On we march in the book marketing test environment otherwise known as my life. This week I hosted a free talk and book signing at a local library. I got a decent turnout of just over a half-dozen people. I consider this decent because:
1) I am no celebrity.
2) It was a Wednesday.
3) I didn’t have any coverage for the event in a local paper this time like I did for my first book signing.
4) The size of the little crowd was comfortable, and things seemed to go well.
The library paid me a small speaking fee for coming, which was nice because it made it worth my while regardless of the number of books I sold, which eased the pressure. I do still care more about sales numbers on this book than income (so she says now), because I have a traditional fiction publishing contract in my sights this year for a trilogy I’m working on, and a successful track record of even non-fiction would help make me look like a more attractive prospect. I sold three books at this event. Not many, I know, but that’s a 50% sales rate for the number of people attending. I can scale that up to more significant success with bigger crowds. I think it may mean I have an effective format for presenting good info but letting people know my book is cover-to-cover resources so it’s worth picking up for $20 in addition to the talk.
What did I learn? Well, I learned that if I listen, my audience can teach me as much as I can teach them! For one thing, I had a massage therapist show me how I could sign up for a program called Square Up that provides mobile credit card scanners to folks like me who would like to be able to accept credit card payments in the middle of a library or other non-retail environment. Duly noted! I might have been able to make more sales if I had worked that out ahead of time. I also learned some things about my audience and had a good time. I actually wish I had been less nervous so I could have taken a breath more often and listened more. Still working on that. My talk was a little less organized than my first book signing talk, but funnier, so I also learned that this will vary from event to event and that’s okay.
Verdict: Library talks are worth pursuing if they come with a speaking fee. Otherwise, they’re only good for publicity.
I just contracted with a publishing company to re-publish Ecofrugal Baby (yay!), so I may never get the chance to take all these marketing tests to the limit and see how far I can take this on my own–but that’s okay. I signed up with a publisher whom I’m confident can make this book more of a success than I can on my own–even if that just means they open up more opportunities for me to market it myself. I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to reach more parents with this book, which really does deliver on its title to save new parents 70% off the average cost of baby’s first year. Hooray for moving forward into the new year!