Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Friday, November 17, 2006

FTS Friday: Flyer, Flyer Books On Fire

Here's a question from one of my Blueboard Buds (thanks CC):

I have a YA coming out this summer and wanted to know how you feel about flyers announcing the book to country clubs, tennis clubs, and family fitness centers in targeted states?

Also, off hand, how would I approach these clubs, send an email? Would it be inappropriate to send them without having contacted an individual there to get the "go-ahead"?

First of all, let me say that the book mentioned above has a tie-in with fitness centers. So the question was not just for any and every type of book.

With that out of the way, let's talk a little bit about approaching businesses to promote your book.

I'm leaning on the side of...not.

Remember, public relations is the step child of marketing because it's the only promotional tool that's 100% free to the promoter. That means that any and everyone wanting to promote something, will. So businesses are going to be very weary of anyone, even an author with a great novel that might be of interest to their members, approaching them about posting information about their product.

However, it's not an impossible avenue.

When considering approaching a for-profit business about posting a flier about your book you have to ask yourself, What's in it for them?

The gut honest truth is, nothing.

And if they say yes to you, they open the floodgates for people to promote other products, services, events, etc...

So understand, saying no is a pretty easy choice.

You've got to make such a promotional request with more to offer the business.

In the case of the above example, I suggest two things:

1) Identify if the club hosts any type of youth-oriented events and try to fit yourself in.

This could be a clinic, youth fair, special Teen Nights at the club. If they already have a venue that is appropriate, propose a presentation. Of, if it's a fair type event, maybe have a table to sell your book.

Do your homework. When you speak with them, it should be obvious you're aware of the event already and understand the basics about the audience it targets and how it's implemented.

Don't try and sell books if the event is an all-day Tennis match. No one's going to be thinking about book buying at that time.

But if they hold some sort of clinic, you may offer to speak to those members signed up for the clinic to discuss how being an athlete boosts self esteem...or something like that.

Yes, use your expertise. You've written a novel that supports the importance of sports to your MC - hey, why not talk about it to kids. And they may be inclined to read your book, after hearing you speak.

During these type of presentations, the book is mentioned. But it's secondary to the primary matter. Remember, the club isn't going to book you solely to promote your book. It's up to you to find ways to fit promo in however they'll allow you to approach their members.

2) If there is no existing event, suggest one. Propose some sort of clinic or presentation that you can give to their youth members. Offer your expertise so they can offer something for their members.

It's a win-win for both of you.

They get to give their members a little value-add, as we like to say, and you get in front of an audience of potential readers.

If you get the green light, be sure to bring post cards, book marks or ask if you can sell and sign books after your talk. At this point, if the club has said yes, they won't say no to a soft sell.

Regarding how to approach businesses - it will require leg work.

You'll have to cold call. Or send letters to them with your proposal or request and then you'll have to follow-up with a call.

There's no other way.

Remember, the second part of Public Relations is RELATIONS. You've got to start building them and a call or letter is the first step.

Ooo, I like this question stuff. Anyone else?

Bring 'em on.


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