members are encouraged to share events they attend. Recently Cy
Korte, our Reviews Editor, attended the 2002 Wisconsin RWA conference.
JACKSON, guest speaker, was pleasant and candid about the difficulties
and rewards in her 20 year career as a writer. When asked to join
the panel discussion on agents and contracts, her initial response
was "get one and sign one!". She acknowledged that working
with an agent is a very personal relationship and should be a
whose legal name is Susan Lisa Jackson, became a writer at the
encouragement of her sister (Nancy Bush aka Natalie Bishop) who
was considering a career as an author. Lisa writes for Zebra,
Silhouette Special Edition and NAL. In the past she also wrote
several historical romances under the name Susan Lynn Crose. Lisa's
favorite authors include Pat Conroy, Nelson DeMille, Stephen King,
Patricia Cornwell and Dick Francis. Her newest book to be released
in June 2002 (written as Lisa Jackson) is COLD BLOODED, a romantic
suspense sequel to HOT BLOODED.
the luncheon, Lisa Jackson stated that you must "make your
writing passionate" and that the best stories are about the
"triumph of the human spirit" and she feels that she
gives those who read her books that sense of triumph. Her readers
organizers of WisRWA were excited and attendees appreciated the
response of those who generously sent books for use as door prizes.
Michele Patrykus was one of the door prize winners and was happy
to receive some new books. We were also happy to bid on many of
the items donated by authors toward the Silent Auction for Literacy.
are happy that Jane Toombs is now healthy, happy and among the
cancer survivors. Her hair, formerly straight, has come back curly
after chemo. Also a very pregnant Ann Voss Peterson attend the
conference. It is only weeks before due date but happily she has
turned in her newest manuscript to Harlequin. No telling if baby
will follow the mother's example and arrive before her deadline
(due date), but we wish her the best.
the many authors attending, several participated in panel discussions
including Jane Toombs, Will Hix (aka Anna Schmidt), Ana Leigh,
Judith Lyons, Isabel Sharpe, Linda Devlin & Carrie Masek.
Christine Desmet, Liz Hunter & Peggy Daniels encouraged published
authors who wished to enter contests and discussed how to narrow
a book to a synopsis.
authors Jaye Roycraft & Barbara Raffin were speaking to unpublished
authors on how to "Flesh Out" a synopsis of their story.
Handeland & Katherine Garbera gave a well attended session
on targeting your manuscript to the correct publisher and using
a synopsis as part of the query letter to the editor.
which showed that book promotion is a matter of perspective and
presentation either with editors to get published or with booksellers
-- both share the author's wish to reach readers. The bookseller's
panel included Cindi Striecher, Waldenbooks (Greenfield, WI),
Paula Jones, Barnes & Nobel (Wauwatosa, WI), Jody Allen, Reviewer,
and Cy Korte, Book Isle (Stevens Point, WI).
Here's what Cy had to say:
start with an introduction. "Hi, I am Cy Korte and I am
wife, mother, grandmother, romance reader and a New & Used
that when I think of myself, that my business comes after personal
things. That explains best why Independent and particularly Used
Booksellers are different than "Retail Chains". There
is a personal touch to every store. Resellers can be rummage sale
category up to collectible antique dealers. There are mixed reactions
to resellers compared to retailers and again, personal preferences
will effect how you as an author will interact with Independent
I first started online with BOOK ISLE, I was working in an office
where they sent me to Covey Training. I highly recommend this
program or at least reading the book "The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People". For those who have not read it, Dr. Covey
took age-old principles and used some catch words like "paradigm"
and "think outside of the box" and made a million. But
for those of us who think 12-steps are too much, a 7-step program
particularly since you don't have to have an addiction
to implement it.
of the 7 Principles is "Put first things first". You
will find that although we may occasionally be caught up in the
work world, our personal commitments have priority. A benefit
of being self-employed is that we can and will arrange our business
life around our personal life. On our web page, the announcement
of my grandchildren's births and my husband's retirement had equal
footing with announcement of contests and new book releases. I
believe one thing Independent sellers have in common with authors
is this personal touch.
the first thing I would suggest is that you be sure when you are
sending information to Independent stores or resellers is that
you take a moment and look at them. If it was Mike, another bookseller
in Stevens Point, he wouldn't even look at your newsletter as
Mike sells only hardcover books and no romances. So, for initial
contact or a blind mailing, keep it simple and allow a way for
those who are interested to contact you for more information.
You can build your contact list from the response. Example: Send
a short introduction letter with a couple of bookmarks or postcards
and include self-addressed postcard for store to request bookmarks,
coverflats, press package, etc. [Note: This was stated as preferred
by Cindi from Waldenbooks although a press package was necessary
if requesting Signing.]
thing I think Independent sellers and authors have in common is
that our promotion budget is often a wish and a prayer. This may
look like a paperclip holding a penny, but it is really a self-employed
person's money clip. We have to pinch pennies. Our work is done
for LOVE, not money just as authors mentioned feeling about their
writing. This is an area that we can work together "creating
a WIN/WIN situation".
ISLE has a review section
nothing better than having your
name associated with an award winning author
so write a
review of J.D. Robb's newest or Lisa Jackson's newest and 'Voila!'
readers will associate you with them. So review books similar
genre as you have written and build your name recognition. Send
EBOOKISLE.COM your review and we will place it online. We announce
new reviews listed in our customer newsletter - BI NEWS. Also,
I know the reviews editor for (ParaNormal Romance) PNR Reviews,
so often as a courtesy author reviews sent to Book Isle are also
placed on their reviews site as a GUEST REVIEWER. PNR is a group
of over 850 members... and I confess, I AM their Reviews Editor.
speaking of reviews, yes, we at BOOK ISLE do review ARC's as well
as current books. We do ask that you first email or mail us asking
if we wish to read/review your book. Knowing time is not always
a friend, the sooner available for review the better. We can review
within weeks if necessary, but prefer 2 or more months if possible.
Often Cy will read electronically, but Michele does not read eBooks;
so galley printout is necessary.
an idea of timing for promoting your book, May 15 we received
cover flats from Harlequin releases for November, 2002. Our personal
schedule for planning contest gifts is usually 3 to 4 months in
advance. BUT, ALSO REMEMBER, Used book stores have no date limits.
After your initial book promotion - you can still promote to UBStores
to build your name recognition.
opportunity for name recognition is to be part of our Author Gift
Giveaway. BI Staff usually read and reviews contest books and
we make every effort to make gifts as attractive as possible for
surfers and customers who visit eBOOKISLE.com. As this does not
require purchase or other customer effort, contests are mainly
to introduce readers to authors. [Yes, we do give BONUS ENTRIES
for purchase or charity donations.]
is another thing authors and resellers like myself have in common
we are doing something we like so are willing to give a bit extra
to accomplish what we wish. I am not just a bookseller; I am a
romance reader; so I am happy to do that little something more.
It is done for LOVE, not money.
panel members agreed that we wish the author to include what genre/sub-genre
the book is when telling about their book. Tell if it is humorous
contemporary or has a touch of paranormal. ISBN's are imperative
even for reviewer and cover art is preferred whenever possible.
asked about BOOK SIGNINGS, Barnes & Noble Rep, Paula requested
a 3 month advance notice from Authors. She requested a publicity
packet with as much information as possible. [during the discussion
of what to bring to a book signing... One author quipped "other
authors!" General agreement was it was better not to be alone
to face the crowds -- or lack of them.] Barnes & Noble has
a coordinator for promotions, but Waldenbooks recommends you contact
individual store managers.
preparing for this discussion, I asked others their thoughts on
effectively promoting a book or author, I received varied answers.
of the main replies from online readers was "an UP-TO-DATE
ISLE's first web page was done when I set up a page on ANGELFIRE,
and later on TRIPOD. These are free sites and have easy to use
templates to make your web page look professional. Keeping a web
site 'up to date' takes some effort, but if you do a basic site,
there is little maintenance needed and it will be a definite advantage
to your book promotion. Fans have stated that they like excerpts
(online readers) on author's web site. Also, the offer of sending
bookplates and other promo items with SASE on web site was a popular
reason to visit author's web site.
reviews was another top answer. Another comment on book reviews
was that they tended to be a bit more accurate than cover blurbs
in letting a reader know what to expect from a book.
WORD OF MOUTH is still the #1 method of promotion. Be involved
in your preferred chats or groups, but always remember, gossip
your reputation will follow you and its that
one moment you made your worst mistake that will haunt you seemingly
asked the most preferred promotion, I was not surprised to 'hear'
that readers wanted free books. What reader doesn't! An autographed
copy of a book by the author is a very popular request.
another voice was heard
those who already had a copy of
the book. Yes, they would like an autographed copy. Also, they
liked the idea of gifts that tied in with the book. For example:
Ann Lawrence's book had heroine who made soap and Ann gave gift
of home-made soaps and it was quite a hit. So, a 'tie-in' gift
can be as attractive to customers as the book. This is particularly
good for a later promotion where fans may already have purchased
yourself in as professional manner as possible
so be yourself
but be professional. Do not invest more in promotion than is reasonable,
but dont come off looking cheap. A well done newsletter
or flyer is better than a poorly done homemade bookmark.
is a joke about being self-employed
you only have to work half days
and occasionally you even
get to choose which 12 hours.
PNR staff on behalf of the readers wish to thank Cy and Book
Isle for sharing this experience with us. ~ See writeup of
last year's conference.