Online Book Publicist
& SEO Specialist
The following tips were created by Online Book Publicist Hajni Blasko. Hajni represents Substance Books, a yearly participant and exhibitor at BookExpo America, BookExpo Canada and other major publishing industry events and shows.
Book shows provide a common meeting ground for publishers, editors, writers and distributors. The following tips will help you take full advantage of your participation. They are based on personal experience communicating with hundreds of authors and publishers.
Research the event as much as possible prior to the show.
The show directory and/or website will provide you with a detailed schedule of major events.
This will help you schedule your book signing and your oral or visual presentation to your greatest advantage.
- Consider timing. Pick a time slot that is not the first or last hour of the show time.
- Consider the potential noise created by other events. I can recall a tuba solo while trying to talk to an author.
- Consider other major signing events that will draw crowds away during your time slot.
Network as much as possible prior to the show by setting-up an online contact or email form. This will help with scheduling meetings and allow you to pay full attention to each industry professional or reader.
Practice your "elevator pitch" in front of a friend
and don't be shy to use it at the show. Just imagine being in an elevator with the very
person who could make all your publishing dreams come through. You will have only a few seconds to let this
person know who you are and what you want before the person will get out in the next floor. Deliver your pitch
with energy and enthusiasm, even if you yourself feel tired or bored with it. Don't forget to ask open questions.
Closed questions – those that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” –
are not as effective as questions that require a lengthier answer.
Open questions usually begin with “how,” “what,” “where,” and “why”.
Keep in mind your individual objective for participating at all times. An open question will start-up a
conversation while a closed question might leave you high and dry with a short answer. Based on the above,
- Create a 10 second segment for readers focusing on the single best aspect of your book.
- Create a 10 second segment for bookstore buyers and librarians explaining why your book should be on their shelves. Why is your book different? How should it be ordered? Having a bulk order sheet or other ordering info to hand out is a must. A small promotional gift to make them remember you is a bonus. Have another 10 second segment ready in case you still have their full attention. Ask questions about the establishment they represent. Take notes for each contact you make on a given day. Collect them categorized by importance or level of urgency. I myself use zip lock bags to keep everything well organized.
- Create a 10 second segment for editors, literary and foreign right agents, publicists and the press and media. Include the following information within the first 5 seconds: your name, your book's title, your book's genre, a short synopsis, and the book's relevance to current issue or events, if applicable. Mention the possibility for a sequel, if applicable. Explain your marketing plans and approach. Repeat the book's title. Once you finish your speech, try to establish a personal contact through a shared experience.
Do not include the following information for this group: your reasons for writing the book, the price of the book, or the process of your publishing ventures. Your objective is to receive their contact information, to establish the possibility of a follow-up after the show, and to learn the procedure for manuscript submission, if applicable. Take time to make notes of each contact you make.
Feel free to request a meeting to test your "elevator pitch" on our publicity staff.
How will I know who is who?
All visitors are provided with a show pass to identify them. Pass protocol is to make eye contact, then glance at the pass. If you don't see it, don't be shy to ask.
Have your pass always visible and at a level you are comfortable being glanced at.
Business cards or bookmarks and your Press Release especially prepared for this occasion should automatically be handed to everyone you make contact with. Handmade amateurish business cards or other promotional materials are not acceptable under any circumstances.
In case of a signing, team up with your booth partners. As people line up, have them hand out information about your book or give out bottled water labeled with your book's title. If you have a camera, ask your booth partners to take pictures of you as you are signing. Make sure to return the favor and more.
Network with your booth partners and bring along their information when you work the floor. You may even create some cross-promotional material, which could potentially double your exposure and reduce your expenses.
Bring a camera and take shots of yourself at the event. Include the photos on your website and submit them to any Social Media Marketing platforms organized by the event (for example, the BEA photo gallery).
Wear comfortable clothing. Hold off on the stilettos. Floor shows are usually hotter and larger than expected.
Keep hydrated to maintain your energy and enthusiasm. Leave the enjoyment of any alcoholic beverages for after the show.
Follow up your categorized leads as soon as possible.
Last but not least, enjoy your signing along with every moment of the show!
Online Book Publicist
& SEO Specialist
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Usability Tips for Authors Looking to Sell
How Social Networking Can Hurt your Book Sales
Book Trade Show Tips
Graphic Design Tips for your Website
Articles in print:
Webrings - Book Beyond the Bookstores
Custom-Designed Websites vs. Websites Created on Social Networking Platforms - Writer Watchdog, 2009.
If you would like to meet Hajni in person, please refer to her Event Schedule.
If you are an authors or small press publisher looking for online exposure, don't hesitate to email her or to fill out the form on the right.