Monday, December 03, 2012

How Not To Launch A Book

Okay, it wasn't that bad on the 24th November.  We sold nearly 40 books between us and given where we started 18 months ago, it was a huge success.

What lessons were learned?

The positives:
- Having physical product is a must
- Being in a bookshop adds to sales, even if it is a second hand bookshop
- Smiling a lot gives a good impression, even if it hurts your face.
- The shop you use will do some marketing and promotion for you
- Having a camera to take pictures and video (see below) is an advantage
- Promotion via Facebook/Twitter will increase turnout, even if only by a couple

The negatives:
- Avoid rainy days, they make your poster's ink run
- If launching several books, make sure the shop is big enough for all the authors and their egos
- Don't undersell yourself

Things we did and will do again:
- Keep your promises to the shop.  We did and it helped our reputation
- Maintain contact with the shop so they know you will turn up.  Also make a list of what they can supply and what you need to supply.  Make sure BOTH of you know and agree to that.
- Prepare all your physical requirements (stands, chairs, stationary) in advance.
- Take odd bits of stationary with you (pins, paperclips, blutac, pens, tape, scrap paper etc
- Keep a record of what's been sold
- Have a price list
- Have some freebies.  We printed and laminated bookmarks.

Things we will do next time:
- Go to more than one shop
- Get the books finished two months ahead of the launch date instead of 10 days ahead.
- Prepare a launch video
- Learn to make better use of Social Media and adverts

Should we do author readings?  It depends on the type of shop and what they would like us to do.  Some will want a signing only, due to size, others will want a reading too.

You may want to consider investing in some equipment to help produce your own freebies.  I have a colour laser printer which costs 5p (8c) per A4 page which gives me a poster, or six bookmarks.  Depending on the option used, I can print a larger poster on 4 or 6 pages which can be taped to a A-Frame and placed outside the shop.  A laminator and a cutter means we can produce our own posters and bookmarks, or other freebies such as copies of the book covers signed by the author.

We also produced our own CDs on a photo-inkjet printer.  Though this is heavy on ink usage, the results are brilliant, professional not hideously expensive.

So there's a summary of lessons, good and bad.  Now for some photos.

The books and the eboxes

Don't forget to smile

That's better

With that, I'll bid you adieu and see you on Wednesday, where I shall talk about my next novel.  Can you bear the excitement and anticipation? 


Chloe said...

The books look great :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Chloe: They looked excellent. Createspace did an excellent job.

Lisa Shafer said...

This is really good advice. I hope I have the chance to use it someday. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Lisa: You will. Keep the faith.

E.B. Black said...

I have little book stores around where I live that might agree to sell my book. I've been thinking about making physical copies and asking them about it. Thanks for your thoughts on it.

Martin Willoughby said...

EB: If you get it printed via Createspace, they give you an ISBN and, for a fee, allow you to list it so bookshops can buy and stock it.