Posts Tagged With: Shopping

Cool marketing concept: Book blind dates

Human creativity never ceases to amaze me — as opposed to dolphin creativity, which is frankly old hat and I don’t know why they even bother anymore.

Hehehe. All kidding aside, my friend Audra (or am I supposed to keep your identity secret? TOO LATE!!!) linked me to a very cool article about a new book marketing concept they’re trying in Australia (and possibly elsewhere). The idea is that … well, I’ll borrow the image from the article to give you an idea:

Basically, they wrap up books in brown paper, write vague details of what the book is about, and add a price tag. It’s a book blind date! Instead of being swayed by author name or book cover or whatever, you judge the book entirely based on the five keywords.

Now, obviously this could allow for you to pick up a lot of duds, especially if you’re a picky reader. But I think it sounds kind of fantastic. I can only imagine how many really amazing books I’ve missed out on because I didn’t like the covers (and I’m very much a judge-the-book-by-it’s-cover kind of person).

I’m not sure this concept can really be applied to self-published ebook authors, but … still a neat concept, don’t you think? And if anyone does come up with a way to exploit this idea in the ebook scene, feel free to let me in on the secret!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Chapter Book Signing = Great Success! (Plus 7 Lessons Learned)

I am happy to announce that not only did I survive my first book signing, it in fact went fairly well — huzzah! Pictures/video will come sometime in the next week as my photographer/videographer/hair stylist Rhiannon assembles the footage, so we’ll have to stick to text for this post. I now present …

A basic run down of what happened yesterday (aka My First Book Signing!):

8:00 AM — Woke up. Ate Cheerios. Surfed the internet.

10:00 AM — Took a shower. Got dressed. Remembered to put on deodorant.

10:30 AM — Rhiannon arrived. Sat in uncomfortable wicker chair whilst she styled my hair. Shouted at brother to hurry up in shower so I could retrieve my make-up.

11:30 AM — Applied make-up. Asked mother what time it was. Heard “11:45 AM”. Had minor panic attack.

11:32 AM — Discovered it was only 11:32 AM. Calmed down.

11:40 AM — Got in car. Drove to Chapters.

11:45 AM — Met Chapters store manager and assorted friendly employees. Was directed to wooden table where they set up approx 30 copies of my book, along with sign proclaiming “Meet Michelle Proulx!” Family brought water to prevent dehydration.

12:00 PM — Stood beside table, attempting to look non-threatening and inviting. Rhiannon set up tripod and video camera to film footage.

12:05 PM — Realized tripod and video camera were scaring people off. Rhiannon took down tripod and video camera and joined mother/brother in attached Starbucks.

12:oo-1:00 PM — Stood a bit more, having little success with attracting customers. Sat down behind table. Was rewarded by a stream of interested parties (some of whom I didn’t actually know!). Several books sold.

1:05 PM — Lull in customers. Noticed my hands were shaking and it was hard to breathe. Realized I was having a mild panic attack. Realized I was nervous about my book signing (better late than never, I guess). Realized it was stupid to have a mild panic attack, as I’d already been sitting at the table for an hour and had done just fine. Stopped having a mild panic attack.

1:30 PM — Met random woman who claimed to have read my book and loved it. Was confused, as did not recognize her. Discovered she was a Chapters employee, who had decided to read my book when she heard about the upcoming book signing. Was no longer confused. Chatted happily for several minutes.

2:00 PM — Friends arrived (several from out of town) to purchase books for themselves/friends/relatives. Sales boom. Was very excited. Handed stacks of bookmarks to friends and instructed them to wander around the store giving them out.

3:00 PM — Sales slow but steady(ish). Gave sales spiel to a woman who listened for about 10 seconds, then asked, “Wait. Is this fiction? I don’t like fairy tales”. Felt it was best not to point out the difference between fairy tales and other types of fiction.

3:15 PM — Gave sales spiel to father of two boys. Father was interested. Boys were not. When spiel concluded, younger son (5 years old) stared me direct in the eye and said “Yeah, whatever” and walked off. Father amused but embarrassed.

3:30 PM — Foot traffic and interest waned. Valiantly gave out more bookmarks. Bottom began to hurt from sitting on wooden chair for so long. Water supply dangerously low.

4:00 PM — Tentative end time of book signing. Was not told to leave, so stayed.

4:15 PM — Friends began to congregate around table, waiting for me to finish so we could leave. Sent friend to look for manager.

4:30 PM — Manager on phone, so spoke with different manager. Thanked them for their hospitality, packed up things, left some bookmarks, and exited Chapters.

Total books sold = 17

Mission = Great Success!

7 lessons learned from my first book signing:

  1. Make sure your signage indicates that you are the author. Otherwise you’ll get people walking up to the table, staring at you, then at your book, and then tentatively asking, “Did you … um … write this?”
  2. Make sure your signage indicates that you are local (if appropriate). As soon as people hear you’re local, they’ll be much more interested in hearing what you have to say.
  3. Make sure you have something to hand out, other than books. And also make sure your handouts (bookmarks, stickers, etc.) have your info on it — i.e., the name of your book, your name, your website — so that even if the person doesn’t buy your book at the signing, they still have the necessary information to purchase it at a later date.
  4. Look professional and approachable. (Note: Big thanks to my mother, who financed my official “author signing” outfit.)
  5. Bring/acquire water. Talking makes you thirsty.
  6. Have your sales pitch somewhat worked out beforehand. I didn’t. That made talking about my book an … interesting exercise.
  7. Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want to buy your book. Thank them for their time, and send them off with a smile. There’s always next time!

Unrelated media of the day:

This image needs no explanation. It simply is.

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Bookmarks, Customs, and Muffins … oh my!

We’ll start with the best first: Muffins!

I would like to share with you possibly my favourite joke of all time. I’m pretty sure everyone and their pet llama has heard this one, but whatever, I still think it’s hilarious:

Two muffins are sitting in a microwave. The microwave turns on.

The first muffin looks at the second muffin and says, “Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?”

The second muffin looks at the first muffin and screams, “OH MY GOD! A TALKING MUFFIN!”

He he he …

Right. Moving on to: Bookmarks!

In my continuing attempts to spend all my time thinking up marketing strategies for Imminent Danger instead of, say, actually doing my job and getting paid, I hit upon the idea of printing out massive amounts of bookmarks and leaving them randomly around town.

I found a site called nextdayflyers.com that claimed to be able to sell me 1000 bookmarks for a crazy-low sum like $60. I was sold. So I created a kick-bottom bookmark, which I shall now share with you in all it’s bookmarky glory:

bookmarkfrontback

Aren’t they gorgeous? Don’t they just make you want to run outside in the freezing cold in your bare feet and dance around in the snow exulting in the wonder of life?

Exactly. So I sent in the design files and paid the $60. I was a bit surprised that there was no charge for shipping, but I figured they were just doing one of those “Order over X amount of money and we’ll ship it for free!” promotions like other online companies do.

I was decidedly misinformed.

Three days later, I get a call from nextdayflyers.com. The nice man on the phone greets me, tells me my bookmarks are printed and ready to be shipped, and then says, “It will be $65 for customs and shipping, so I’ll just go ahead and charge that to your VISA, shall I?”

My response, obviously, was “Hell no.” It is absolutely ridiculous that an online company would not charge shipping up front … and even more ridiculous that they would actually print an order before securing the shipping fee from the client! That’s no way to run a business!

So I sadly had to cancel my order. I feel bad that they already printed it, but I’m not going to pay more for shipping than I did on the actual product. If I’d known that was the shipping charge, I would have never placed the order in the first place.

So the moral of the story is:

Check what the shipping charge is before you place your order!

And now I’m back to square one on the bookmark front. Le sigh. Anyone know of a good, cheap bookmark printer that I can order from in Canada without incurring crazy customs fees? Writer of the winning suggestion gets a free bookmark once I actually get my hands on them!!!

Unrelated images of the day:

I have no idea what this is, but it looks awesome!

And a cute/disturbing comic to brighten your Friday:

Categories: Random, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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