April 1, 2022 Free Advice Friday Hot Topics
Will an agent read your email if you send it on Monday or Friday? They probably won’t spend much time on it. Pitches or queries? Typically, Keri suggests sending them Tuesday morning, Wednesday night, and Thursday morning. Even then, it's likely that your query is being read by an assistant and intern. If your query passes initial review, it will move on to the agent you are pitching.
Is the Donohue Group closing up shop? Yes, Keri has recommended the Donohue Group to authors and publishers for years for getting PCIP blocks. They are taking PCIP submissions until the end of April but then will be closing down their website. In their email to current customers. Donohue did mention another company who has comparable services. Keri is reaching out to this company for more information and will update everyone soon.
Listen in at 4:30 to hear why some authors who use Ingram Spark for print and distribution have customers reporting that they aren’t receiving books they ordered on Amazon. Readers are reporting that they ordered a book on Amazon but never received it. Why? The issue is often a third-party seller. Sometimes, they don’t ship books as quickly as they should. Other times they don’t ship them at all. When this happens it’s not an Ingram Spark issue and it’s not an Amazon warehouse issue. However, it is Amazon’s job to mediate any issues between their third-part sellers and Amazon customers. So, if you have customers complaining about not getting shipments, take the receipt to Amazon and take it up with them. They will take steps to resolve the issue with the customer and the third-party seller. Highly recommend: If you have a print on demand title that fits within KDP’s criteria, consider uploading your book to KDP for Amazon Sales. This will ensure that the KDP/Amazon listing is the first option for customers to order and will help you avoid out of stock and non-delivery drama. Learn more about using Ingram Spark and KDP in tandem here: https://newshelves.com/why-you-need-both-ingramspark-and-kdp/.
At 11:45, Keri discusses library sales. Libraries pay you for your book, then they put your book on their shelves and actively work to bring readers in to see your book. Keri recommends that you pitch your book to your local libraries and expand your reach from there. Tips: Ask friends, family and fans to request your book(s) at their local libraries. Research contact information for acquisitions librarians and pitch your book to them directly. Or, if you want to reach thousands of librarians at once, consider a New Shelves library mailing.
Country fairs and farmers' markets: Are these a good fit for authors? These can be good places to sell books. It depends on the book. The cost for a table at these fairs and markets tends to be low; the real investment is your time. Giftable items and children’s books do well at general markets. Genre specific events or events with a headliner that writes in your genre tend to help boost fiction sales. Non-fiction titles will do best if there is a strong content tie in.
Tip for local fairs: If you want to succeed, it is important to think of yourself as your own salesperson. You will need to get comfortable chatting with your customers.
Think creatively for how to draw people to your table. Do a giveaway that requires newsletter sign-up. Have a bowl full of candy to giveaway. Create a sticker with your book cover for kids. It will be fun for the kids and serve as a reminder of your book to the adults.
You have to give people something they want. Ideas for freebies: frisbees, bottle openers, stress balls, nail files, and lip balm, wearable items.
Ask yourself, is it something people want and something they will use? For example, if you wrote a book about grief, you could give out a worry stone, bookmark with a prayer, a journal or a branded tea bag. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must be targeted. Think of the recipient and give them something useful and/or memorable.
When is a good time to pitch books to schools? In the spring, teachers create summer reading lists for kids. Many school budgets start July 1st.
If you have questions you’d like answered, join us next week, Friday, April 8th at 10am EST to get your questions answered LIVE or e-mail your questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org with “FREE ADVICE FRIDAYS” in the subject line.