Staying Local

The number of independent authors has grown tremendously since Amazon first introduced the Kindle in 2007, thanks to the Internet. Other retailers have certainly followed in Amazon’s footsteps allowing indies to self-publish quickly and easily.

With the introduction of print-on-demand sites like Createspace, indie authors can now see their words in print. If it’s done right, readers can’t tell the difference between a self-published title and a traditionally-published title anymore.

This is all thanks to the Internet.

Authors have maintained professional appearances and created online businesses all while working from home. There is no doubt about it that this is a great way to spread the word, get to the market faster, and, essentially, “fake it, ’til you make it.”

But it also creates a sense of anonymity. Nobody on the Internet cares one way or another about yet another author posting their work online.

Locally? They may buy your book simply because you live in the same town.

Prior to launching my first book, I wasn’t expecting to receive the local attention that I got. People were interested in me and my book simply because I lived where they lived. I’ve sold a couple paperbacks face-to-face and I’ve realized that I don’t have to travel far to set up an author table. There are plenty of opportunities around you.

I’m brainstorming ideas about how I can maintain my local presence (and awareness) without relying solely on media coverage of my releases. Next year when I have a few more titles out, I’ll look into buying stock of my books for events. It’s a bit costly up front (about $100 for a box of 20 copies from Createspace), but once you have your books, you can sell them all tomorrow or you can sell them over the next six months. Either way, you’re making your money back and then some.

Ask your local bookstores if they’ll carry your books. They may even offer to hold an author signing or ask you to be a part of a reading series. They may shelve your book under a “Local Authors” section that will help draw attention to you. Some booksellers may be more willing to tell people about your book if it’s local.

See if you can participate in different community events. Where I live, every summer they close down Main Street for a day and different local businesses within the area set up tents to help generate buzz. I know my community is not unique in this. Find yours and participate.

Different fairs or craft shows are a good way to be present in the community as well. The thing about books at a craft show or a fair is that people can’t always get a full picture of what the product is just by looking at it. They’ll stand there and read the back cover or talk to you about what the book is about. They’ll linger. The more people that linger at your table, the more people will pick up on the fact that you have something to good to offer. They’ll come and check out your books or at least take your card and look you up.

There are so many local opportunities to take advantage of. They’re like your family. They’ll support you just because. While hand-to-hand sales might not help your Amazon ranking, you’re still making money. And who’s to say that you can’t have a mailing list sign-up form at your table at a fair or event? You’re increasing your list and will hopefully hook those readers who will buy each new release and may even go back and buy your entire catalog! Pretty cool!

Now obviously there are costs involved, which will have to be considered. But start small. Choose an event that gets the most people or an event that is free to participate in and just worry about getting your books in print. If you have the funds, have bookmarks or business cards printed (can you do that locally too?) to pass out along with your books.

With any luck, these events will be beneficial, but you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons afterwards. Did you sell out? Did you make enough to justify giving up a whole writing day? Maybe that event wasn’t your right audience. Or maybe you could just rely on local word-of-mouth to sell your books? Maybe you could have a small ad in the local paper asking people to contact you for signed paperbacks. Word of mouth is the most popular thing.

Once you’ve conquered your little town, expand further. Is there something in the next town over that you can be a part of? Do what’s most effective without spreading yourself too thin. It’s great to sell (it’s a great motivator to write) but we still need to leave time to write.


 

The Full Moon

The Full Moon is available for preorder and will be released February 6, 2016.

Kathy and her sister, Samantha, have always been a team. Throughout their time as witches, they’ve taken out more than their share of bad guys. But after Kathy meets Will, who she learns is a demonic Dark Knight, her loyalties begin to change.

Meanwhile, Samantha doesn’t trust Will or his intentions. Still, Kathy can’t help but feel tempted by the dark side as she falls deeper in love with Will. Crossing over would give Kathy the freedom to do whatever she wanted with her magic. No rules. No limitations. It would also mean breaking the bond she has always shared with her sister, who has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the dark side.

When Will proposes they take over the underworld, Kathy loves the idea of having power. But it also leaves her with a choice that will change her life: abandon her family and the life she has always known, or give up the love of her life forever.

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