8 Tips for Your Next Book Show


You don’t see the candy on the table (tip #6 ignored)! This is an old picture… lesson learned.

I’ll be at my first book show in ages on Sunday. The beach town of Belmar, NJ, will be the location of the Belmar BookCon; a celebration of self- and small-press-published authors. If you’re in the area (or know someone who will be), be sure to check it out.

Have you done in-person shows before? I’ve done several over the years and it can be hit or miss, depending on the turnout, but it’s always fun to chat with readers and fellow writers alike. For those of us with extrovert personalities, it can also be a bit of a release.

But, it’s not all about the author at these types of shows. It’s really about the books. I think the biggest mistake I see at these shows is not putting thought into your author space. I’ve even seen authors who showed up without books! This boggles my mind. You might be the best salesperson in the world, but nothing will intrigue a reader more than having your book in their hand. Cards and giveaways are nice, but what they’re really after is your book (hopefully). It’s a much easier sell if you have a product they can touch.

If you’re planning on doing a show, here’s a few tips:

1. Have a nice tablecloth. Most folding tables are pretty blah and the white ones don’t take long to get pretty filthy. Spice it up a bit with a classy clean white or black tablecloth. You’d be surprised what a difference this one item can make. Don’t get anything too loud, as you might be distracting from your product!

2. Pick up a couple of clear acrylic standing displays. You can print out pricing, reviews, or social media info to display right on your table. The idea is to make it easy for the reader to see what you’re all about.

3. Stagger your book piles (makes it look like you’ve already sold some) and leave some at the front of the table (easy access for the reader). The table should be inviting them to pick up your book and read the blurb on the back cover. You should also not hide behind your books. Don’t stack them so high that your smiling face can’t be seen.

4. Give readers some space. I’ve been told I’m too passive at shows. Well, that’s just me, so take this advice with a grain of salt. When I walk into a store, I hate it when a salesperson attacks me right away. I just want to look. If I have a question, I’ll ask. So, I always give potential readers the same space I want. A simple hello when they reach the table and then let them pick up a book or look them over. If they’re still in the space 30 seconds later, they must be a little interested, so I’ll throw out my one-liners. Speaking of which…

5. Prepare one-liners in advance! You should create a few book hook lines. Try out different ones. See which ones seem to work and which ones don’t, but be sure to have something you can say to readers in a concise manner. I’ve heard all sorts of lines. Some work better than others. It can be hard to come up with a single line that gets the point of your book across. And don’t mistake this for the elevator pitch. They are not the same. A one-liner is self-descriptive: a single line that describes your book. I used to say “A bit like Patterson with a touch of Dean Koontz” when describing Multiples. I’ve changed that up since, but it usually elicited a response. If they were interested, I would then go into the elevator pitch.

6. Have something to give away. A business card or a pen or a bookmark. The only requirement I have is that it has to have your (author) name on it! I’ve written in the past about getting author swag on the cheap. Don’t give away candy… unless they have custom wrappers. The point of a giveaway is to remind people of who you are. I’ve had folks come by, look at my books and say, I only buy on my Kindle anymore. Sure, you can reply by saying you’re available there, but a business card will let them know how to find you and your books (or at least it should).

7. Practice signing your name (especially if it’s a pen name!) and bring a pen! Believe it or not, I’ve known folks who forgot to bring a pen to an event. Readers want their book signed, even if you’re a nobody!

8. Lastly, remember that not everyone will be interested in your books. Shocker, right? Deep breath. It’ll be ok. Keep your expectations low. If you’re selling paperbacks, you’re probably asking for $10 or more per book. That’s asking a lot, especially for an author they more than likely know nothing about. Be a gracious host in your show space and leave readers feeling positive when they walk away, whether they purchased your book or not.

First show coming up? 100th show coming up? Post questions or share tips in the comments section and thanks for stopping by! 😀

Goodreads Giveaway Postmortem

Some of you might remember that I ran a Goodreads giveaway for my new YA fantasy novel. I was using a new tactic that involved a shorter time frame, fewer books, and a broader audience.

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The giveaway began on August 27th and ended on September 7th. A total of 1409 people entered to win 1 of 5 books. Yay! Over 650 people added the book to their “to-read” list. Yay! The winners came from around the globe, with a representations from Peru, Romania, Italy, Great Britain, and the US.

So, did it do anything for sales of the book? No. Boo! In fact, since the contest has ended, the number of folks with it on their “to-read” list has dropped slightly. This makes me believe that they only added it because of their potential to win it. Anyway, it doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about sending out copies to the winners. And, I think I might just run another giveaway soon to try and spur further interest.

Total sales of Danny Dirks thus far? 16. :-/ Good thing I had that BookBub run to lift my spirits. 😉

Some Thoughts on Goodreads Giveaways

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At the moment, I’ve got two giveaways going on over at Goodreads. One for my suspense/thriller, Divisible by Six. the other for my recently released YA fantasy, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon. I’ve run giveaways in the past, but never two at the same time. The results are interesting so far.

Now, it might not be fair to compare these two giveaways as they are vastly different books, but the information might be useful for someone planning to do one in the near future. If you read the information that Goodreads provides, they suggeest focusing your target audience, running the giveaway for as long as possible, and giving away as many books as you can. So, when I set up the giveaway for Divisible, I followed these rules. That giveaway runs from July 24th to October 7th; almost 2.5 months. I’m giving away 10 signed copies. Almost five weeks into the giveaway, as of this writing, ~70 people have added the book to their “to-read” list and 178 have entered to win a copy.

Recently, I read a very interesting article over at Catherine, Caffeinated that tossed all of the ideas of what was right and what was wrong on its head. Essentially, she says to do the exact opposite of what Goodreads tells you. Make the giveaway short, give away a few copies, and make it available to readers across the globe. I was intrigued by the ideas and the timing couldn’t have been better. I wanted to give away some copies of Danny Dirks to get the name out there.

So, the giveaway for Danny Dirks began on August 24th and runs until September 7; two weeks. I made the book available to all members of Goodreads, no matter the country. I’m giving away 5 signed copies. Five days in, as of this writing, 169 people have added the book and 356 people have requested a copy.

What does this prove? Well, it could be nothing, really. To compare a YA fantasy to adult suspense/thriller isn’t even like apples to oranges. More like rutabagas and kumquats… 😀 Anyway, I think the point is that, by shortening your window and widening your audience, you might have a better chance at getting exposure. The two most popular times for a book to be added during a Goodreads giveaway are when it’s on the “Recently Listed” list and the “Ending Soon” list. So, the closer you can get those two dates together, the better off you might be. Not sure if there’s a magic number, but 14 days seems to be working out quite well.

If the point of the giveaway is to get your book’s name in front of the most people, this method might be the way to go. Now the true test might be the reviews gained per book given away, but that’s for another day. Hope this little bit of data is helpful.

Have you run a giveaway recently? Any advice to share? Leave comment and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

I’m giving away more books!

To celebrate the launch of my upcoming YA fantasy novel, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon over at Goodreads. This is a short-term giveaway that wraps up on September 7th, so head on over and sign up. Danny Dirks releases in ebook form on September 1st!

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Paperback cover reveal: Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon

Two weeks ago, I revealed the cover for Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon. Today, I get to show off the paperback version. I really can’t wait to see how this turns out from Createspace. I’m going with cream paper for the interior and trying out the matte finish on the cover for the first time. I’m really hoping that the details don’t wash out on the matte. I don’t think a glossy cover would do this justice.

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Hope you like it. I think Jason (jasongurley.com) did a phenomenal job.

Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. It launches September 1st. The ebook is just $2.99. The paperback will list for $10.49, which isn’t too bad. It was honestly the lowest I could go without having to pay them every time someone bought a copy! 😉

Nothing like a new proof


There’s nothing quite like getting a new book proof in the mail. This is only the second paperback I’ve produced (via CreateSpace), so it’s still very special. Though the cover looks awesome, apparently my formatting wasn’t. Spent about 5 hours last night hunting silly little errors that got warped between my ebook template and the paperback template. Should be available on Amazon by the weekend.

Have a paperback production story? Please share!

Goodreads Giveaway!


I’m giving away ten (10) signed copies of the paperback version of my pseudonymous suspense/thriller, Divisible by Six, over at Goodreads. Book 2 in a trilogy, Divisible hits the ground running and races to an exciting finish. The fast-paced sequel picks up right where its well-received (avg 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon [21 reviews]; avg 3.93 stars out of 5 on Goodreads [44 reviews]) predecessor, Multiples of Six, left off.

If you’re a self-published author with a paperback, I highly recommend doing a giveaway over at Goodreads. It’s a simple and efficient way to generate interest in your book, and you might just get a review or two from it.

Haven’t heard of Goodreads?! Get thee to Goodreads! It’s a great place to do quiet marketing, be part of a book-loving community, and maybe sell a book or two.

I’ve got a new paperback coming out

It’s been a bit slow in coming, but the paperback version of my suspense/thriller, Divisible by Six (by Andy Rane) will be available in paperback shortly. Created by my good friend, James Cornette, I’ve very excited about finally seeing this book in print. While James isn’t a regular cover designer, he’s an amazing artist and a fan to boot! Major props to him for crafting this awesome cover for me. You should check out his website, especially his sketch work from this year. Awesome stuff. 🙂