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Promoting away!

These past several months I’ve been doing what I could to promote, sell and sign copies of Buying Time. Today’s economy mixed with ever changing technology creating fewer actual readers makes selling words printed on paper harder than ever. The fun thing about my efforts is the variety of venues I’ve tried.

I’ve already mentioned Imagicopter on this page and if you’ve read that blog, you know how hyped I am about it. I won’t repeat that blog except to say that Imagicopter is a loose conglomeration of independent authors, cartoonists and artists who join together for mutual promotional efforts. In general, Imagicopter events are at libraries and indy-minded bookstores (like DK Books in Memphis). Some events have been at comic and sci-fi conventions. Imagicopter has helped me to go places I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to do alone.

I’ve also done some local craft shows and community festivals. Those may be among some of my most interesting experiences as the people who attend these events run the full scale of characters. Truthfully, it was one such event which inspired this blog. In general, most of the people who attend this type of show didn’t come to see a writer or buy a book. Many of them are just out killing a Saturday afternoon (or morning). What’s funny, though, are the responses I get when I try to speak with them as they meander past my table. This is certainly not a scientific study, so don’t hold me to these numbers. But roughly half of the people walk by my table or booth without even stopping. Most of them with nod at me, say hello, or smile as they continue their trek. A few refuse to make eye contact. Of the ones who stop, a little more than half of them ask me what I’m doing. I accept that as an honest inquiry and tell them about my book. Of the ones who don’t speak (yes, I generally try to speak first!), some of them pick the book up and read the back cover copy. Some of them tap the book as they walk by. Most of them make some kind of comment about the title. Because of the book’s title, I get many many comments about “killing time” and the like. A few find out what I’m doing and then want to tell me about their own great idea for a book.

Some of my favorite comments are:

*I’ll have to tell my friend about this book. She likes to read.

*I had an idea like this once. I just never wrote it down.

*You should get this book into Books-A-Million (or Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, etc).

*Do you believe in time travel?

*I traveled back in time once. Do you believe that?

*My son (or daughter or cousin or etc) is a great writer. I bet if they did this book they’d make millions. (my follow up is usually something like: “Really? That’s great. What have they written?” “Oh, nothing. But they’re a great writer.”)

*I’ve got an idea for a book…you want to hear it?

And, probably my favorite…

*If I have any money left at the end of the day, I’ll have to buy one.

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Imagicopter

One of the hardest things for a writer to do has nothing at all to do with writing. Actually, ask most writers and they’ll tell you writing is the easy part. It’s all the stuff that comes after that’s so hard! Even the most successful writers today who are blessed with hard-working marketing departments didn’t always have it that way. Many of them remember the day of doing all their own marketing.

At one of the sessions at this past Arkansas Writers Conference, I talked about the art of shameless self-promotion. The funny thing is that most writers aren’t the naturally super-social kind of folks. Most writers would prefer being stuck in a room full of books…alone. Just toss in some food every now and again. But in order to successfully promote, they gotta get past that and walk outside and see people…and the sun.

Writers have to aggressively do everything in their power to promote and sell their work. I could go on about that, but this blog isn’t about that. Maybe some other date, but in a nutshell writers have to do what they can to target newspapers, radio, television and the internet.

I’ve recently become associated with a loose conglomeration of writers (and a few artists) who have banded together in an effort to pool resources when it comes to marketing, especially for those in the small press. Imagicopter is the name of the group and is the brainchild of author H. David Blalock. Basically what happens is that authors join the group, supply bio material for the website (check out my page), and then participate in special “events.” The cool thing is that it can often be difficult for a single small press writer to have a signing as bookstores are often reluctant to put a lot of time and energy into a session for a single unknown or little-known writer. However, if they can promote 4-15 (depending on space available for them) authors at the same time, then that becomes an author “event” and they’re more likely to put time, energy and effort into it.

One of the neat things is the wide variety of authors there. One of my fellow BCW pals also participates in Imagicopter.

Over the course of the last near-year, I’ve participated in events in which Imagicopter was also there (that’s how I met them, after all) and I’ve participated in events with Imagicopter. I’m completely sold on this idea and wonder why this wasn’t done much before now. If you’re a writer in the southern area and your name isn’t John Grisham, I highly recommend you check out Imagicopter’s site and see what it’s all about.

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