Okay, so you’ve written a book. You’ve gone through the final edits, picked out your book cover, and now you’re a published author. Now it’s time for you to do your first event. You may know what your book is about, but potential readers don’t. Attendees of events are prepared to buy. They want to discover something new and anxious to good home with a bag of goodies. However, before they make a purchase, they want to be sold on why you’re worth the impulse. The average person spends 9.5 hours at an event (2.3 days). In simpler terms, that’s about 4 hours per day. If the event is 8 hours per day, that’s doesn’t give you much time to leave an impression. This is why you need to develop a great “elevator speech.”
An elevator speech is a message about your product. It describes what is is and how a person can benefit from it. The speech is usually 30 seconds, which is the time it takes for you to go from the bottom to top floor in an elevator. When it comes to a book, you’re summarizing what it’s about and why someone should read it. Just like the cover description, you don’t want to spoil it for the reader by giving too much details.
I remember prior to starting The Insiders Book Club, my main focus was promoting my book, I Keep Holding On. I received great reviews so I thought convincing people to buy it would be easy. Wrong! Every time I was asked, what’s your book about, I sounded like a big idiot. I’d fumble my words, describe parts that was irrelevant to the plot, and even went blank a few times. I wrote the book and sounded like I never read a page. You also cannot rely on the book cover description. Although it’s a book event, people aren’t there to read.
Do yourself a favor, prepare a good elevator speech for your book, and practice practice practice! The goal is to close the sale before you hit the top floor.
Sending books to inmates isn’t as easy as you think. There are rules in place from everything from distribution to content. Prisons are big on security, so it’s pretty obvious they won’t let just anyone send packages directly. You could be trying to break someone out for all they know. That’s exactly why they’re particular of what they let in.
Just because you can mail a book, does not mean it’ll be accepted. There are facilities that will only accept book packages directly from an authorized book store. That means, you have a business that is registered with the state as a book store or distributor. I remember before starting The Insiders Book Club I tried to send my book I keep Holding On to someone and it kept being returned as not accepted. At first I thought it was the packaging, but nope, it was because an author wasn’t recognized as a bookstore.
When in doubt, order through known names like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Also, we did a small survey and found people preferred using Amazon when sending books to inmates.
Another thing to think about is content. Below is an excerpt from the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections, Inmate Communication Policy. It states, publications may be rejected if:
“..it depicts or describes procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs or incendiary devices; b. it depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities, or contains blueprints drawings or similar descriptions of Department of Correction facilities; c. it depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture of drugs; d. it is written in code; e. it depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption; f. it encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity; or, g. it is sexually explicit material, either pictorial or written, which by its nature or content poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility”
Other things to think about is whether they accept paperback only. It’s a good idea to check with the state’s department of corrections prior to sending anything to a current inmate.
I’m always surprised when authors do not take advantage of free advertising. Of course your social media page is free, but there’s but so many post you can do before you need to change your strategy. I remember when starting The Insiders Book Club, at the time I had “Free promotion Friday”. For about a month, I advertised this promotion daily. However at the end of the promotion, only two people total responded. Was free too expensive?
As an independent author myself, I try to make my marketing plan as cost effective as possible. Needless to say, free isn't too expensive for me! So anytime I see “tag an author”, “drop your book cover”, “reviews for a copy of your book”, or “tag your event” that’s exactly what I do. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Also, never judge a person/company by the amount of followers you “think” they have. The Insiders Book Club has a high volume of traffic to our website daily, however you may not think so by our social media pages.
Let’s do the math on the situation. As an author, the point is to target new readers to buy your book. If you're only posting on your page, it’s likely that your audience have already bought your book. So unless you're pushing a new title, this strategy of marketing becomes a moot point. However, if you take advantage of a free promotion on someone else's page, you're reaching a whole new audience. So ask yourself, is free too much to spend toward your marketing budget?
Who doesn't love a good book fair? For book lovers, it's like being a kid in a candy store. So many different varieties at your fingertips. It's a great place to find new authors and get autographed copies of their work. An added bonus, sometimes you can get discounted book prices. Depending on the event, you can get copies free. Events like the Book Expo America is a literary trade show where authors and publishers distribute books for free to gain interest. There's certain guidelines and a fee to attend, but it worth it to go home with bags filled with books.
If you're a recently published author (or entrepreneur), you may have no idea how to file those royalty statements you've been receiving. Or you may have generated sales with income receipts to support. If you're not a tax professional and have no clue about income taxes, here's a few tips on filing your federal income tax as a self-employed individual.