Win a free copy of Eldercide! Read this post on marketing to find out how.

Eldercide (2008)“Kathy and I spent almost all day Sat. sitting around chatting, since we didn’t sell one book at the fair!  There were quite a few booths but most of it was junk.  I did, however, make contact with two possible sources for talks; one for our chapter and another for the historical society for me . . . By three we decided to call it quits, went to get a take-out bar-b-q chicken dinner and left.  It was going to rain anyhow . . . I’m due to go to Schenectady this Sat., for half a day this time. So much for the country fairs, anyway.” 

Ring a bell with anyone? A writer friend sent me this e-mail yesterday, bringing me up to date on her latest marketing effort. I’ve changed identifying names and details to protect her identity, although if she reads this post, she’s welcome to weigh in with her real name. She’d previously sent out word of this great sales opportunity to fellow members of our Sisters in Crime chapter, but she only got one taker. They paid for the table, of course, and the event was far out in the country, so the gas mileage must have been significant. I hope the BBQ chicken made it all worthwhile.

My friend’s an incurable optimist, and she’s coming back for more. Me, I’m not into masochism, so more and more, I find myself passing on these events. I’ve written before about how depressing I find sitting at a table, trying to be sparkling and scintillating in hopes people will buy my books, and coming away with one or two sales. Reading other writers’ blogs, I’ve found many feel the same way. Yet there are those, like my two friends from the fair, who genuinely enjoy these meet & greet events. For the most part, they’re the very ones who avoid schmoozing online and think developing an Internet presence isn’t worth the effort.

I’m sure there are plenty of academics out there studying the personality

Edward Munch

Edward Munch

differences between those who prefer online networking and those who like getting up close and personal at live events. I’m definitely an introvert – probably that’s why I’m an artist and writer – and I suspect most writers are the same way. I like a good party every so often; that’s why I just signed up for a BBQ and potluck in Thatcher Park with the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. But as Brad Paisley sang in one of his many #1 country hits, “I’m so much cooler online.”

Which approach generates more success in terms of sales? I know where I’m putting my energies. Last night I had a dream that confirms my strategy: one of my Blog Book Tours colleagues was celebrating because he/she had just signed a multimillion-dollar book contract with the potential for Hollywood options. I was simultaneously jealous and excited, and I was thinking, “I’ve got to do more of what (he/she) is doing!”

Who was it? I’ll leave it up to you to guess. First one with the correct answer wins a free copy of Eldercide. But there’s a catch: you’ll have to write a glowing review that I can post online.

This fall I’ll be reissuing Eldercide with a new cover illustration and a new title, Evening Falls Early. So perhaps someday this first edition will become a collector’s item.

Contest rules: First person to identify the blogger in my dream is the winner. However, I won’t announce the results until  this Friday, July 17th. This way you’ll have more time to weigh in on which bloggers you think are most likely to succeed and why. I’ll discuss the results in a future post. By “Blog Book Tour colleagues,” I mean all participants in Blog Book Tours, not one particular class. Good luck – I look forward to hearing from you!


8 thoughts on “Win a free copy of Eldercide! Read this post on marketing to find out how.

  1. I’m guessing BBT veteran Beth Groundwater is the author in your dream, Julie. If so, this kind of success would be well-deserved. Beth has studied the promo scene, does a ton of stuff in person and online, and networks like a champion. (And she’s from Colorado, too).


  2. Hi Patricia, Jane, Alexis and Elizabeth – thanks for posting so promptly! I’ll be tracking the responses. Already I can see this is a good opportunity for people to sing the praises of their fellow bloggers.

    I’ve just posted about this contest on FaceBook and CrimeSpace, so I expect some visitors who may not know all the players. But most of you are listed in the blogroll for Blog Book Tours, so it should be easy for others to visit your blogs and learning more about you. I don’t want to lure people to this blog and then make it impossible for them to win – this way they can at least make educated guesses.

    • Good advice, Stephen – you’re a man after my own heart. This cruise had an open cash bar, so I bought wine from that. But sometimes I take a water bottle (Poland Springs is my favorite) and fill it with white wine. I save a lot of money that way.

      Tonight, for example, I’m planning to stop in at the Alive at Five concert in Albany, and I’ll have the “Poland Springs” at the bottom of my messy old-lady purse. Even at big concerts with security at the door, like rock or country concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, they usually don’t check me because I don’t fit the profile.

      And no, I’m not a problem drinker (lest anybody’s wondering)

  3. Many decades ago, when I worked in the photo industry, I would get sent to giant photo expos in places like NYC and Las Vegas and Chicago. Aside from my regular public relations work, I’d have to take my turn sitting in the booth, which I found incredibly irritating. On the other hand, the company sales reps made a lot of bulk sales at those events. The booth was just a place to meet, display our stuff, meet old friends–in my case, the photo press; in the case of sales reps, buyers–and occasional meet someone new in the field.

    This was bulk marketing to a self-selected target audience of interested buyers. Selling anything one item at a time to a motley crowd of craft fair goers is orders of magnitude more difficult, especially if you are selling books.

    Different situations demand different tactics. If I were seriously trying to market at a fair, I might think about putting on mini dramas taken from the book(s), i.e. street theater, dress in outrageous costume, and have a spiel about what great reads these books are. Sell them like snake oil. Good for whatever ails you on a dark and stormy night, take a break and treat yourself to a mystery, etc.

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