Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ups and downs along the promotion road

When my book, A Lesson in Murder, published by OTP, came out last fall, I was a novice at the promotional game. But, I have been learning with the help of other writers I have met at writers' conferences and online. When I attended the Philadelphia Writers' Conference in June of 2007, I connected with someone from my high school days. Turns out she is one of the organizers of the conference, and is a writer herself. She did an article about me and the book in a Philadelphia suburban newspaper. (It probably helped that I won 1st prize in the fiction competition at the conference for the first four chapters of my 2nd novel). In connection with the article, I had a book launch party at the local library with food supplied by my caterer cousins. I had bookmarks made up for the occasion, also. There was also a story and book review in newsletter at the place where I work, which has several hundred employees.

Those are the high spots. I have also encountered a great deal of rejection in my attempts to get the word out about the book. I sent press release packages to other newspapers. No responses. I was scheduled to have a reading and book signing at a local independent bookstore. They had promoted the appearance on their website and in local newspapers. They then said they had to postpone the reading, and then would not respond to me when I tried to reschedule. Other bookstores have also simply not responded to inquiries about purchasing or promoting the book. I also have tried to have the book reviewed without success, except for one online spot.

But, I am going to another mystery bookstore to pitch again, and I will be attending another writers' conference next month, with bookmarks in hand. I was at a local mall the other week, and I saw someone handing out flyers and putting them under wipers on cars in the parking lot to promote her dance studio. I started to think maybe I should do the same thing with my bookmarks. But, do people really like stuff put on their cars, and would this action create negative responses? Still thinking about that one.

Anyway, congratulations to my home team, the Phillies, for winning the World Series! I wish you all well.

Gus Cileone,


BillieJohn said...

A comment from Bob Cohen...Ahh, bookstores! The holy grail. I'd love to see my books on the shelves because I'm sure just the covers alone would hook at least some buyers. When you consider how some brand-new books magically appear in every single mail-order catalogue there is, when you walk into any bookstore and see an entire display for that book, or when you read a gushing paragraph about it in Publisher's Weekly (I got one sentence, kiss the ground) you've got to ask yourself if maybe it isn't so much that it's a better book than yours, but rather if there's just a little muscle behind marketing it - muscle that's not too interested in helping you compete for sales. You have to maintain a positive attitude and just keep on pitching. Okay, I feel better now...

Bob Cohen

Marilyn said...

Great to see more of you blogging. Now some of you same folks need to click that you are following this blog!

It's great to have a good signing in a bookstore--but there are lots of other good places to sell your books.

Take a look around and see if there are any book festivals going on near your home town. Those are fun and people who come are interested in buying books.