Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Holding a Book Signing With an eBook - Sam Cheever (Special Guest Post)

There's no doubt about it, ebooks are quickly becoming the new favorite for much of the reading public. Sales for digital media continue to climb, becoming an ever larger segment of the market. This is good news for ebook authors, creating much potential to build our sales and name recognition. During this exciting time, we writers are challenged to find new and better ways to promote our work. Digital format makes that effort both easier and more difficult, depending on the venue.

Promoting digital media online is natural and most of us embrace it, using loops, chat groups, and social networks to get our books in front of a ravenous buying public. But one area that continues to stump us is how to do book signings when the book isn't in paper and ink. This is probably the most often asked question by newly published ebook authors. It can either be viewed as a challenge, or as an opportunity to be creative. Guess which way I'm gonna go! #:0)

Preparing for an ebook signing is fun. First of all, if you want to put something in the buyer's hand you have a couple of choices. You can either put your book on a memory stick to sell at the signing, or provide some type of printed media with links for shoppers to take home and think about, thereby taking the heat off of them to purchase the book on the spot. If you’re dealing with a techno savvy buyer, you can offer cards with the book’s QR code and blurb for scanning later.

I like to load my content on memory sticks that represent either my brand or the book they contain. The small icon on my website and all printed author material is a red heart. With this branding in mind, I keep a ready supply of red, heart-shaped memory sticks that I load with book trailers and sample content for fans and contest winners. This idea works great for a book signing too. Along with the book you’re selling, you can include first chapters and trailers of some of your backlist or free reads. Tell shoppers the extras are on there when you offer it to them. Anything extra you give the reader increases your chances of pulling them in and enticing them to buy more of your books.

Selling digital copies of your book in a bookstore can be complicated. If your signing is in a bookstore, it might be easier for you just to provide a free chapter of the book and send them to the website to buy the entire book. But many conferences now allow and even encourage writers to sell their own books at book signings.

An alternative to a memory stick is printed media of some type. My recommendation would be a first chapter booklet. You can create first chapter booklets very easily, either producing them yourself or working with your local printer. Make them as attractive as possible, include the cover on the outside, and autograph the books. Make sure to include your website and the buy URL on the booklet. Even if the shopper thinks she is taking the booklet just to be kind, she's very likely to give it a quick read and you have a chance to draw her in. Other alternatives are postcards and/or cover flats if you have access to them, but I like the chapter booklet because it gives readers enough of a taste to get them hooked, improving the chances that they'll buy the book. This is the same concept Amazon uses to great success with its book samples.

Always include signed bookmarks, trading cards and/or business cards for readers to take home. If you can, provide candy and/or some little trinket (pens, magnets, etc.) for them to take with them. And, if possible, offer some kind of visual. If you have a book trailer, bring your laptop with you and play the trailer in a loop during the signing. Or, if you have a good voice and a dramatic flair, provide audio of you reading a chapter in your book. Be creative. For example, if your book involves cooking, provide a recipe card with a great recipe on one side and your book's title, blurb, and buy URL on the other side. Yoga? Include a favorite yoga position on the card, with an explanation for what it does to improve health or, if your book is erotic, how it increases sexual prowess. Your book is about a murderer who loves crossword puzzles? Create a crossword puzzle online, using things that appear in your book as the clues, print it out and offer it to them, with your book info on the back of course! You get the idea. Just be creative.

Don't forget to include your website on everything, so potential buyers can go check you out when deciding to buy.

One last thing you should think about is a contest. Put together a small, sparkly gift basket and place it on the table next to you. Provide slips of paper for shoppers to fill out with their email addies so you can notify them if they win, and require them to take a chapter booklet for the chance to win the basket. Include a box they can check on the slips of paper, to be included in your newsletter mailings... What? You don't have a newsletter? You might want to consider starting one!

The key, if you haven't figured it out yet #:0) is to give potential readers a reason to stop by and see you, and offer them something they might enjoy, rather than just hawking your wares to them. Most of this is stuff you would do even if your book was in print, but the gist of what I'm telling you is that book signings with ebooks can be a lot of fun and very effective. You just need to step outside the box and get creative. With the plethora of ebook readers available and a growing hunger for digital media, the books will sell themselves. All you need to do is give them the venue to do it! Happy Sales!

Sam Cheever's Latest Work
The Biggest Poser

Available April 18th from Musa Publishing

May the biggest liar win. Or die trying!

Personal trainer for the ever popular, Lose it! reality show, Jillie Maxwell is up for the most important award of her career. And she’s competing against the biggest b-eye-itch she’s ever met. Fortunately for her, she has the sexiest man alive in her corner. Problem is, each and every one of them has a dirty little secret that could tank a career.

For the contestants, the race is on to lose the most weight and win everything. For the staff of the popular weight loss show, the clock is ticking to the culmination of their lies and the possibility of losing it all.

Will the Biggest Poser win? Or will the lies just grow and grow until they sink the whole show? Only one thing is certain. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be an entertaining ride!



Sam's published work includes 50+ books of romantic suspense and fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for fantasy and The Swirl (interracial romance) Award. They've been nominated for and/or won several CAPAs, have been nominated multiple years for “Best of” with LRC and The Romance Reviews, and have won eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Musa Publishing, Changeling Press; and Ellora’s Cave. She also publishes as Declan Sands, writing m/m fiction, and under her own imprint, Electric Prose Publications.

In real life, Sam lives in a cabin in the woods with 13 dogs and one husband. A self-proclaimed dog-aholic, Sam insists she's holding at 13...maybe... Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me | Amazon Author Page

1 comment:

Sam Cheever said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Mya!