My most recent novel, THE BLACK ORCHID, was released in mid-March and received a favorable review from Publisher’s Weekly: : “…Hardacker keeps the action flowing all the way to the violent climax.” I was also pleased to learn that My Book Box had selected it to be included in their April box (if you aren’t familiar with them check out: http://www.mybookbox.com). They are an up-and-coming book club. Each month they send a book box containing 2 books are included (one from each of the subscriber’s selected genres). Most often the children’s books will be hardcover and adult books will be paperback. They are always new releases in the U.S. within the past 45 days. Do not expect to receive the latest New York Times Bestseller, but do expect an amazing read from a talented author. Each box will also include something special, usually some sort of token such as a book mark or even just a letter from one or both authors, and when available, exclusive content for the included book!
So, you’re probably asking “What’s to hate?” For me the answer is easy PROMOTION!!! I have never been an out-going person (as a matter of fact I kind of envied the North Pond Hermit–not the fact that he was a prolific burglar but the way he avoided encountering a member of the human race for twenty-seven years). My late wife was cut from the same mold. When we lived in New Hampshire a major winter storm hit the Nashua area where we lived. She and I nestled into our warm home and didn’t come out for three days (we only popped out then because a concerned neighbor knocked on our door to see if we were still alive…) completely content to ignore Mother Nature and her cruel sense of humor. However, I must clarify this somewhat: I am not afraid to do public appearances; in fact the opposite is true. I gladly agree to appear at any author event that is offered… There is the key the phrase: that is offered…
What I have a difficult time with is finding the venues. Living up here in the county doesn’t help either. The closest book store of any size is in Bangor, a three and a half hour drive) and attendance at the appearances I’ve done at local libraries has usually been two: me and the librarian. I have come to finally realize that people go to libraries to borrow books; not to buy books! There was one pleasant surprise however, last September I appeared at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and spoke to an audience of more than fifty readers. Even more surprising was that from their questions, it was evident that many of them had read my books!
The most success I’ve had in booking appearances (and I don’t mind traveling anywhere in the northeast) has come from our own Kate Flora. Kate knows me for the introvert I am and when we attended the 2015 Maine Literary Awards last year took me by the hand and introduced me to several other people there. She has also aided me in getting a number of appearances–the Curtis Library among them (terrific venue! Over fifty people in attendance and it was a great evening.
When THE BLACK ORCHID was released I made up my mind that I was going to aggressively promote the book and determined to construct a campaign that included a number of steps:
- I setup a Goodreads giveaway of five autographed copies of the book 1204 readers have requested it; another 643 readers added it to their “to Read” list. A word off caution here: If you have not done a Goodreads Giveaway and elect to do so, Be careful how you set it up. They offer a number of options one of which is what country(ies) would you like to run it. I wanted to do it in the US only (you are responsible for mailing the books to the winners) but hit the wrong selection and included Canada and the UK. Three of my five winners were from outside the US–two from Canada and one from Great Britain–the postage came to $60.00! Still cheap if you figure that if 1204 people registered to win that comes out to about five cents per registration, pretty cheap exposure. Still it was a bit of a shock when I saw the postal charges. Thank god all five weren’t in Great Britain. FYI, outside the US there is no media mail and you have to pay regular mail rates in my case $22.50 to Great Britain and $15.50 to both Nova Scotia and Ontario.
- I have emailed each of the major bookstores serving Maine and many of the indies. I have yet to hear from Books-a-Million or Barnes and Nobles. I was contacted by Sherman books who informed me that they were in the middle of inventory and for me to please get back to her in June. I am finding that BAM and B&N are pretty much an exercise in futility (if any of you has had success in booking an appearance at one or the other, please get in touch with me and tell me the secret).
- I have booked several local venues to wit: commencing on June 2 Caribou will be starting their bi-weekly Thursdays on Sweden event (I blogged about it last summer) and on Wednesdays they will be having a weekly Farmer/Craft Market (No admission fee for either of these events. You do have to register for ToS–I have a table reserved for each Thursday so if you’re up this way touch bases with me I’ll gladly slide over and let you have a seat at my table (FYI last summer I sold over $500.00 of my books–I was one of three vendors selling books.)
The above schedule still leaves a lot of gaps on my calendar… If you should find yourself in need of someone to appear either with or for you, contact me. I decided to print up some business cards…they will read: HAVE BOOKS: WILL TRAVEL…