Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

Marketing at 33,000 Feet

Your novel is written, edited, and published.  Congratulations!  Now, about that marketing plan of yours… Today Christine Goff shares some valuable insight about marketing your book outside of your hometown while keeping an eye on expense.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


Marketing at 33,000 Feet

Promoting a book outside your local area almost always involves planes, trains and automobiles, and usually entails spending vast sums of money that you’ll technically never earn back in a signing.

So why do it? you ask.

There are reasons to go on the road, but it needs to be done with some forethought.

 

Figure out your goals. 

Everyone’s goals are different. In my case, I wanted to expand my audience. I considered doing a bookstore-to-bookstore tour, but I’m not good at sitting at a table and hawking my book. Only certain stores have authors speak. Because of that, I chose to focus on fan conventions and strategic outreach (bookstores in the area where the cons were being held, mailings to specialty book stores, etc.).

My advice, define your goals. Everyone comes at this from different stages in our careers. We’re all after different things. Ask yourself, what do you want to get out of attending? Are you looking for an agent? Do you want to connect with other authors or with fans? Do you intend to promote your latest release? Do you want to make connections in the community? How do you best interact with readers?

Once you have the answers, you’ll find there are hundreds of bookstores and a myriad of writer conventions.

 

Establish a Budget. 

Based on my book advance and my goals, I determined I was willing to spend $5,000 on promoting RED SKY. That included expenditures for swag, giveaways, book signings and conferences. It seems like a lot of money. In truth, $5,000 doesn’t stretch all that far.

 

Nail down your schedule. 

I started locally with a signings in Denver and Evergreen (my hometown). Friends, family and local fans get first consideration. Then I committed to the following: the American Library Association’s Annual Convention (ALA) in June in Chicago, ThrillerFest in July in New York City, and Bouchercon in October in Toronto.

Why these three events? you ask.

In addition to spreading out on the calendar, these three events offered the best opportunity to get my books and myself in front of a lot of people.

ALA – libraries constitute a large market. Who wouldn’t want to see their books in libraries all over the United States? Sisters in Crime (SinC) sponsors a booth, and all I needed to do was sign up for a one hour time slot, giveaway books, and pass out swag.

ThrillerFest – this convention is devoted specifically to thrillers, and its location (New York City) allowed me to meet with my agent and editor.

Bouchercon – this is the world mystery convention and draws the largest number of fans. Plus, because of its location this year, it could introduce my books to a Canadian fan base.

 

Calculate expenses.

Now is the time to be honest. We’ve all heard of author tours where publishers fly their authors from city-to-city to sign books and meet fans. It rarely, if ever, happens these days. In most cases you will be expected to buy your own plane ticket, pick up your own hotel room, and pay for your own meals. You will also need to contact booksellers to make sure they have your books in the bookstore and order swag to promote your work. The more you can setup and/or do ahead of time, the better.

But, I digress. Extrapolating my costs, I allotted myself $1,000 each for ALA and Bouchercon and $3,000 for ThrillerFest. There was my $5,000 right there and I hadn’t even bought promo materials or factored in mailings, local travel and giveaways. My budget was blown!

 

The bottom line.

I debated cut out one of the conventions, but in the end chose to forge ahead. All of these were important to me, so I decided to tighten the belt instead. I flew at inconvenient hours, and shared a room.

So how did I do? you ask.

ALA cost me a total of $1,042.19 with no tangible return on my dollars. But that is where the intangible kicks in. I may have only signed and given away 50 copies of RED SKY (which I talked my publisher into donating), but I put hundreds of cards into the hands of interested librarians from all over. Some I’ve even heard from.

ThrillerFest cost me a total of $2,407.55, and I signed a grand total of two books. But, I was able to spend one-on-one time with my editor, my publicist and my agent; managed to get my books ordered into The Mysterious Bookshop; and was on a great panel moderated by David Morrell.

Bouchercon ran $947.87, and I signed a grand total of five or six copies. I also met the proprietor of The Sleuth of Baker Street, reconnected with three other booksellers, attended the Crooked Lane annual bash, and was introduced to a packed room of Canadian readers while sitting next to Peter Robinson, one of Canada’s bestselling authors.

 

The grand total.

All in all, I spent $4,397.61 promoting RED SKY, leaving me extra for swag, local travel and giveaways. Not bad!

But was it worth it? 

Yes. For me it’s the intangible benefits that come from having personal interactions with someone who’s read my book and loved it. It’s the connections made at conventions that landed me an agent, several book contracts, and innumerable high-profile bookstore signings, guest blog spots, library talks and keynote speaker gigs. Through a concerted effort, I’ve upped my profile, generated buzz about my books, and achieved my goals.

Then, just when I thought I could put the suitcase away….


Chris Goff is an award-winning author of eight novels. Her most recent, RED SKY, is an international thriller set in Ukraine and Asia where DSS Agent Raisa Jordan tests the boundaries of diplomacy as she races to prevent the start of a new Cold War. Goff’s series debut, DARK WATERS, was nominated for the 2016 Colorado Book Award and Anthony Award for Best Crime Fiction Audiobook.

Website: www.christinegoff.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/christinegoff

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristinegoff/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chris_goff_author

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

PPW Prez Says, 4th Quarter 2017

Readers, today we hear from Bowen Gillings, president of Pikes Peak Writers. Look for the Prez Says Column each quarter as Bowen continues to keep Pikes Peak Members informed.


Report on the December 2017 PPW Board Meeting

Happy Holidays! Pikes Peak Writers is about to close the books on another exciting and educational year. My heartfelt thanks to all of the amazing volunteers who have taken time away from their families, friends, and (heaven forbid) their writing to keep PPW going. You make this organization great. I wish for each of you a merry wrap-up to 2017 and a great and Happy New Year.

Your Board of Directors met twice in December. The first meeting covered necessary tasks for upgrading and maintaining our web presence. Our outstanding web team vetted several options for web hosting, membership management and event management software, and website migration. The Board eliminated some choices before our Conference Director ran a few demos with the software. The bottom line is that PPW will soon have a better system for member management, workshop and event submission, Conference and Zebulon registration, and blog functions. Yippee!

The second meeting determined our operational budgets for 2018. Several exciting decisions were made to include allocating more funds for volunteer appreciation, non-conference events, and social media. We approved spending for the new software and web migration. We also approved funds to provide honoraria for presenters at our monthly Write Brain events–something many of us believe has been a long time coming.

On a personal note, I am happy to announce that the Board approved funds to buy books published by PPW member authors. The goal here is two-fold: 1) motivate authors to use our events page so that we can publicize and support their book releases and 2) show PPW’s support of our members by paying for a copy of their new books then giving those books away at PPW events. This proposition is for both traditionally published and independently published member authors.

Next year promises to be our best yet. The Writing is Art event in partnership with Cottonwood Center for the Arts begins its showing in March. If you are interested in contributing to this event, go to the Special Events tab on our website, pikespeakwriters.com, and click on Writing is Art. There is still time to submit before the December 31st deadline.

Our Write Your Heart Out event in February is shaping up. This is our annual free preview of faculty presenting workshops at our 2018 Conference.

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference runs from April 27-29 and looks to continue its tradition of excellence. PPWC keynotes will be Jim Butcher, Laurell Kaye Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Jonathan Maberry. PPWC boasts outstanding workshops and the return of our attendees’ favorite improvisational writing event, Write Drunk, Edit Sober. Please, drink responsibly, but write recklessly.

If the price of Conference is the only thing keeping you from registering, fear not! Scholarships are available to help defer costs for those who qualify. Check out pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc/ for more information.

Thank you for engaging with Pikes Peak Writers. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address is president@pikespeakwriters.com.

Thank you.

Bowen Gillings

President

Pikes Peak Writers