Monday, August 10, 2020

Marketing Plans: Part 1


This is the first part of the series on how well I used my 2015 marketing plan.


1.    Make personal Appearances

a.     MWC events

b.    Bishop Hill events

c.     Libraries where possible

d.    Bookstores (Barnes & Noble, local, etc.)


MWC & Bishop Hill Events

My book, Clouds Over Bishop Hill, was uploaded to CreateSpace around noon on Aug. 26, 2016. CreateSpace was a print on demand publishing platform that has since merged with Kindle Direct Publishing, KDP. My publisher, MWC Press, ordered 200 copies that arrived in time for our planned book launch events that began with Bishop Hill’s Ag Days celebration in late September.

I really lucked out with my book launch events, I had three.

The first one came as a surprise and an honor. I was invited into the very museum that is shown in silhouette on the cover of Clouds Over Bishop Hill. It went very well even though a few people straggled in after I’d started my reading. Not that it mattered since I’d started with the first chapter. I learned later it is best to read the more action-packed passages. Yes, Bishop Hill can be exciting.

The second book launch event was held a week later and was hosted by dear friends at the Feathered Nest gift shop. It was well attended.

The third was held at the Midwest Writing Center when their office was still located in the Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport. I was still reading that first chapter and explaining how I came up with my composite characters. An important lesson I learned that day was not to be apologetic, to stand up for my work.

I made it part of my schedule to return to Bishop Hill for every major festival. I would set up my table display of books, business cards, brochures, bookmarks, and newspaper clippings at the Colony Store, the Steeple Building, and the Colony Blacksmith Shop for the rest of 2016, all of 2017, and some of 2018.



Early on I made it a point to offer Clouds Over Bishop Hill for placement in regional libraries. Even though my work was fiction, by setting my action in and around Bishop Hill, by using the general outline of its history, I was trying to capture it as another one of my characters. That I believed gave the book added value. I also wanted to reach readers who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to purchase books.

My best attended library event was a Read Local at the Bettendorf Public Library. I still felt new to the Quad Cities and hadn’t expected much of a turnout. I made up flyers that had the book cover and excepts from reviews along with location, date, and logos of the sponsors (MWC & BPL). At that time, I attended three book clubs in Davenport and a grief support group in Moline. They all got flyers. I handed out flyers to my main critique group, Writer’s Studio. I did an old-fashioned mailing to people living in my neighborhood using stamps commemorating the upcoming solar eclipse. I was included in the BPL’s color brochure for Read Local and in other library announcements. On my night I got a few people from each group I’d reached out to. So, instead of getting the usual dozen or so for an average reading we had to keep adding chairs. We ran out of books to sell. It was great!

I did a library reading in Monmouth and one in Kewanee for a genealogical society. I made plans to contact libraries within a 60-mile radius of the Quad Cities but didn’t follow through with the campaign. Traveling costs had become a deterrent by that time.



I approached the Barnes & Noble at North Park Mall, Davenport, about selling my book. I was prepared for failure and was totally astonished when the person I was talking to ordered four copies online. I think I had to promise to be responsible for any unsold books. I soon had my book on their shelf. However, that pleasantness didn’t last long. Landing a reading proved to be very difficult to set up. I managed to be included as one of five MWC authors. As far as I could tell there was little in-store promotion. It turned into one of those shows where vendors were buying from each other. I did get paid for the last book I left on consignment with B&N. They have been restructuring, so, I would go back to B&N again to see what I could arrange for my next book, but I would make sure I knew the exact terms of the deal.

I never tried the Book Rack or the Brewed Book, Davenport bookstores, with the first book. I was trying to be loyal to B&N. I would definitely approach them with the new book. The same with River Lights in Dubuque. Anything within a reasonable driving range is fair game. There is an old adage: The second book helps to sell the first. It will be tested.

Read Local at the Bettendorf Public Library.

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