Booking a Personal Appearance Tour

You did a print run of your latest novel. And it’s gathering dust on the bookstore shelf amidst thousands of other titles.

So how do you get new readers to zero in on yours?

Easy. Use the one marketing tool that no one else has: you! And the best way to do that is through a Personal Appearance Tour.

They are frighteningly easy to book. For my tour, I simply called the manager of each area store that carried my book. All I needed was a table, chair, and 2 – 3 hours during a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

If space permits, store managers almost never turn down the chance to host an author. It’s risk-free (books that aren’t returnable are handled through consignment) and their store gets a good amount of exposure.

After a stretch of introductory, follow-up, and confirmation calls, I had weeks of appearances scheduled.

Publicity was free – I used social media (blog announcements, FB event invitations, etc) and sent press releases to local papers. A few of those papers actually sent a reporter to cover the event.

And you’re not limited to just retail appearances as well. Book fairs and festivals can easily be scheduled into a tour itinerary.

Exciting stuff! I had butterflies every time I drove to an event.

And how did it go? I’ll share that next time.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Degree in Journalism? Pshaw!

Writing a novel is an ambitious undertaking. For many authors it’s a labour of love.

And I shouldn’t wonder how many any part-time writers dream about a career in copywriting. Why not get paid to do something you love?

Clearly you have the passion and the talent. And you’ve read the work of some of those MSN news “journalists” (not to sound pedantic, but basic English spelling and grammar skills seem to escape them sometimes).

A quick scan of these career opportunities will, more often than not, ask for a Degree in Journalism. For those who don’t have one, it can be dream-deflating realization.

But is the degree really necessary?

This came up during a conversation between myself and a well-seasoned PR executive. He told me that many companies, while preferring to hire someone with such a designation, are really looking for someone who can communicate with their audience. Talent is talent, degree or no.

Getting past the gatekeeper might prove a little more challenging, but arming yourself with references, experience, and writing samples can help you overcome any such obstacles. And network, network, network!

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to secure one copywriting contract and am working on another freelance project. The plan is to leverage these with the ad copywriting experience I already have to grow my client roster.

Who knows where this can lead?

Well, I know where it won’t lead: to me in my nineties saying, “I wish I would have tried.”

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

The Say WEN Newsletter – May Edition

My column in the May edition of the Writers and Editors Network newsletter is called “The Rewards of Editorial Abuse”. Check it out!

You can learn more about this organization by visiting their website.

See you out there! And Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

The Editorial Shopping List

So you’re shopping for an editor. How do you know which one would be the best fit for you?

Here are some important things I considered when I was in the hunt. If you find only one point that you haven’t thought of, I’ll consider this post worthwhile.

1) Ask for a free sample edit: Send 750 – 1,000 words for them to work on at no cost. This way you’ll not only get a first-hand look at their editorial style but you’ll also see if they share your vision.

2) Ask for references: Don’t be that stereotypical shy writer who’s too intimidated to request an editor’s references. Do yourself a favour and ask. I think you’ll find that most people will be honest and unbiased with their opinions. Unless, of course, you’re asking the editor’s mother.

3) Check their cost flexibility: A fair editor will charge you either the actual number of billable hours worked or a flat rate (hourly rate multiplied by estimated billable hours for completion), whichever is less. This way you can both budget accordingly.

4) Get an itemized list of services: How many rounds of developmental and/or line edits will your editor agree to do within your budget? Can they also include a final proofread?

5) Is an Instalment Plan available? This is always a must for writers!

6) Ask to see an agreement beforehand: Usually these agreements are pretty simple in nature but it pays to make sure you’re both protected before any commitments are made.

7) Support: A good editor should be available to answer questions or address concerns during the process. A great editor would still be willing to offer feedback even after the job is complete (within a reasonable time frame).

8) Add-ons: Will your editor also include a synopsis, back cover copy, or other services if you come in under budget after the edits are complete?

Simple stuff, right? Editors need writers as much as writers need editors so, like with any partnership, choose wisely. And if you think I missed any important points, please list them in the comments box.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

eBooks Today. Hard Copies Tomorrow.

I read an interesting article in the Globe and Mail the other day. It’s about that classic literary triumvirate: the writer, the reader, and the publisher.

It wasn’t too long ago that these three entities relied on each other for success. Take one away and the whole house of cards that is the publishing industry crashes to the floor.

But not anymore. One of these players is increasingly finding itself pushed out of the equation. As more writers are self-publishing through eBooks and interacting directly with the reading public, the publisher is finding itself less and less crucial to the equation.

Many of us were forced to self-publish because we couldn’t attract the golden ring that is a publishing contract. But more and more authors are volunteering to self-publish and circumvent that painstaking and possibly disappointing route of finding a traditional publisher, opting instead to just go ahead and do it themselves.

Although the author’s success as described in the article might not be typical, it still strengthened my resolve to go eBook first with my upcoming novel The Orphans of the Creek, aggressively promote it using Social Media marketing, and invest the proceeds into a limited print run. I can then arrange for in-store and book fair appearances, just like I did with Raincloud.

I’ll be sure to blog about my progress and share my successes and failures with you. Hopefully you can benefit from whatever happens to me.

But for now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish the book first.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.