Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seizing Opportunities

by Cheri Chesley

Last week, I got the kind of email new authors dream of. An indie bookstore owner was inviting me to their week long signing extravaganza. The catch? The event happens about 2 weeks before my book is actually out.

Disappointed, I emailed her back (knee-jerk reaction--I seriously have to work on that) and said that, while I'd love to participate, I don't have a book for them to sell. Feeling dejected and left out, I went on with my day.

Then my thinking wheels started turning. Duh! Pre-sales! Exposure! What am I doing turning this down?!

Just to be sure, I emailed my publisher's publicist and she gave the thumbs up, so I emailed the owner back and said--hey, I'm a dork, but can I have a space anyway? Can you do pre-orders for customers who want them?

She said sure! They'd love to do preorders for my book, and they'd love to have me there.

Since then, I've had two other similar opportunities come my way. One is a fundraiser at a home school academy. Think about it. These are kids you usually can't reach by doing school visits because they're doing their schooling at home. But, in SLC, there's actually a place where home schooled kids are taught in classroom environments by a collection of parents. Score!

The other is at the local Elks Lodge. I imagine I won't see as many kids there, but I will have access to parents (you know, the ones who buy the books).

I'm still in the learning process, but I wanted to share my experience and demonstrate--through my own trial and error--that we have to seize these opportunities when they arise. I'm spreading the word about my book through three different communities and counties even before the book is even out. That's a blessing.

So, go for it. :)


Emma Louise Penrod said...

I totally understand what you mean. Every so often I will have something come up and I'll react to it with "that's sounds too hard" or "they won't pick me" or "I dislike speaking in front of people" or even "I'm too busy." In one situation, I almost turned down what might be one of my first speaking opportunities, because I didn't think I would be able to make time. In another, I found out about a speaking opportunity, and an opportunity to possibly get one of my academic papers published, but I almost ignored it because I figured there was no way they would choose me. Probably, I should follow your example and attempt both. Who knows what could happen?

Michael Knudsen said...

Good points, Cheri. We tend to get stuck on "traditional" expectations in book marketing and let unconventional opportunities slip right on by. Way to seize what's right in front of you!

G. Parker said...

Way to go!! Sometimes it takes a couple of 'duh' moments to get the marketing skills going.