I was very fortunate to have my novel, Secrets of the Heart, Book One of the Ravensmoore Chronicles picked for this awesome event. This year was the 5th year for BBTB and I would have missed the deadline if my librarian friend Betty hadn’t encouraged me to apply earlier this spring.
It started off with an author reception on Friday evening. Interesting enough there weren’t many authors in attendance. But I did have an agenda for this evening and that was to see if one of my favorite authors showed up. So I put my copy of Shutter Island in my purse and met my hubby downtown after work. Sure enough, Dennis Lehane was one of the few authors that attended the reception. We were able to meet with him and talk about the next day’s signing and he very graciously signed the book I’d brought with me.
I asked Dennis what to expect the next day since this was a huge event and he’s been to so many book signings Here’s what he said: 1) Don’t expect to sell a lot of books. He told us stories about signing with other authors in the past where the competition had long lines and he didn’t. That was not the case this weekend. 🙂 2) Don’t sit there with a big grin on your face. In other words, and these are my words, don’t sit there, do something! And I did. I talked and asked questions to as many people as I could, browsers, buyers and other authors that were participating. I did catch myself with a big grin on my face more than once. 3) Have something to do in case it gets slow. It didn’t slow down too much, but I did take a break for lunch and I did take a couple breaks to get a chance to browse. Of course during one of those breaks I had to go buy another Lehane novel, The Given Day.
The points I’m trying to convey here are that you need to make the most of your marketing opportunities and have fun at the same time. 1) Make friends and talk to your librarians if you don’t do that all ready. 2) Look for big events near you that you may have an opportunity to participate in. 3) Don’t be afraid to approach experienced writers like Dennis Lehane and ask questions. That’s how we learn and make friends along the way.
I sold books. Not as many as Dennis but hey I’m just getting warmed up. Joseph-Beth Booksellers were the ones who provided our books for the signing. When we were done for the day they had us sign five more books for the store.
I also talked with the woman who helps organize the future signings for the store and the good news is that Joseph-Beth Booksellers is opening, yes I said OPENING another new store in Northern Kentucky. This is huge with all the closings of Borders and other Independent stores. So some time in the New Year I will be signing again at their store in Cincinnati or the new one in Kentucky.
In addition to all of this I was interviewed by Linda McMaken for an article that will run in RT Book Reviews and she’s also doing a more extensive interview later for Reader’s Entertainment.
I hope this gives you a few marketing ideas and a little nudge that will help you to step out of your comfort zone. You just never know what good things might happen.
So when was the last time you did something to market your current book? What was it? Or have you thought of something you can do that might help you and the rest of us? What kind of book signing experiences have you had?
Post Author: Jillian Kent
Jillian Kent is more than enthusiastic about the release of her first novel, Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One. She’s a full-time counselor for nursing students and holds a masters degree in social work. She’s fascinated with human behavior and thought it would be interesting to explore what might have happened in a lunatic asylum during England’s Regency era, her favorite time period. Jillian hopes you will escape into the past with her and find faith for the future.
19 Replies to “CINCINNATI’S BOOK FESTIVAL”
I liked your ‘get-up-and-go’ story with points that I found interesting. It was encouraging. I tried to make friends with the librarian on one occasion. Guess I’ll try again.
What is the protocol for reaching out to a librarian?
Nice chatting and best wishes,
I don’t think there is any one way or protocol to reach out to a librarian. I think most are very happy to help us. I’d decide what you want to talk to her about or just tell her or him that you want to pich their brain about books. Maybe ask her if she has a copy of the Library Journal you can look at and what has she found in it lately to be of interest. If you visit a large library there will probably be a lot of librarians around to help and ask questions. If it’s a small library then you would have to ask her what a good time is because she might be quite busy. Have courage and go for it!
Looks like you had a very good time, and that’s wonderful news about a new bookstore opening up. 🙂
Very wise of you to ask questions of someone farther along the journey to see what gems you could pick up. Thanks for sharing them here.
I had a great time. And I just love talking to other writers and finding out what their experience has been. I was signing books when Dennis Lehane was speaking but my hubby took notes. Randy said Dennis made it clear that if writing wasn’t something we were passionate about that we should find something else to do. He was talking about how hard it really is and I think most of us get that.
Hi Jillian! How cool… I love seeing the pics… especially the one with your book piled high on the table!! Glad you had fun and thanks for sharing your thoughts/ideas and suggestions.
You know it still feels kind of unreal seeing my books piled up like that for a big event. It wasn’t nearly as nerve wracking as I thought it would be. There were a couple of guys there that had written a book about different record setting events and before the day was over they had all of us singing the theme song from WKRP in Cincinnati. That was probably on the air way before you were born. 🙂 Lot’s of fun. Hope some of this helps.
Thanks for the advice and sharing your book signing story! How exciting that a brick-and-mortar bookstore is opening.
It is thrilling that a new bookstore is opening and not closing. Whoo! Whoo! Joseph-Beth is actually moving in to a store that had been owned by Borders and though it’s sad that Borders closed at least a new bookstore will be there and not turned into something totally different.
I admire that you determined to talk with an author who’s is well-known. 🙂 I appreciate you sharing your tips. I’m keeping them in mind for down further my writing journey when I might need them. 🙂
Never be fearful of asking someone with more experience a question. Dennis Lehane would be the first to tell you that he was a struggling writer at one time too. Keep writing. There are a lot of writers on youtube that give writing advice including Dennis Lehane, James Scott Bell and others. Lots of places to learn. Have courage.
Sounds like so much fun!!
It was fun and I learned a lot. I’ve been thinking about getting my next book written which is due April 1st and I just turned in book 2 today. Lehane said he has 2 books and 2 scripts due in April. And I’m hoping I can meet my deadline. I must start requesting more time if I get another contract.
Thanks, Jill! This is very helpful information as I may attend next year because of my book’s Ohio connection. I’m glad you had a positive experience.
One thing I did to market my book was hold a signing and party in the region where the book was set.
Oops – it’s always a plus if I can remember to log in. That comment above is from me!
I thought that comment sounded like someone I knew. 🙂 You would love this event Rosslyn. I highly recommend you send your books in for review when they start looking for authors. Don’t miss it.
Overall- how many people do you think were at the event? Thanks for sharing. I’m filing all these insights away until needed (which I hope is sooner rather than later!).
I’m not sure how many came. An article I read from last year said there were approx. 3,600 in attendance in 2010. Because it runs all day from 10:00 to 4:00 I think that’s very possible. Here’s an article that said 3,500 last year. http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111021/LIFE02/110210309/Cincinnati-USA-Book-Festival-features-100-local-national-authors?odyssey=topicpage
Hope that helps,
Don’t know for sure this year. Lots. Last year there were 3,500. Here’s an article. Hope it helps. I hope you can use the information sooner rather than later too!:)
What a wonderful experience! I’m always looking for more ways to connect with libraries, too.
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