Connecting with Book Clubs and Bookstores by Pam Webber #RomanceAuthorUniversity
Marketing experts say connecting with book clubs and bookstores can make or break the commercial success of an author. They also tell us the best ways to build these meaningful connections. However, sometimes authors need a little push to make it happen.
My first novel, The Wiregrass, reached bestseller numbers, in part, because my publisher and publicist pushed me to make connections with book clubs and bookstores. I was teaching full-time, practicing as a nurse practitioner one day a week, and wasn’t sure how much more I could squeeze into my week. However, I trusted my team. So, I made a ‘to do’ list and carved out a half hour each day to work on it.
I quickly discovered that connecting with book clubs and bookstores isn’t just about making calls, scheduling visits, or sending emails. It is about building symbiotic relationships. In part, my success depended on their success, and their success depended on mine.
Author Pam Webber
Connecting with Bookstores
When I had a release date for The Wiregrass, I introduced myself to Christine, the owner of our local independent bookstore. This master bookseller welcomed me with open arms, took a copy of the book and ultimately nominated it for the Indie Next list. She helped me organize an incredibly successful launch party and connected me with local readers and book clubs interested in my genre. She also forwarded my name to civic organizations who had contacted her about possible speakers.
Author Pam Webber
I wanted to contribute equitably to our relationship, so I added Christine's URL to my web page and signed copies for her to offer in-store customers. I also made her a presentation partner. She went with me to several large group gatherings, including the 2016 Virginia Festival of the Book, where I was invited as a panelist. As a professional bookseller, she knew how to display The Wiregrass for book buyers to find, and she knew how to advise me to make the most of my book signing opportunities. She still goes with me when I speak to large groups. This type of relationship helps book buyers, booksellers, and authors alike.
Moon Water, my second novel, is being released in late August and Christine is once again helping to organize the launch. She’s been spreading the word to local readers, book clubs and civic organizations all summer. And, she even set up a pre-order link for Moon Water on her website. Our relationship has grown because it’s balanced.
Connecting with Book Clubs
Early on, Christine and other members of my team advised me never to miss an opportunity to connect with a book club. “Their influence goes far beyond the obvious. Reach out to them. Say yes when they ask you to participate in their meetings.” As inconvenient as it was at times, I did exactly as she suggested. Over the last three years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with dozens of book clubs at home and across the US and Canada either in person or electronically. Every visit has been delightful. The insight readers offer about my work and how they perceive characters and scenes is incredibly valuable. However, what is most powerful is when readers share how the story touched them personally.
From a practical perspective, book clubs like to network. Consequently, they helped expand my email marketing list, as well as my social media following. Because of this networking, several old and new book clubs have already put Moon Water on their reading list and arranged visits for 2020.
As an author, your most valuable marketing tool is you. Take time to build relationships with book clubs and bookstores. What you’ll gain goes far beyond sales.
Author Pam Webber
JRW Writing Show
The lucky eBook winner of Moon Water is Solange Thomas.
Author Pam Webber
Photo Credit Marrissa Hill
Pam Webber is author of the bestselling debut Southern novel, The Wiregrass and its standalone sequel, Moon Water. She lives with her husband, Jeff, in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Visit Pam at www.pamwebber.com.
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer of 1969, Moon Water follows Nettie, a gritty sixteen-year-old who is reeling from sucker punches coming from all directions. Her boyfriend since grade school wants to break up just as they were beginning to figure out the sex thing, her life-long nemesis is jabbing her with perfectly polished nails, and her hell’s fire and brimstone preacher refuses to baptize her. In the middle of this turmoil, an old medicine woman for the Monacan Indians gives her a cryptic message about a coming darkness: a blood moon whose veiled danger threatens Nettie and those she loves. To survive, Nettie and her best friend, Win, have to build a mysterious dreamcatcher?one that requires them to scour the perilous mountains for Nature’s ancient but perfect elements.
A captivating standalone sequel to The Wiregrass, a Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice and Southern Literary Review’s Read of the Month.
Reminiscent of the stories and styles of Harper Lee, Sue Monk Kidd, and Jan Karon, Pam Webber’s The Wiregrass ?is ?an extraordinary tale about a magical time in an ordinary place full of lovable and unlovable characters. Infused with laughter, tears, love, loss, and hope, the story follows fourteen-year-old cousins Nettie, J.D. Eric, and Sam as they navigate the summer of their discontent, struggle with the physical and emotional turbulence of puberty and disappearing childhood, feel the excitement of first love, and run for their lives ?after they uncover an evil secret hidden in the shadows of the small town they love. Their story promises to stay with you a lifetime.