The Marketing Focus-Targeting Face-to-Face Customers

My friend Susan at my first book signing.

My friend Susan at my first book signing.

There’s a lot of talk online about online book marketing especially ebooks. For a number of years e-books have been in the spotlight a the main way to build a writer’s platform. The big problem with e-books is that they are often poorly written so that readers are leery of buying e-books because they do not always live up to the hype of the book description.

In 2015 there was a resurgence of the print book. This is true for me as well.  i found that as many people bought my print books especially when they saw me face to face as readily as they did my e-books. A print book seems to have more credibility than e-books for most readers especially when I presented my books to my intended live audience directly

The Bookstore Flop

Everyone has heard of book signings and having a book signing at a book store seems to be the model for every author who is trying to market their books. Whenever I saw an author online at a book store, people lined up out the door to get one of these author’s books. I personally have found that not only are book signings not profitable, I sent out press releases, I put out flyers, and I was even on the radio, but  the bookstores were a waste of my time and effort. No matter how much publicity I have had for the book signings that I have had, I have had virtually no sales at all book stores and especially at the  book store signings. And yet, I sell more physical books than e-books why is that?

Targeting Audiences beyond the Bookstore

Though I had resistance to book buyers at book stores, other stores offer me a far more lucrative opportunity. I found that locally owned  farm and garden stores are quick to not only display my gardening books, but they are quick to buy them at retail prices rather than making me put them on consignment like the bookstores do. This year, I plan on doing more of this type of activity. I need to start this soon because gardening season is rapidly approaching.

Participating As A Vendor at a Conference or Other Event

Books sell great at live events where there are numerous attendees who have a tendency to impulse buy. Usually at a live event, I give a discount to anyone who buys that day. (This price is above what I sell my books for wholesale, but below what they sell for retail.) I smile. I talk to people. I complement people’s children and pets. I answer questions. I give advice on writing or gardening. If anyone talks to me, even if they don’t buy a book that day, if that person will take one of my business cards, I feel that I have made at least some success. I remind people that even if they aren’t readers, they might have a reader (or gardener) on their gift giving list who would love reading one of my books.

This past weekend I spent at the Ozark Sustainable Living University.This event was created for preppers and other individuals interested in sustainability.. Speaker topics included Surviving Disaster on Nothing, Self Defense, Energy Self Reliance, Radio and Communications, Stocking your Medical Bag and GMOs and heirloom seeds.

My church was not only the host of one day of the annual event, but  since I am also the president of the Oregon County Writer’s Group, I allowed the writing group to hold a book sale at the event. Three of the books that I am personally selling are directly related to the subject matter of the event.

It is very important that our books relate to the conference that is being held. For instance, my historical novels are not likely to sell at a Star Trek Convention, but this series might sell during a historical event in Boston that relates to the Revolutionary War. At the same token, my gardening related books do far better at prepper conventions than they likely would at conventional agricultural shows primarily promoting the latest in farm machinery or chemical insect control.

Exploring Opportunities for Live Events

As I am writing this blog I am thinking about all of the possible events that I can participate in during the year.I intend to take a few moments right now and write down different types of events that would be conducive toward book sales. Also, I should be thinking of events such as the one last weekend where I could not only only sell books, but where i could also speak at the event.  I have talked to the writer’s group and we are discussing ways that not only can we get our books to live events, but that we can also work together toward making our writing even more successful than ever before. I hope to let you know in a future post more about how our writer’s group is working together and how successful this is for us. By pooling our resources and information, we will be able to attend more than one event during a weekend when various schedules collide as well as defer the costs of the events between more than one author.

IMG_8330 final copy


Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at .

  1. Billybuc said:

    Valuable lessons here….target your audience….where are they….keep changing approaches until you find something that works….excellent words of advice.

    • 1authorcygnetbrown said:

      I think lot of it has to do with who each of us are as a person. My daughter might be able to get away with certain ways of marketing online online that I may not.

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