, another author event, or book clubs. You never know….
- Have copies of reviews or a sheet of review blurbs and author quotes that you can hand out with your website address. Try not to let a potential reader leave your area empty handed. Each person should walk away with at least one item with your website address on it.
- I’ve found that staying an extra thirty minutes longer at almost any event generates sales worth the extra time. I’ve heard authors tell me that their best sales have come after the event was closed and that they sold more in the thirty minutes after the event closed than during the whole event. It is just a weird thing about the retail biz.
And my final word of advice is this (and please forgive me if I am sounding brusque and maybe a bit rude here, but this must be said):
When you hand a potential reader your book to look at and to consider reading and you can tell that she is actually reading the book blurb on the back or the opening paragraphs, it is time to be quiet. Just stand there and appreciate the fact that someone is considering your book. Do not interrupt their decision making process or their reading time. This is the time to take a breath. If it is awkward, then straighten something on the table, pop a breath mint, greet another potential reader….
Always thank the person for taking the time to look at your book whether or not that they purchase it at that time. One author, who I know, said that he only sold one book at an event but discovered that he had sold 40+ e-pub copies on line that very evening. You just never know what is going on in the potential reader’s mind. And yet another reminder why it is always a good idea to have something to hand the attendee with your website address on it and your book’s titles.
To summarize the above points:
- Promote your signing, book fair, and/or marketing event as soon as the date is confirmed.
- Continue to promote with more intensity as the count-down to the event approaches.
- Promote during the event if possible. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ to remind busy people not to forget to pop by.
- Bring: business cards, pens, props, review sheets with info and marketing blurbs, ribbons/awards, book stickers, vertical signage, and other ways of making your space standout.
- Make a professional and positive impression on each person who comes into contact with you as a author.
- Exude your branding in every aspect possible to make you and your book stand out.
- Capture email addresses as many email addresses as you can to maintain and nurture the contacts that you made.
The fourth article in this four-part series will be about:
Quick Tips to Make Your Website Sell More Books During the Holiday Gift Season.
- Despite intentions, most gift-givers put off shopping until after Thanksgiving, which leads to our next point.
- Holiday shoppers spend more than 31 billion dollars on gift cards (National Retail Foundation survey)
- Today’s holiday buying season has extended all the way through the month of January, as recipients of gift cards begin shopping on December 26th
Links to authors mentioned in this post:
- Pamela Beason, author of Pacific Northwest Mysteries
- Ann Charles, author of the Deadwood Mystery & Mayhem Series
- Robert Dugoni, author of Legal Thrillers
- Janet Oakley, author of Historical Novels
- Robert L. Slater, author of the Deserted Lands Dystopian series
- Jesikah Sundin, author of the Biodome Chronicles series
- Lawrence Verigin, author of global thrillers
Happy Holidays and Wishing YOU Awesome Book Sales!