CARE & FEEDING OF A MYSTERY BOOKSTORE PART 2
by Jan Grape
More pointers on mystery bookstores:
Best laid plans of Mice and Technology Challenged Woman known as Jan Grape. I looked through several boxes of photographs and found ones I wanted to use in this article. Took my phone out and snapped photos of my photos. Got some fairly nice photos.
Oh dear, these are on my phone and my phone doesn't do email. Well, it would if I knew how to set it up but haven't been able to do that and haven't been able to get to Sprint store to get the guys there to help me. Got my tablet out and retook all the photographs. They turned out fairly well. Actually about as well as taking them by phone. Tried to send them to myself via email. That wouldn't work. And tablet is set to do email. in fact, that's how I do daily email. Have no idea why it wouldn't work. I was connected to Internet and could read and sent email but not the photos.
Finally, gave up and am just writing a few words about our bookstore and how we did things. What this will be is a bit of history but a little reminder of how authors can utilize their favorite Independent Bookstore if you are lucky enough to be near one.
First thing that is important is to remember most Indies have a limited budget to order author's books. However, if you live close to one then go in and meet the owner or manager. Tell them you write and who publishes you, that you would like to do an autographing event and see if they are interested. Tell them your book is mystery, thriller, romantic suspense or whatever. If you have previous books, take one in and give it to the owner. If this is your first book, give them as much information as possible, a jacket cover or any reviews or blurbs. This might entail you making up a press kit. Also if you know there are other mystery writers in your area try to work out a joint signing with them.
We always enjoyed having 2 or 3 or 4 authors and have them do a panel discussion and/or a reading and that helps insure more people will attend. Because the other authors may have a following already and that will bring in more people. Also if you have a mail list or email list to give to the store that's even better. If you have any promotional materials tell the owner or bring them one if you have it. Find out if they might need a few extra dollars for refreshments. You can make cookies or candy and if you have another author or two see if y'all can pool money for coffee or soda. Most stores have a budget for drinks but offer and then let them tell you.
Also offer to get publicity out in your local newspaper. Maybe you can get someone to write a review for the paper's book section. Or if you have a favorable review already use it. Make up a poster, using your jacket cover and your photograph. If you don't have a jacket cover yet, call your editor and tell them you are trying to set up publicity for a book signing. Sometimes even a small press will do a couple of posters for you.
If you don't have an Indie store in your area, go to the big box store and get acquainted with their community or publicity director. See if you can get something set up with them to do a signing. Especially if you have a writer friend or two who might do an event with you.
Maybe next time I can get those photographs to make this all more interesting.