January 2014 through December 2014 - Page 24

I by Vicki Moss n my last issue’s interview with Cec (Cecil) Murphey, he stated that when it came to promoting and marketing his books “I’m a lousy promoter of my own books. I’m convinced that Twitter and Facebook may generate friends, but the last statistic I’ve heard is that only about seven percent of those people buy our books. Word of mouth is still the best method and I don’t know how to create it. But I know it when it happens.” Which made me think about my own book sales. What works best for me is teaching at writers conferences and speaking in other venues. Once someone gets to know me through a workshop or a speaking event, they’re more likely to buy my books or book compilations with my stories included. I made one mall sale by arriving before stores opened, meeting a couple from out of town who had been visiting grandchildren. During the conversation, they asked about my vocation and then where they could buy How to Write for Kids’ Magazines. It so happened that the bookseller down the street carried my book. I later checked in with the owner and the out-of-towners had indeed dropped by for the purchase. My first lesson learned—never be shy about letting people know what I write if the subject comes up in easy conversation. Second—never leave the house without a copy to sell. I doubt the couple would have taken the time to search out the book for purchase without first having met me. Meeting the author formed a bond for this couple that I doubt would have warmed over the internet or with the book staring face out from a store’s shelf. Making myself accessible and friendly paid off. Other stories of mine are in compilations—Divine Moments and Christmas Moments edited by Yvonne Lehman (Grace Publishing)—and are sold in Billy Graham’s bookstore at The Cove. When publishing with other people, you multiply your ways of marketing with more chatter for a project. Another book my work is in, I Believe in Heaven by Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk, is promoted by those two authors on their websites and through a monthly newsletter and also on my website and blog. The newspaper where I’m a pundit, American Daily Herald, graciously advertises my books and other books 24 Southern Writers my stories are in—the more you’re visible, the more people become acquainted with you. Since writers have to voraciously read to write, Southern Writers Magazine is a premier way to advertise—they keep me visible on their digital bookshelves year round—a benefit of being featured. Another way to promote through Southern Writers is by way of Must Read TV, Take Five, advertising in the magazine and on Southern Writers Radio Show, and guest posting on their blog, Suite T. That’s my story of marketing and promoting, but I’d like to recap some of the ways authors and songwriters I’ve interviewed in Southern Writers over the past three and a half years have marketed books and CDs. With more than 1500 songs written between them for big-name country artists, Kim McLean and Devon O’Day haven’t let any dandelions grow between their toes. By co-hosting a weeknight radio talk show called Plain Jane Wisdom on WLAC, they can advertise CDs and books across air waves to 28 states. Posting YourTube videos also adds verve to their visibility. Lynn Deshazo, who penned the popular song “More Than Silver,” wrote a book about the inspiration behind her lyrics. By packaging a CD with a book and selling the two at a slightly reduced cost to motivate sales, purchasers could drive home with a real deal, listening to Lynn as soon as they pulled out of the parking lot. Here’s an idea you might try if you write historical fiction: Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s first book was a Christian historical romance with a Scotland setting. She had a period dress made out of tartan plaid and reserved a booth at North Carolina’s yearly Grandfather Mountain Highland games where all things are Scottish. With the games held in the fall, the attendees could early Christmas shop for family members and friends who were into tales about lassies looking for love. Ye ken? Many authors make appearances through schools, Children’s author Michael Shoulders holds classroom audiences captive with a rhyming rap that keeps the children entertained and addicted to more, ensuring and insuring return visits in future years at the same schools. And then there’s Joe Kissack, who considers events