Susan McBeth is part of a group of authors who will visit Anchorage Sept. 24-28, 2016 through an author exchange program sponsored by Adventures by the Book. In partnership with the Alaska Writers Guild, 49 Writers is featuring these visiting authors in workshops at the AWGconference on Saturday, Sept. 24 and also at a members-only salon event on Sunday, Sept. 25.
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Adventures by the Book™ (ABTB) was founded on the premise that books connect people and communities, so it probably comes as no surprise that I believe the success of a book will not only be determined by the quality of the writing, but also by an author’s ability to connect with readers and the reading community. Writing is a solitary profession, so how, then, does an author (you) leave your protective cocoon to fulfill your yearning to connect with readers? Promotion of your book can indeed be a daunting task, but it is crucial for its success and likely will not be as difficult as you think.
Perhaps it will be helpful for you to think of your book promotion in terms of a set of concentric circles, with you at the bull’s eye, the actual center of those circles. This makes sense considering you are the creator, and you are the most invested in the success of your own book. You certainly cannot expect others to help promote your book if you are not doing so yourself.
With that in mind, it is incumbent upon you to lead the way by making available and disseminating information about your book as many ways as possible, through whatever channels are available to you, such as your mailing list, social media, and your website. Once you schedule your book signing event(s), make sure to not only include crucial details like date, time, venue, cost etc., but other relevant and often overlooked information such as how readers register to attend an event (making sure to include a direct link), where and how readers may purchase books, and what they can expect from their experience.
Once you have laid this groundwork, you can expand to the next closest circle, that of family, friends and colleagues. After all, these are the close-reach people who are invested in you and want to see you succeed. Do not be shy about asking then to spread the word to their friends and book clubs, whether by word of mouth, e-mail, or their own social media, or to help you host events. As I built ABTB from ground zero, my first event consisted solely of a wonderful group of my girlfriends and colleagues, some of whom brought members of their family or book club members, and my following has grown organically from there.
The next concentric circle belongs to your immediate community. This is where you can post events at local libraries, community centers, or public event calendars, and at any other businesses or organizations with whom you have a connection or may have an interest in your event. This does not have to be a bookstore. Non-traditional book signings at alternative venues are a great option for Alaskan authors who are geographically dispersed or who live in areas that don’t have brick and mortar bookstores. Another benefit from working with community organizations is that they typically have their own mailing lists and are usually happy to help you promote your event, as they are also vested in its success. Just do not assume they will do so automatically, so make sure to ask.
Your last and outer circle consists of media, whether the traditional radio, television, and print media, or of the social media variety. Do not be afraid to send out press releases for your event, and do not be afraid of jumping into the social media world, even if you have never before done so. Conduct a little research to see which are the most relevant social media formats for your reading demographic, and focus on those few rather than overwhelming yourself by utilizing every social media outlet available.
While this is just a guideline to get you started, remember that the amount of effort you put into promoting your event will bear a direct correlation to the success of your event(s) and your book sales. If you work hard at promoting your book, the rewards are worth it, as there is nothing more satisfying than connecting people and communities through books. So go out and create your own Adventure by the Book!
Susan McBeth founded Adventures by the Book™ in 2011 after having specialized in event management for over twenty years, including four and a half years as Director of Marketing and Events for one of the oldest independent bookstores in the United States. Her passion to more intimately connect readers with authors and their books through unique and interactive literary events and travel has led her to redefine traditional author readings. Susan is also the founder of AuthorPreneurs™, an incubator program for writers She is a contributor to Midge Raymond’s Everyday Book Marketing and a contributing editor to international online magazine Wine Dine & Travel, with her column “Travel by the Book”.
She has been featured on NBC San Diego, KPBS, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Magazine, Women’s Radio, Reading with Robin Radio, Hera Hub Podcast, IBPA Independent Magazine, and others Susan is a facilitator for the San Diego State University Osher Institute’s ‘Ed’-ventures and sits on the committee for KPBS One Book, One San Diego, and is a former Board member for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association She holds a Masters in Comparative Literature with an emphasis in German Literature from San Diego State University, where she earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board Honor Society after graduating Magna cum Laude from San Diego State University with a degree in business administration, with distinction in management, and a minor in German. Find out more at www.adventuresbythebook.com