When you’re publishing a book there are two ways you can do it…
- You can quietly put it on Amazon and wait for people buy it.
- You can put it on Amazon, promote the heck out of it, and TELL people to buy it.
Guess what? They both really do work. However, if you’re waiting for people to start buying it – and for the word of mouth to start – you might be waiting for a while.
This past weekend, I started a 3-week long launch of a book I’ve been working on since mid-January. And let me tell you, I’m launching it with a bang!
I flew across the country to attend Geowoodstock XIII in Boonsboro, Maryland. (And thankfully was able to stay with family while I was there!) But it’s way more than just sitting in a booth with the book on display!
This was a jam-packed 2-day event with over 3,000 people in attendance – so I had to make the most of what I had. Here are 5 tips for promoting a book at a live event.
1. Perfect your book’s 10-second commercial
Seriously. You’ll say it over and over again so take some time to figure out the must-shares. Tweak as needed. Notice I said a 10-second commercial. An event is busy, crowded, and noisy. So you’ll be saying it over and over and over. Short is better.
2. Present that commercial to everybody who stops by
People will NOT ask many questions. For whatever reason, they’re just worried to talk. So you’ve got to talk AT them. Whenever you can, engage and have a more in-depth conversation. But really, it’s okay to feel like a carnie and just be repeating your commercial over and over.
3. Have a reason for them to come to the booth
aka a giveaway. The trick is to have a giveaway that people want. (My go-to is a $50 bill. Most people will stop for cash!) Then, while they’re filling out the ticket, you can be giving that commercial. I don’t have folks drop in a business card – I make them write out their name and email address. Sure, I’ll lose some contacts because I can’t read the handwriting BUT it gives me the precious 10 seconds I need to pitch.
4. Display the book well – and hand it to people!
For the most part, I don’t feel like I need a “display” copy. It’s very rare that somebody really manhandles a book to the point where I’d be uncomfortable selling it to somebody else. But you DO need to let them see it. I found these great book stands on Amazon that worked perfectly!
5. Make your pricing easy to see – and take credit cards!
I had a sticker on the table, I had it on my price sheet, and I TOLD people the show special. Just like at a yard sale, if they have to ask, it’s a barrier to buying. My other secret weapon is my Square account. I pretty much use it 2-3 times a year but the ability to swipe a card netted me at LEAST 10 sales I would have missed out on!
The launch of Geocaching GPS was a huge success at Geowoodstock. But this is only one part of the launch! Because there are still tens of thousands of people in this niche who have no clue the book exists. And there are at least 500 people who entered my drawing who still need to be reminded to buy it!
Live events are a great way to get a buzz started for a bigger launch. While we “know” each other through social media, it’s something completely different to shake hands, take a photo, and get an autograph. Think about incorporating a live event into your next book’s launch!
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