Wednesday, January 07, 2015

25 Roses Blog Tour: Day Three

It's day three of my super-exciting blog tour. Nobody signed up for tomorrow, so we'll round up with an exciting big tour day Friday. Here are the next stops on my blog tour. Scroll down below for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group post, which is about something all published writers are insecure about: promotion.

Mason Canyon--Guest Post: The Path to Publication is Paved in Rejection Letters

Beth Ellyn Summer--Interview

T.B. Markinson--Guest Blog: Promoting Your Book the Old-Fashioned Way

Tara Tyler--Guest Blog: Should Writers Follow Trends...or Follow Our Hearts?

Meradeth Huston--Blurb and Excerpt


Is Book Promotion Changing?

At one time, writers who launched a new book into the world had only one venue in which to do so: the bookstore. In today's Internet-driven world, however, online book tours have become just as popular. It seems we're in the midst of a shift as national chain bookstores dwindle and local independents take their places.

There may be a reason for that. If it's really true that the average booksigning sells eight books, it calls into question whether local marketing is as relevant as it once was. An author no longer has to travel to New Jersey or California to reach readers there. Through social media and our blogs, we regularly interact with people around the globe.

But local marketing will always be at least a little important. Your local bookstores, libraries, and (for children's authors) schools will always support your books more than those located in other cities. And booksignings and events personalize your relationship with the people who have the power to recommend your books to readers. At each of my booksignings, I've left signed copies of my books for readers to buy--and one bookstore even called me back to sign more.

I personally have found that like any local business, an author must network locally but spend most of his/her time marketing online. Because most consumers turn to the Internet to research what products to buy, your books must have an online presence. That will only continue to grow in importance as reading becomes even more app-ified and book-based social media sites like Goodreads continue to grow in popularity.

What do you think? Has the market changed how books are promoted?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway. You can win a $25 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of 25 Roses, or a long-stemmed chocolate rose like the ones in the book.


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94 comments:

  1. I'm glad it's more centered online now. In-person appearances make me nervous!

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    1. I get nervous about them before going...then it's exhilarating! I think most of it is forming relationships with booksellers and librarians. They can be champions for our work. I met a self-published author last year who had written a series. He said he went to every library, everywhere he went (he traveled a lot) and took in his first book as a giveaway. He said every time, they'd contact him after the fact and ask to buy the rest of the books in the series. He had a salesman personality, though, so I have a feeling they were responding more to that than to his books.

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  2. As an introverted writer, I prefer online promotion. But, as an excited-geeky-fan reader, I like being able to go to bookstores and libraries or bigger venues to hear authors speak or give signings. :)

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    1. THIS is the best thing ever published on the subject of booksignings. Harlan Coben wrote it for the New York Times and it was published on Thanksgiving. It sums it up perfectly...especially the last few paragraphs! Plus, this demonstrates why he's one of my favorite authors. The man has a way with words like few others, no matter what he's writing.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/29/opinion/thanksgiving-weekend-blues.html?_r=0

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  3. That was interesting to read about people looking online for products, made you think that is why some publishing houses will give free books to people to write a review on Amazon, etc. Good promotion,especially if it helps sell more books. I think anything that helps get the message out about the book no matter what venue is a good thing to promote sells :)

    betty

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    1. Goodreads Giveaways are HUGE now. I find it interesting that reviews are so important to selling books, since I always refrain from reading reviews of books. I want to form my own opinion. If you look at some of the most popular books each year, they usually have VERY extreme reviews. Half of the reviewers hate the book, while the other half love it. If I read the haters' comments, I end up not enjoying the book as much, so I just stay away until I'm finished reading!

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  4. will visit Masy's if I haven't already :)

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    1. I find the comments on Mason's blog VERY inspiring so far. I can't wait to read the rest!

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  5. I'm horrible at networking both online and off. But I like interacting with other bloggers. It might not equal more book sales, but I enjoy the friendships more. I also like connecting with other writers locally. I keep forgetting to try to sale my book though. :)

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    1. I know, Loni! I'm the same way. I think we all naturally learn more about each other's books from time to time. But do occasionally promote your books. Every time I've added something to my Goodreads list, it's because I've read a post about it and found the plot interesting.

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  6. I think with the web being what it is and social media, promotion has definitely changed, for books, movies, and almost everything. Some of it good and some of it bad.

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    1. Everyone's scrambling to be heard over all the noise...at one time, big companies could just pay a lot of money for a TV ad and get the exposure they needed. The internet has leveled the playing field a little.

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  7. wow. average book signing selling 8 books? goodness.

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    1. Some bookstore chains aren't doing booksignings anymore unless it's for a known author... Independents will, though, which is why independents are so awesome! I wonder if those numbers are skewed because the majority of booksignings at bookstores are done by authors who are just starting out. By the time you hit the bestseller list, you limit your appearances. I don't think people of a Stephen King or J.K. Rowling level even do booksignings--the lines would just be outrageous. I remember when the 50 Shades of Gray author first hit it big, she did one and there were pictures of the line. Craziness!

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  8. I'm glad you're my guest blogger on January 9th! Can't wait to share it.

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  9. I feel it's def more internet related these days, but I'm glad there are still things we need to do in store, in person. I am definitely more of an extrovert, and do well face-to-face!

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    1. I think it's very important to network with your local booksellers and librarians...and for children's/YA authors, the good news is that people who work with children in a reading capacity are usually very eager to meet authors and very excited about new books they can share with their children.

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  10. Yeah book signings never sell a ton anymore. Internet is the place for me, as i can do the social media stuff with ease

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    1. And you do it all while rhyming, which is amazing to me!

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  11. Our local writers association promotes member books here in Tallahassee. I think it's a wonderful thing because people want to support local artists, but if they don't know about them, they don't turn out to buy the books. I think most of our authors supplement sales by doing the online promotions, but I think they get more satisfaction from seeing face to face who is buying their books.

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    1. That makes sense. Locally, you can reach more readers...when you market online, you're competing with authors everywhere. That in-person connection is even more valuable when you're writing for young readers. There's nothing more amazing than having a young person walk up and tell you how much he/she enjoyed your book.

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  12. It is a whole new world out there. Social media is the key to success. And lots of prayer;-) Ha!

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    1. Sometimes prayer is all we have! There's so little of this we can actually control.

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  13. Great post! I definitely do more online promotion, but I love the in-person things more :) Congrats on your tour, hope it's going splendidly!

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    1. The in-person thing is amazing. It's such an exhilarating feeling. For introverts like me, it's terrifying in the days leading up to it, but there's this adrenaline that kicks in and afterward, you're SO glad you did it!

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  14. Missed the sign up! How did I miss the sign up for the tour? Ug. Regardless, I'd love to do a review/Writerly Wednesday post for you some time in the upcoming weeks. I'm open Feb 25 if you're up for it.

    This is one I'm excited to share with my daughter. Yay!

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    1. That would be great. This won't be the only week. I have guest posts going all the way to early February, so late February is definitely good. Just let me know.

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  15. I've no personal knowledge about this, but I know it's not easy. I've heard that more than once. It's your love and it shows. You're going to do just fine.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thank you, Sandee. This is the part of publishing nobody warns you about! I think as new writers, we are so focused on getting the attention of publishers and agents, we don't look past what happens after that!

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  16. I think everything about marketing has changed. It makes my head spin most days; not a pretty sight. But we do what we do because we love writing, right! What else can we do but struggle along with all the demands of marketing. Best of luck with your new book, Stephanie!

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    1. Marketing constantly evolves. The good news is, content marketing is in. Google likes high-quality written content...and writers can certainly do that!

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  17. Marketing online is the thing to do, but writers shouldn't neglect marketing off line and locally. I'll be doing more of that when I publish my first print book...hopefully later this year or next January.

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    1. It can all be so dizzying, for sure!

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  18. Good luck. Very, very good luck.

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  19. My town is so not my market. I'm better off online or searching for cons where my tribe gathers. It's different for those who write for younger folks. My friend Kai Strand does a lot more local events than I do for that reason. Congrats Stephanie!

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    1. Yeah, reaching kids is tough online... Actually those targeting younger readers should target parents, teachers and librarians mostly. Online marketing can help, but I also send postcards to all of the local schools, libraries, and bookstores notifying them my new release is coming...as well as sending bookmarks to some of the ones that are most applicable (in my hometown, for instance, since Nashville is such a big city and I'm from a smaller suburb of it originally).

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  20. I do think it has changed. There is one bookstore in my town and they won't take indie published authors' books. So I do everything online. Good luck!

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    1. :-( to that bookstore. We have a great indie bookstore here in Nashville that will take indie books on consignment. I think that's why independent bookstores are becoming so strong.

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  21. Saw your new cover on Alex's blog the other day. Super cute!!! Congrats on the new release. I tried commenting on Alex's post when he had your cover up, but for some reason none of my 3 attempts worked. Probably on my crappy internet end. Oh well. You mentioned Hallmark movies. They're my absolute fav! I love rom coms, especially the ones they play on the Hallmark channel. I could sit and watch them all day. I always think to myself, this would be a sweet novel. Some are, but others need to be!

    Hoping 2015 brings you much success! :)

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    1. Thank you for coming over! Probably the mass number of comments there. His blog is certainly popular. I found all of those Hallmark movies on YouTube at Christmas and binge-watched! As soon as my Christmas tree was up, I started watching! I miss them already. I started my career writing romantic movies like those...and when those type of romances came to an end in popularity (I think chick lit killed them, personally, because everyone got sick of it all), I realized younger readers were where my voice belonged! I'd still love to write romance novels like those Hallmark movies, though. They're SO fun.

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  22. I think it has changed and that is all due to the internet! I find the internet is taking over in so many ways but that doesn't mean book promotions still should not happen in person. The all around effect is the best thing. Oh I mentioned you a little in my post today and hope you don't mind.

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  23. Your book covers...I adore them all! So much personality and cuteness wrapped into a great cover. :) Congrats and I wish you tons of success!

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    1. I've been very lucky with my cover designers and illustrators. So far they've been awesome. Thank you!

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  24. I can't keep up with all the changes, but I do try. Keeps me occupied and out of trouble, my family says. Here's to that new book!

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    1. That is true. Luckily we have this great blogging community to help us sort it all out.

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  25. Hi, Stephanie,

    Congrats on your new book! Glad the book tour is in full swing!

    The industry has changed a lot, but I like what you doing. Reaching out to your local venues and having a very strong on line presence. That is definitely the way to go!

    ALL the best this coming year. I know it will be memorable for all of us!

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    1. Thank you! I just keep trying and hoping what I'm doing is correct. 2015 is going to be the best for all of us!

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  26. I agree with you- networking locally is essential, but marketing online has become the key tool for greater exposure.

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    1. I think so, William. We interact with people from all over the world online!

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  27. 8 books per signing, huh? Very interesting. It seems super hard to get traction these days, even if you're a Big 5 author. It makes me kinda sad. No more "the dream has come true and everything from here on will be awesome." You're doing a very good job of promo-ing your upcoming book. Keep it up! I wish you much success! :)

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    1. Thank you, Lexa. I hope so. You always wonder if you're doing enough, no matter how much you do. I was trying to remember hearing about this stuff in the 90s and I just assumed romance novelists don't worry about it--the books sell themselves. I think what changed, actually, between the 90s and now is that social media gives authors the power to reach people better than any publicist could.

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  28. Interesting insights into book signings! Looks like your blogfest is going well.

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    1. Thank you. It's been a blast so far!

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  29. Yes,I've seen differences between how books are promoted through the years. With the Internet, there are more opportunities for authors to get together and organize things where they can reach out to the community and get their names and books out there in the process.

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    1. Group events are the best! It takes all of the pressure off.

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  30. You are so right about the importance of marketing locally but an author must also spent most of his/her time marketing online.

    Even though I'm old fashion I spend lots of time online researching a product before I buy so it makes sense to me that an author would promote and market their books online. It's a lot different that it used to be and it's cheaper too.

    Wishing you many sales.
    Hugs.

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    1. And reaching children is tough. They often buy books on the fly. They'll walk into a bookstore and be told they can pick out one book--so a great cover is essential. Most of their intense reading is done at the library, so reaching public and school librarians is essential for children's authors, too.

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  31. That's a great idea to leave signed copies of your books at bookstores! I'll have to remember that one if/when I ever have a published book! I love seeing 25 Roses all around the blogosphere! :)

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    1. Actually, one thing you should do is walk into each bookstore in your area and ask if they'd like you to sign the copies of your book they have. They almost always say yes and they can stick that "Autographed Copy" sticker on it. Always ask, though. I personally once saw a bookstore manager get VERY angry when an author walked in, asked where his books were, then signed every one of them and slapped a sticker on without asking and walked out.

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  32. Wow an average of 8 . . . I'm not even sure what to think :-/
    Marketing is such a big part, locally is important of course but yes online takes the ball for sure. The apps is a good point, I'm so lost sometimes with what and how to do book promos, ah well, we keep going and learning.

    Best of luck with the rest of the tour, love seeing that awesome cover around the blogosphere! The blurb and interviews are rocking too! ;)

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    1. Thank you! I hope they're entertaining enough. People gave me a wide variety of topics and interview questions, so each one I've linked has been unique.

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  33. The great thing about online marketing is that one can buy your book with one simple click. That's so much easier than a bookstore.

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    1. That is definitely true, although at a booksigning, they do feel pressure to buy because you're sitting right there!

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  34. I would never want to be one of those people sitting forlorn at a table in a bookstore, hoping someone will come up and buy a copy. But there is a certain bestselling author who started out by setting up on a side table in a large bookstore. Some major authors were sitting at the table upfront, and some customers who were there for the major authors stopped at her table out of curiosity. That makes sense.

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    1. That sounds like a good idea. I wonder if I could piggyback off a really successful author...

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  35. Although I've had some success going to signings in-person, I feel like it's what I've done on the internet that has sold the most books. Interacting with hundreds of people gets me recognition and I've had people tell me they've bought my books after seeing it on Goodreads or after following my blog.

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    1. I agree--and there's another benefit I haven't mentioned. I've had librarians and booksellers from around the globe see my blog or see a mention of me on Twitter and later contact me as a result, whether for bookmarks or to invite me to do an event if I'm ever in their towns. I live in Nashville and we have a LOT of writers here--but when you get to smaller areas, they get much more excited about having an author visit their children. I just need to get an RV and work on the road!

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  36. I am not sure how I will cope with the marketing and promotion if (no I mean when) I get there. It certainly seems hard. I hope that local signings continue in some way though, but an average of 8 copies sold seems quite low. The internet sure makes the world a smaller place, opening up an audience all over the world, that is amazing. I wish you all the very best Stephanie.

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    1. It has! I get questions all the time, asking, "Will your book be sold in England" or Paris or Spain... I've had to look up quite a few!

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  37. I totally agree that online is the way to promote as this is where most people go... I also agree that doing local book signings is a great way to get your book out there, although on a smaller scale unless you are better known ;) I wish you great success Stephanie... ;)

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    1. And the interesting thing is, people who are well-known don't even worry about it! They have "people" to deal with getting publicity. They miss out on all the fun of participating in an online community, though. It has to be a little isolating, when you think about it. If a known author commented on any of our blogs, we'd treat them differently. (We'd freak out!) They no longer are our peers...

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  38. Yes, I think promotion has changed quite a bit. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage living abroad. I think local stores in the US would be more willing to help out with book sales, but I'm in London, making it hard to hop into the stores. Best of luck with the rest of the tour and thanks so much for including me.

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    1. I know how you feel, actually--and I was just thinking about it yesterday. I see SO much excitement from smaller towns hours away from here when I meet booksellers and librarians. In Nashville, there are just so many authors. They support us, but we have much bigger authors who visit here every month, not to mention the ones who live here. A bestselling author owns our independent bookstore, for heaven's sake!!! (Ann Patchett) But finding towns big enough to have a good bookstore but small enough to not have a lot of authors visiting is challenging...

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  39. ooh, I have so much to say on this that I don't know where to start and it'll probably end up as gibberish! I think it's a time of revolution for writers, and the dust has still to settle. It strikes me as sensible to use whatever avenues are available to you (without sending yourself crazy!) and not to use the internet in some form would be like trying not to use one of your arms surely! But local support is good too - more chance of loyal returns perhaps? To have met and spoken with an author and to have something solid and personal from that (eg a signed copy) is special.
    Eurgh, gone on too much, hope this makes sense - if not, feel free to ignore ;)

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    1. It does! You know what I've thought about, though? I met some great children with my first book, but it takes six months to a year (or longer) for your next book and next... So I wonder if your audience doesn't grow up too fast, which means you're always having to reach the next generation. A 10-year-old reader is only going to be loyal for a couple of years before she decides she's "too old" for that stuff. (I remembered watching my stepdaughter just how much you WANT to get away from little girl stuff and be a grownup around 12.) The good news is, with the next generation they'll go back and read all of your backlist if they like something. But reaching children is challenging, for sure. It's really all abut marketing to booksellers and librarians--parents, too, since they'll buy a book if they see it online and know their child will like it.

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  40. I think it's changed. So many Indie writers out there, it's an easily accessible way to promote. Although, I'd rather go see an author in person, have them sign my book and take a picture. I guess I'm old fashioned. But, the beauty is, we can do both.

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    1. I'd love to see my favorite authors in person...but often when they come to town, I just don't go. That's awful, I know! That was especially true when I was working in an office. At the end of the day (or on weekends) I just wanted to be home.

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  41. I definitely think there is a whole online world of marketing available and I think a lot of it has to do with being social which is more achievable online than in person. It sounds wrong saying that, but at in person signing, I find you are always shuffled along the line quite quickly, but online you can really engage if the author wants to and with such an open market the author really has to want to. Who wouldn't. These are our readers! The most important people. It is still great to see them in person though, but I do think there are vast opportunities online.

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    1. That is SO true, Rebecca. I thought of that when someone mentioned preferring to meet authors in person. That only was a good thing for me one time as a reader, when I attended a signing for a bestselling romance novelist that had not a single fan show up. We were able to talk for a while, instead of being ushered along. Plus, as I've personally found, signing a book and talking at the same time is VERY difficult. You don't want to mess up and you want to give the reader your full attention, but doing both at once is almost impossible!

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  42. Absolutely. I don't even think about readings and book signings because I do all of my promotion online. I think it is good to network with people offline as well as online, though. Unless you have a strong fan base, people generally buy books from people they know and like.

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    1. True! And your Facebook network is pretty valuable, too, since most of us have relatives and childhood friends scattered around the globe with whom we communicate on there. I recommend group booksignings if you can when you're just starting out. A table full of new authors will be much more of a draw than one author sitting there. Writer's conferences also have autograph parties where authors sign in a group. Those are much easier than individual events, I've found.

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  43. Unless the author is well-known or appearing before a captive audience (book club, conference, etc.), personal appearances are a waste of time. It doesn't make sense to expect readers to trek to a bookstore to see someone whose work they aren't familiar with. Before the internet, tours were one of the few options for promotion, but no longer.

    Certainly the internet has changed how books are marketed. Unfortunately, I think many online platforms (Facebook and Twitter to name just two of dozens) have a negligible or at best self-limiting impact on sales. Goodreads is a smart venue because it's targeted at book readers and more closely imitates the word of mouth model, which has always sold books.

    Congratulations on your new book, Stephanie, and much success with your tour!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. I will say Twitter and Blogger have been great at meeting parents, teachers, and librarians, who have an invaluable impact on what children read. For adult readers, you connect with other writers, who usually are the biggest readers in the world. But yes, only a tiny percentage of the people you meet will buy your book (in a store or online). Facebook, however, has resulted in a lot of sales for me. I have relatives and longtime friends who might not have known about the book otherwise. Plus a lot of people who read my blog in the MySpace days followed me to Facebook and some have bought my book for their children or nieces. After speaking to two different publicists and an agent, I was convinced not to do a separate Facebook Page. They all said I needed to use the network I'd built on there instead of trying to separate it.

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  44. Promoting online I think has opened up a lot of possibilities for authors and readers as well. I know I've found so many authors that I might never have heard of without seeing them on twitter, blogs, and fb.

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  46. That is wonderful that you got a request for more books. You go, girl.

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  47. I so agree! I don't think local, hand-selling book people will ever be entirely irrelevant. (And that includes librarians, because they are such huge book promoters.)

    Good luck with your release! It sounds like fun.

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    1. For children's writers, librarians (school and public) are invaluable because they usually REALLY care about their kids. They know them well and know exactly the type of books they want. When they find a book they know kids will like, they are excited about it.

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  48. It has certainly changed, and I think that's a good thing. Online book tours are more fun. Plus, I can attend them while wearing pajama pants and sitting at my desk. Good times.

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