A lot of us had plans last year for get-togethers, travel and more. Then came the pandemic. Some things, like conferences, went online. But others were outright cancelled. I should know; my onground launch of A Matter of Motive was one of the casualties. It was a real disappointment, but I am one of the lucky ones; my family and I stayed healthy and employed. Still, it was a tough blow.
Imagine my delight, then, when the owner of Book Carnival, where I had planned to do the launch, contacted me and invited me to do a signing there in September! I am very grateful and excited for the chance, and I’m looking forward to it!
[Just so you know, the above is really true. Every word. What follows….well…. I do write fiction after all 😉 ]
The whole thing made me think about the preparations I ought to make before the big day. I’d like to make the most of the opportunity, but self-promotion and marketing are not my biggest strengths. So, I thought it might be a good idea to get some help from a PR person – someone who could help me get the word out. I’d heard good things about Bennie Fitz, so I decided to consult with her.
Bennie could barely contain her excitement when she showed me into her office. ‘I just love doing author events,’ she told me.
I was glad to hear that. As I mentioned, promotion and marketing are not my strong suits. ‘That’s good to know. I’ll bet you have some great ideas.’
‘I sure do! You’re going to love them!’ She turned her computer screen so that we could both see it. ‘Now,’ she began, ‘I’ve done some mockups of what I have in mind for you. We need to start with advance publicity, of course.’
I’m not much of a one to blow my own horn, but I saw her point. ‘OK. You mean flyers, social media postings, that sort of thing, right?’
‘Oh, that’s yesterday’s news! I’m thinking online and TV ads. I’ve already got a draft to show you.’ Bennie clicked on a few keys and showed me the ad she’d put together. When it was over, I sat quietly for a moment, trying to think of what to say. ‘You love it, right?’ Bennie looked at me eagerly.
‘To be perfectly honest, I think it’s a little…much.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, for example, this says ‘top-selling author’ and ‘darkest noir.’ I’m not a top seller – not even close. And my work’s really not noir. I just don’t want people to be misled.’
‘Hmm…’ Bennie looked a little disappointed. Then she brushed it aside. ‘Well, we can play with the wording, but we have to do ads.’
‘That’s the other thing.’ I hesitated a little. ‘Wouldn’t TV and online ads be obnoxious? And expensive.’
‘Well, as far as cost goes, you’ll drive a lot more traffic to your signing if people have seen ads. That’ll more than make up your investment.’
‘I see your point, but I’m still concerned about whether ads might be obnoxious.’
‘Look, you have to let people know about this signing. You have to make it a big thing – hit them over the head with it. That’s the only way they’ll remember.’
I didn’t agree at all. Bennie took one look at my face and hastily changed the subject. ‘Now,’ she said briskly, ‘we also have to talk about what you’ll do on the day of the event.’
‘OK,’ I agreed.
‘Do you have swag?’
I brightened up.’ Yes, I do. I’ve got bookmarks, pens, and business cards.’
‘Those are nice, but we need to up your game. We can start with autographed photos of you. You know, put them in swag bags with the other things, and have someone standing at the door of the bookshop to pass them out. Oh, and we must get a life-sized cutout of you for the entrance to the shop.’
I was getting concerned. ‘To tell you the truth, I think it’s a little, well, arrogant. There’ll be three other authors there, all of whom are very talented people who’ve sold a lot of books.’
‘Well, then you really have to make sure that you get as much attention as you can.’
‘It’s not a competition,’ I had to hold back from snapping at Bennie. ‘We’re all going to be there talking about our books. It’s a team effort.’
Bennie knew she was starting to lose me. ‘OK, ok, maybe not the photos. But we should have a balloon.’
I thought about it for a moment. There was probably nothing wrong with having a balloon or two at the authors’ table. ‘I could see that,’ I said slowly. ‘Do you mean the mylar balloons, with writing? Or the regular kind?’
Bennie looked confused for a moment. Then her face cleared. ‘No, no! I mean a hot air balloon! You can make your entrance unforgettable if you arrive in a hot air balloon.’
I think I’ll stick with the bookmarks, pens, and business cards…
22 thoughts on “Planning For a Signing…”
Um. I would have drawn the line at a hot air balloon too….. 😦
Hahaha! Yes, not my sort of entrance to make, KBR!
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I am glad to hear you will get to do a signing for your book. That sounds like fun.
Thanks, Tracy! I am really looking forward to it, especially after all this time.
Haha, but an entrance by hot-air balloon would certainly be… unforgettable! 😂 On the whole, though, I feel pens and bookmarks are probably more appropriate. Hope it goes brilliantly! 😀
Thanks, FictionFan! 😀 I hope it goes well, too. You know, a hot-air balloon would be memorable, wouldn’t it? Yeah, no. I don’t think I’ll do that. Pens, bookmarks, business cards…. much more my style.
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I hope it goes well – I’m sure it will! Wish I could be there … if only.
Thank you, Margaret! I wish you could, too.
Ha, ha! You had me convinced there until the life-sized cutout arose. You would never do that. It sounds like something the former “president” would do, but not a modest, hard-working writer. And then the hot air balloon. Definitely not your speed. A fun story.
Thanks, Kathy – glad you enjoyed it. And no, a life-sized cutout and a hot air balloon are 100% not my thing!
Ha ha , a hot air balloon. I wanna see pictures! Good luck with it Margot.
Thanks, Col. And trust me, if you ever see a photo of me arriving at a signing in a hot air balloon, you’ll know it was Photoshopped!
Bill: Hi Margot. It’s Bill Selnes. I was reading your post. Don’t give up on the photo opportunity!
Margot: What do you mean?
Bill: Well, you have in your archives a wonderful photo that would be perfect for the book signing.
Margot: What photo?
Bill: About 10 years ago you published a photo of yourself looking over the top of a box with only the top half of your face visible. The publicist of that time, Dinah, suggested a photo blitz titled “Margot was here!” You were reluctant feeling it copied the WW II cartoon character Kilroy.
Margot: If I can find the photo what could be done now?
Bill: I think you could follow Dinah’s second thought of using the photo to sell yourself. You could hand out copies of that photo using the caption of “Margot Kinberg – A Woman of Mystery”.
Margot: Hmmmm. I am not sure.
Bill: It’s a memorable photo. Time for me to go. Good night.
Margot: You’ve got me thinking Bill. Good night.
Thanks for your suggestion, Bill. I haven’t thought about that photo in a very long time – not even sure I still have it. But I can look for it. And who knows? Maybe if I put it on some flyers, that will generate some interest. You know, ‘Margot Kinberg – delivered right to your door!’ or ‘Margot Kinberg. Arriving at Book Carnival soon!’ There are definitely some possibilities there. I’m sure that Bennie would love it!
[I am impressed with your memory, Bill, and surprised that you remembered that photo! Your comment, as always, added a lot to my post – thanks for that.]
Thanks Margot. I am sure it will be a fine evening and I wish I could be there. For some reason your “flights of fancy” tend to stick with me. It is curious what stays in memories.
I think that what we remember and don’t remember is fascinating, Bill. And thanks for the good wishes. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
Oh this was wonderful, Margot. Very happy that you are going for the signing. I just wish your books were more easily available. I think there are only a couple available even in Kindle form in India.
Thank you, Neeru. I wish it were easier to get books from other places, too. A couple of times I’ve tried to get books from India, but couldn’t. I hope someone finds a way to make that easier.
So hard for those of us who don’t like to blow our own trumpet! I hope you have a lovely time, Margot!
Thanks, Christine! I am looking forward to it! And yes, it is hard to do marketing and promotion when you don’t like to blow your own trumpet – it’s one difficult lesson for me!
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Hahaha. Love this, Margot! Don’t forget about the marching band as you float down to the event in the hot air balloon. Or better yet, maybe Billy Joel could serenade you. 😉
You may have something there, Sue! A serenade….. 😉 And it’s funny you’d mention a marching band. I almost put one in this post – not kidding. Great minds and all…
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