Today's post is about taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. The old farmer's saying is that you need to "make hay while the sun shines." In other words, take advantage of the good weather, because it's gonna rain sometime.
Well . . . I'm not baling any hay this winter. But I have had a bit of sunshine come my way in the publishing world. And I'm going to tell you how I hope to take advantage of my good fortunes.
Two of my books, A Higher Court and The 19th Element, have recently received year-end book awards from literary bloggers. (I'm not saying which blogs here, because promoting my books is not the primary focus of this blog.)
Besides being pleased by this fortuitous "sunshine," is there something else I should be doing with this news? Of course. I need to get the word out to as many potential markets as possible that my books are considered "award-worthy" by at least somebody. Here's what I'm doing.
I put together a press release to be sent to my area newspapers and emailed that out to the appropriate contacts. A couple of these papers have previously favored me with some press coverage. Why not see if they (and maybe another paper or two) will help out a local author?
I know that it may not be possible to arrange speaking engagements on short notice. But I was lucky enough to have one scheduled for yesterday, January 6th. I had been invited to speak to a group of about 50 "Golden K" (senior citizen) Kiwanis members. Purely as a matter of chance, one of my books received an award that very day (which I learned about in my email inbox shortly before my date with the Kiwanis club).
I quickly printed out the award information and brought it with me to the meeting. During my presentation, when I mentioned that this certain book had just received the aforementioned award and held up the printout to prove it -- though of course, no one could read the paper while I was at the podium -- I received a robust round of applause. After the meeting was over, I sold 13 copies of my two award-winning books. (For those of you who may have no idea about such things, that's a pretty decent sales number for a half hour chat -- especially when my presentation wasn't at all geared toward sales.)
I KNOW mentioning the awards helped those sales. And I will probably sell more books when the Kiwanians tell their friends about the "award-winning" author they heard speak at their meeting.
Future Book Signings
As soon as I am able, I plan to schedule a book-signing or two so I can use the "award-winning books" line as a sales tool. I'll be sure to mention the awards in the pre-signing media advertisements as well.
Neither award came with an embossed medallion to attach to my paper books. I'm seriously considering asking permission from the bloggers if I could fashion my own award medallion and then affix them to my books. People are impressed by a gold seal you know . . . no kidding . . . it's been proven. :)
Receiving these awards has also prompted me to spend a bit of dough and enter these books in the IPPY Awards Book Contest this spring. I know that some positive mentions in literary blogs does nothing to guarantee success in a book contest. The judges won't even know the books have received the awards. Still, the recognition of my books has tipped my confidence scales in favor of me spending the $85 to enter the contest. Again, no guarantees. But you never know.
I don't know how an author should measure success. I can only say that I believe each author must have his/her own definition of that word in the context of writing.
I can say, however, that having two books receive awards this year is now a part of my definition of the personal success of these books. I still would like more sales -- which is why I continue to market. But I definitely feel closer to considering these books "successes" in my own mind. And isn't that what really matters when it comes to success?
You may have other ideas of how an author should take advantage of receiving book awards or recognition. If so, please share them as comments below. The goal of this blog is for everyone to benefit from my experiences -- not necessarily from my wisdom. ;)
Well . . . that's it for today.
Thanks for stopping in. Cheers!