Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Selling--5 Essential Tips

Thanks to this writers' group (which by the way is a great group), authors were invited to sell their books at at the Island County Christmas Fair on Whidbey Island this month, so that's what I did. Selling at these events can bring in more money than royalties, but only if you watch the bottom line.

Since my own experience was a learning curve on what not to do when selling books at events, here are five helpful tips from the wisdom of my rearview mirror:
  • First, determine the distance and cost for driving to and from the event. If you take a ferry, factor in that cost too, before deciding whether or not to participate. Knowing this cost can help you determine how much to ask for your books. (I always want to give people a deal, and if you're in this boat, beware of costs you might miss.)
  • Second calculate your gross sales for all the books you take. Deduct 15% or 30% from this number (or the percentage the event sponsers take from your sales); add the cost of your inventory, plus mileage costs and then decide if you still want to participate.
  • Third (and this is the most important) write down the number of books for sale on a receipt. Take two copies of the receipt to the event; get them both signed. Keep one copy and clearly mark every book for for sale in a unique way. If possible, count the books carefully in front of the person who will sell them, and be sure to ask when you'll be paid for the books sold. Leave your name (clearly printed) and address for the check. Specify that you want the number of books that were sold, listed. It's interesting how long it can take to get a check for books sold. And it's not fun when a smaller check arrives without a number of book totals for sales. It's much better to hash out these business details before selling books.
  • Fourth--inquire when you can expect payment. Also, ask what to do if your sales number doesn't match the event managers' accounting. (No one wants to go count receipts after an event is over.) It's up to the author to remember that book selling is a business; the state and Feds want to know how many books you sell.
  • Fifth--pick up your books at the time specified; make sure you have all of your inventory, and get a signature on the number of books you pick up. Make sure this is the only inventory left and other books will be accounted for in sales.
Promising events can go south when you don't plan adequately. Checks received may be less than expected, no book totals are listed, or missing inventory turns up in other peoples' hands, and suddenly it's inconvenient for a recount. Line up all your ducks beforehand and you'll have less surprises.

The bottom line is this: If you don't treat your book like a business, no one else will either.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Andy Warhol Marketing and Networking

I take this sign to book events and when I go home, I leave postcards for my book. See them in the little slot? The postcard has my book cover on the front and a recipe on the back. The most recent is a Kale, Apple, Cranberry and Avocado Salad. Revised from my blog, the idea is to keep it for easy reference, collect them all, and remember my book. These postcards are my current version of Andy Warhol marketing.

Years ago I was inspired by Barbara Winter who was the first and only person I know to talk about Andy Warhol marketing. The essence is simple--"be ubiquitous."

Andy Warhol was the definition of pop art in the 70s--Campbell's soup cans, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. Warhol's face was on magazines and newspapers everywhere, and even today his face is on IPods, t-shirts, beach towels. Now twenty three years after his death the New York Times still says, "He's everywhere, like an aesthetic vampire haunting the culture, taunting the art world, making cash registers sing."

I can't help but think that Warhol would have loved the networking/marketing world today. Internet possibilities of reaching millions more people are endless. I love the idea of expanding my circles of friends, connections and interests and writing about it, whether it be for Foodista, Culinate, Cookstr, FaceBook Scribd, or Linked-in. But sometimes I long for more traditional ways of networking and marketing, that face-to-face contact we all seem to crave.

Grassroots marketing involves doing events and classes can also imply networking on a more personal level. I am a fan of writers' conferences like this one and this one. Or as a chef, I might want to find fellow writers in the ICAP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). But sometimes there are mixers like this one, open to anyone interested in food, you never know who will be there.

My idea is you should go to any event with high expectations (keep your goals in mind). Here are a five things to ask yourself these five things before you network:
  • What are my goals?
  • Who do I hope to meet? Why?
  • Will I connect with other people who can help me meet my goals?
  • How will this help my book sales or build my platform?
  • What are my limitations? Do crowds, dressing up and putting on attitude, or noisy backgrounds annoy me too much?
  • What takeaway will tell me this is worth a repeat?
Think social networking on the Internet has to be more effective? Maybe you should ask yourself these same questions when faced with an Internet site.

While both approaches may work, I think Warhol would have chosen making Internet connections. Just a guess; what do you think?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meet Your Publishers; Connect with Other Authors; Sell to Libraries

Meet your publishers before you sign your name on the book contract.

That said: Even though my book was released last May, I just met with my publishers for the very first time in October. And once I did, I discovered why it's crucial to meet publishers in the beginning of a project. You gain an understanding about office relationships and you'll notice many things that you can't ever realize from phone conversations and emails.

Why didn't I consider this in the beginning? Because I'm often impulsive and I always see the picture more clearly in my rearview mirror. Those ah ha moments--they grab you and a lightbulb illuminates what wasn't obvious before. I didn't realize at the time I signed the contract that for better or worse the publisher-author relationship is like a marriage. Like a child, the book forever links you together, and if you want to make sales and get your platform out there, you have to find a way to make the relationship work. So take your time, find the right publisher, meet them first before you take that big step with your baby.

Why wait this long to actually meet the publisher? For one thing, Timber Press got my book from a publicity agent. No one ever said, "Come down to our offices, lets's meet." The proposed book was supposed to be an easy revision, just a few incissions and additions here and there. But the project morphed into a complete facelift and ended up with me missing 4 deadlines. Much of the original text required significant revisions, and by then my conversations with the publisher were only by phone or email. Also no one at Timber Press ever asked me to stop and meet everyone at the office, not until recently. When you think about it, it's like getting married to someone on the Internet; you'll never know all the details until you acutally meet.

From all those emails and phone conversations, I'd formed opinons of people and even pictures of them way before the meeting. Once I met them I realized I never could have known about the nuances of relationships and how the company operated. If I had more than rearview mirror wisdom, I might have done things differently in the beginning of my book project.

When my publicist asked me to stop by for lunch in October, we were joined by my acquiring editor an another author. Luckily the day was sunny and warm for this casual lunch get together, but the meeting wasn't what I'd hoped for. I'd been counting on picking up great marketing tips from my publicist and getting excited about marketing for my so called "book tour." But lunch was all lite jokes and small talk, and after I left, I realized that what my writing mentor and friend Roberta Cruger said was true--book publishers today are little more than distributors. They get your book out there, but if you want to rack up sales, it's up to the author.

One thing I discovered at this meeting was Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo had also submitted a manuscript to Timber Press. The aquiring editor and publicist spoke as if the Rancho Gordo book would be out next spring. I didn't catch much more than a menion of the book but I was intrigued and impressed. I love Rancho Gordo beans. Timber Press really was branching into foods, I thought. This was one book I'd definitely want to read.
Connect with other authors. I never thought about connecting with other Timber Press authors, it just happened, quite by accident. First, I was shocked when Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm said he had just submitted his manuscript for a book about corn. I was immediately intrigued because Anthony and Carol Boutard grow corn for polenta and corn for popping and because I know any book by Anthony Boutard has got thorough and it's bound to be good. So when Anthony and Carol mentioned the book, we shared experiences, discussed opinions and details about our writing and submissions as well as the ups and downs of working with editors.

Then a few weeks later, when I stopped at the Rancho Gordo booth at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmers' market, I hoped to connect with Steve Sando, but he wasn't at the market that day. So I left my card. Later I blogged about the encounter. I didn't think anything more about it and was so surprised and delighted when Steve contacted me and told me about his book project and how it was for him working with Timber Press. This kind of information between authors is valuable and is so much more useful when trying to decide which publisher to submit your manuscrip to than discussing details after publication. Not that I have any regrets except that I was impulsive and I assumed it would be an easy submission when I signed the contract.

I loved hearing about Anthony's project and I'm very intrigued about what the Rancho Gordo book will be like. I'll definitely buy both books next spring. But that's all fun and excitement, the big learning curve here was contacting other authors.

If you haven't got a book contract yet, contact other authors and for better or worse, get a bigger picture of the publishing company. And don't just go with recommendations from your publisher. Seek out authors and find out what their experience was like, it can only enhance your book publishing experience, should you decide to go the traditional publishing route.

Sell to Libraries
According to the American Library Association libraries buy more than 1.8 billion books annually, and in this economic downturn, many more people are turning to libraries for books and entertainment. Even though events tend to be free, libraries often pay for speakers to address timely topics, so it's a good idea even if you have to donate your book to a library to get their attention.

I decided to contact the library near my home and the librarians I initially spoke to were uncertain about how to get my book into the library system. Eventually I connected with the right person and the library had purchased 9 copies of my book for the Sno-Isle library system. I was also shocked that the cover displayed at the library was not the one that is really on my book, but I can't complain about details now because I'm a scheduled speaker in March for their spring line up.

Speaking of libraries, I'll be at the Port Townsend Library tomorrow for their 4th annual dessert auction. This library selects a cookbook to feature at this event and I was honored this year when they chose my book. I'll be making a Cranberry-Raspberry Slump, then I'll be signing and selling copies of my book. Check out the recipe on Food Connections; I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Advice from Agents

I'm planning on interviewing a friend who has an agent and is looking for a publisher. She's bound to get one because her book is timely, and it's a memoir. I had my questions for her mapped out and suddenly I thought why not look through old issues of The Writer, for better questions. So I scanned issues for interviews.

But I continually got distracted. A good article here and there and then I stumbled across one titled: "Timely Advice from Agents" in an issue from 2009. It's about grabbing an agent's attention and every agent mentioned the crappy economy. Is it a little off track from book marketing? You be the judge; check out these five tips about selling your book in a down economy:

1. Develop durability, market sense. "Have a solid platform, marketing savvy and basic durability," says Rita Rosenkranz of the Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in New York. Her best advice is to stay in touch with your audience. Connect with them in a consistent way. (Possibly giving things away as in number 3.)

2. Now is the time to be writing. "It's harder to sell a book to a publisher," says Peter Rubie the CEO of FinePrint Literary Management in New York City. (Got to love this kind of optimism.) "Authors have to go that extra mile in polishing their manuscripts and coming up with a truly compelling idea or concept as well as establishing strong platforms." His best recession advice is it's better to be writing the book rather than trying to sell it in this economy. (I'll second that. Selling a book takes persistence and consistent marketing.)

3. Build a Web following. "Give your work away for free. Use every chance that comes your way to expand your audience," says Ellen Geiger, a senior agent with the Frances Golden Literary Agency in New York. (Not sure what you live on while giving it all away--maybe just put in lots of extra hours. She should have added: skip the sleep, it's highly overrated these days.) Her best advice is to live modestly even if you received a big book advance. These are uncertain times for writers.

4. Develop your own brand. "Writers need to develop their own brands rather than identifying too closely with a particular publisher or medium," says Robin Mizel, a literary agent in the Midwest. Relying too much on one medium or one form of publicity to generate income is too risky at a time when publishing companies are downsizing and losing jobs. Do consider posting a video for your book on YouTube and proposing a column for a magazine or newspaper.
Her most encouraging words were "It's a great time for writers who are willing to take risks and try new things." (I was just wondering who would loan me a kitchen to make a video.)

5. Platform is crucial. "Platform is more important than ever, especially for nonfiction writers," says Janet Rosen an agent for Sheree Bykofsky Associates in New Yourd City. Her best advice is timeless: "Write well, meet deadlines, give people something they really need and want to read." Give the reader a reason to care deeply about your book. Take time, build community, and deliver the book your readers have been waiting for. (More giveaways--it's that economy story again.)

Maybe I didn't pick up more ideas for questions for my friend's upcoming interview, but it's an eye opener when they can't get any more depressing about writing a book today. Every agent mentioned giving things away in various way for marketing. Who's on board to write that book now? Only the truly passionate writers as it has been in all times. It adds up to working more for less and budgeting wisely when marketing a book for most writers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

News Updates; Cooking Demos; and Meet and Greets

I've been in Oregon and then working on my other blog, an article about the cuisine of Argentina for Vegetarian Journal, and a column about making soup. Then there are the two interviews I need to organize, one for a blog post and another for an article.

A writer often has to choose whether to write paid-for articles or do a live marketing event which brings in money, but not much and not right now. In other words, it doesn't pay for the tomatoes. That's one reason writing a column is a great idea for authors. I wrote about that in my last post.

Last week, I drove to Portland, had lunch with my publishers, and did a cooking demo at Portland farmers' market. It amazes me how different each cooking demo is and a chef/author really has to weigh the pros and cons before doing one, especially in areas that don't have established kitchens like farmers' markets. One of the downsides is you must always bring some kind of cooking equipment, and unless you're skilled at doing this on a regular basis, you could miss something really important.

Cooking Demo Book Tours
Checking out the venue site ahead of time and meeting the demo coordinator is always a good plan, but sometimes that isn't possible. And othertimes it seems that no matter how much you prepare, there's always something that comes up and bites you. At the Portland farmers' market, I realized I should have brought my own disposable gloves and I should have asked about clean-up. But I did bring my own towels, and these were in such short supply my assistant asked if I brought any.

Another thing I didn't think to ask about was clean-up. Where to do it at the Portland market was a puzzle. Just a bucket below the hand washing station. When I began rinsing the dishes, food fell into this bucket and I wondered where the water was dumped afterwards. I finallyt gave up, took most of my dishes home without washing them. (Drove them home to Washington after they sat in my car for a day and developed an unappetizing crust. Washing crusty dishes is exactly the thing you don't want to do after driving so 200 plus miles for an event.)

The growing list of "should-have-brought" "should have asked" inspired me to write a few helpful lists for chef/authors on book tours doing farmers' markets and other events.

6 questions to ask before a cooking event
1. Are there burners available? How many? What kind?
2. Is there an electrical outlet for a food processor or blender?
3. What kind of equipment is available? Pots, pans etc.
4. Will I have an assistant? What will the assistant do? Prep? Clean-up?
5. Do you provide individual serving dishes? Napkins? Paper towels?
6. Where can I wash my dishes?

10 essential items for any cooking demo
1. disposable gloves
2. cloth/paper towels
2. knives
3. cutting board
4. pot scrubber
5. measuring spoons/cups
6. spoon for stirring
7. spatula/tongs
8. peeler/microplane zester
9. strainer
10. Serving dishes

Also it's good to ask about health code requirements, and when in doubt, pick easy dishes, so if things go wrong, they won't go horribly wrong.

Meet and Greets
Unlike cooking demos and author readings, the "Meet and Greet" is an easy fun event where you contact a store, pick a date and set up a table with your books. It's an easy fun event where you greet customers, tell stories about your book and sign copies for the folks to come out to see you. You meet lots of interesting people and it can be great fun.

One of my best "Meet and Greets" was at Edmonds Bookshop where owneer Mary Kay Sneeringer made carrot hummus from my book and so many friends and people, some I hadn't seen in years, stopped by. I also brought some biscotti to share, also made from one of the recipes in my book.

I had a great "Meet and Greet" event at GrassRoots bookstore in Corvallis, where I met people who had enjoyed local CSAs from one of the farms profiled in my book and others who were interested in hearing more farm stories.

I love the "Meet and Greet" events on busy afternoons. And if you are uncertain how many people may show up for an author reading, why not propose a "Meet and Greet" event? One thing that my friend Kathy Gehrt is really good at is the "Meet and Greets." She places a bowl of lavender-spiked chocolate on her table to compliment her book Discover Cooking with Lavender. Chocolate always lures people over to your table. Sweets or cards with tip sheets are fun giveaways for meet and greets. Or, for special occasions, offer a drawing for a book giveaway.

I'm gearing up for the holidays next. . . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Look Around; Write a Column; Promote Your Platform

I perused my email this morning and I noticed an invitation for a seminar presented by Kevin Smokler CEO of I decided to look for Kevin on FaceBook and immediately sent a friend request after I read his great book marketing blog.

I got caught up reading his compelling marketing advice and I even checked his guest blogs on other blogs like this one where I was struck by this sentence:

"That authors must promote, often on their own, is now an accepted reality."

I sighed. I finally get how much publishers don't do. Previously I was seriously delusional thinking not me, my publisher is different. I wish I'd started with a stronger independent marketing plan, but drawing up plans are is not my strong suit. Authors be warned: be careful what you optimistically read into emails etc, then if you realize you perhaps expected too much from your publisher, get over and get on with fitting marketing into your life. If you have to mail your own books for reviews, do it.

And check out Kevin's blog --of course he's promoting his own businesses and PressFinder but maybe that will also interest you as a promotional vehicle for your book.

Also, if you're wondering what else to do right now, look around, and check out magazines and newsletters that pertain to your book. Maybe you can dream up a column that would be perfect for the publication. Check out specialty organizations, garden clubs, book stores--any place that might support a regular colum. A column can help satisfy your passion for writing and promote your book at the same time. Consider a column free advertising for your book and instead of paying for the ad, you get paid. It doesn't get much better than that.

One day as I was looking through my book to see what articles I could spin off, I realized I had a number of ideas that would make a fun monthly column. I called my column Take 5 because the information could easily be broken up into topics and the article wouldn't take that long to write. I proposed my column to Marlene's Market and Deli's Sound Outlook editor Lori Lively.

I mentioned this new column in an earlier blog post, but it wasn't until my friend Kathy Gehrt pointed out it was great advertising every month, that I realized what a great idea writing a column is for an author. Molly Wizenberg, author and blogger of Orangette fame has a column in Bon Appetit; Mathew Amster-Burton, author and Roots and Grubs blogger writes a column for Culinate; and Amy Pennington, author and gardener writes a column for Edible Seattle.

So consider promoting your platform and your book promotion will follow. Build your name recognition like a house, brick by brick, and any place you get your book mentioned every month is certainly worth considering.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Know Your Audience, Go With the Flow, and Tap Into Your Dreams

Maybe writing a book has long been your dream, but for a book tour it's good to remember that people are looking for their own dreams and the event is all about them, not you. I think people attend book events because they believe your book may enhance their lives and they want to connect with you, the author, in some way. Learn as much as you can ahead of time, and if possible visit the venue before your event. Observe everything. Take it all in and then focus your presentation.

This past week I had cooking demos at two wildly different events-- The Veg Fest in Portland and Barbara Jo's Cooks to Books.

At the Seattle Veg Fest years ago, I did a demo for my first book. It was a wild crazy event, with little room for food prep, no formal kitchen and back-to-back demos. The Portland Veg Fest was a new experience for me and my new book. I wondered if it would it be like the Seattle event--aisles and aisles of vendors hawking their products and people grabbing free samples of vegan foods and shoving pamphlets in bags.

The Portland Veg Fest appeared to be much the same type of event but when I read the instructions for cooking demos, but there was no mention of a stove or even a burner. But what demo doesn't have some kind of burner? I wondered. Just in case they didn't, I planned a recipe where I could use an electric skillet. I'd ask about the stove later, not really worried about the details once again.

One thing led to another and I never did ask about the stove, and then a day before the event I got a phone message from one of the coordinators.

"I just wanted to make sure you knew we don't really cook at the cooking demo." I heard her say.

I phoned back immediately. "What did you mean no cooking?" I was puzzled.

"We've worked with a number of chefs for years. Some simply pretend to cook; you just have to make your dish ahead of time. It should be something that can be served at room temperature."

"Precooked you say?" I asked. Pretend to cook? I struggled to picture how I could make this demo happen.

"It must be prepared before the demo," she patiently said again. "We have a tiny space near the sink you could use but it's crowded with people doing dishes and going in and out. Your dish should be okay to serve at room temperature."

It took me a minute to put it together. I could change the recipe into a grain salad, add some balsamic vinegar. Then I remembered I had 150 copies of the original recipe from my book--just a minor problem that I could easily explain at the cooking demo.

I didn't give much thought to actually cooking in my hotel room until I checked in and wheeled my suitcase filled with cooking equipment to my room. I got up at 6am, thinking it was so early no one would detect the smell of shallots and grains wafting under the door. There had been a wedding on an upper level in the hotel the night before so I hoped many guests were sleeping late.

I clearned a little table off, set the skillet up and once the shallots began to sizzle in the olive oil, I looked up and saw the fire alarm as the steam from the shallots began wafting towards it. I quickly covered the skillet and for a second the form I'd signed when I'd checked into the hotel flashed through my mind. The form specified that I wouldn't smoke in the room or the management would kick me out. What about cooking?

I felt my pulse quicken picturing the fire alarm sounding and some hotel bouncer tossing me out. All for a few shallots? I forced myself to quit mulling over details, and took a deep breath. I cranked open open window and blew steam outside as the grains cooked. Luckily, the room was on the 3rd floor so the smell disappeared into the city outside.

When the grains were cooked, I felt like a child who had gotten away with breaking the rules. I couldn't help smiling as I signed out, butI wondered what the maid would think when she opened the door and got a strong whiff of caramelized shallots?

At my "cooking" demo I told stories about my road to becoming a vegetarian, vegan cooking classes, and a recipe column in the early 1990s for small publication called Vegan Network. I talked about being a locavore and staying vegan and when I put the salad together, I couldn't resist telling the story of how my recipe for Orzo with Shallots, Kale and Walnuts had turned into a Balsamic Quinoa-Orzo Salad with Peppers, Carrots and Basil in my hotel room.

After my demo I strolled through this great vegan event and became inspired by all the latest information about the healthiest diet and decided to lose the eggs, cheese and butter for 30 days. If Oprah can do it anyone can.

Books to Cooks
A day after arriving home from the Veg Fest in Portland, I drove north to Vancouver, BC where I had a cooking demo event at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks. I was looking forward to this cooking demo where an assistant would cook the meal while I did an easy demo for it and talked about my book. I was also looking forward to the event because I hadn't been to British Columbia for some time and had decided to make it a really fun trip and stay in a nice hotel on Granville Island.
I've never seen a store quite like Barbara Jo's. It's a fantastic cookbook store that must house over 10,000 cookbooks. Everything you could ever want is here including quirky books like After the Hunt (a thick tome that included a fried squirrel in gravy recipe), A Recipe for Murder(with a recipe for Hannibal's sweetbreads) and Marijuana Cooking (of course with the famous brownie recipe). As if that isn't enough, Barbara Jo's also has a demo kitchen for classes and events.

I phoned a few days ahead and spoke with Barbara Jo McIntosh who told me the night I'd be in her store to do a cooking demo, a film crew would be in the store because Barbara was going to be inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame this year. I suddenly stressed over what to wear what to talk about for this event.

I arrived at Barbara Jo's a day ahead of my event to meet Barbara. I was tickled to learn that she recently released her book, Cooking for Me and Sometimes You: A Parisienne Romance with Recipes (French Apple Press). After learning how the event would go, I bought Barbara's book and went home to read this treasure about Barbara's month in Paris and how it had always been her dream to spend a month eating in this great city. I thought reading the would give me a clue about how to phrase my talk, but instead I fell in love with Barbara's passion for the city of her dreams. I slept deeply reviving some of my own dreams.

The next evening I told stories about childhood dreams and the path that led opportunities that opened doors to those childhood dreams. "I'd always dreamed about writing a book," I said. I laughed about the two bad novels I'd written before I turning to nonfiction--farms and food. Then I talked about my opportunity to write The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook and about meeting Northwest farmers for my farmer profiles. I told farmer stories and talked about the challenges of growing local foods. I talked about Dunbar Farms in southern Oregon that started with pears 1909, about Nash Huber of Nash's Organic Produce winning Farm Steward of the Year Award from American Farmland Trust and Jeff Miller of Willie Green's who cashed in a life insurance policy, rode his motorcycle Washington and started farming. When you think about it, anyone can relate to childhood dreams.

If you're having a little trouble recalling your own dreams, take a trip to Vancouver and talk to Barbara Jo about her dream. Then visit Granville Island and indulge in one of these edible dreams--well unless you are dedicated to a healthy vegan diet for 30 days.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Tours, The Downside of a Shoestring Budget, and Hiring A Tour Manager

I'm thinking about hiring a tour manager. It's partly because I'm guilty of scanning details for book tour events, and because I never gave much thought to things like mileage, food and lodging expenses when I signed the book contract. Those new to the publishing world take note: deal with these cost issues early on because if you can take care of petty things like mileage etc, you'll have a less stressful booktour. One idea is to clarify exactly what the publisher will pay for on book tours when you sign on the dotted line.

Try to bribe your agent and get a bigger advance of say $400,000 or more, then your book tour is a snap and every stop you'll be all smiles. Just ask Sarah Palin how she's enjoying the ride. Since I don't have a jet or a bus funded by a big fat advance plus contributions from right wingers who hope to get into the power spot next election, I brooded about tour expenses on the drive home from my last stop at Bellewood Acres near Lynden, Washington. It was a fun, crowded event but I paid my own way, paid full price for all the apples I ate while I was there and it was a 180 miles round trip. Whine, whine, whine-- but I've driven to Bellingham twice in the past few weeks for book events and I don't have anyone picking up the tab at the gas pump or the lunch counter.

So what's an author to do when most or all these expenses fall on their shoulders?

It's time to get creative, that's what. I started searching the Internet the other day to see what other authors have done to fund their book tours and here's what I discovered.

The cost of a book tour is the gorilla in the room that not many authors talk about. Google book tour expenses and you'll see, not much has been written about this shadow in the room other than the vague idea that authors mostly fund their own tours, no one ever gives a break down of things you spend money on.

One author raised money for his book tour by getting various levels of backers. I laughed out loud when I read that he had a $2,000 level where he will go to your town with one or two commedians in tow. Justin got 77 backers who met his goal of $5,000 for his book tour. I love his creativity.

Another author partners with Ethiopian charities and is committed to raising $500,000 dollars for wells in Ethiopian cities. The tour boasts "meet-ups not lectures," it's collectively organized and it's all self-funded. Chris is stopping in a number of cities in Canada and he is visiting a city in every state and at each stop he requested volunteers to host, contact media and provide cupcakes. I say not only does this fund the book tour but it's great way to give to other communities and create community around your book. This is a feel-good we are community approach.

If those ideas aren't quite your cup of coffee, check out this book I found about promoting your book on a shoestring budget. Or to cut down on expenses you can do a blog book tour. But you still have to get out and acutally connect with some stores and people who will also pass the message of your book along.

You can also talk to other writers and get the details of their tours. The editor of my book told me that for her tour, she stayed with friends and in really cheap lodging in various cities and looked at it as a vacation. That's not really my idea of a vacation. Another friend only books events in towns where she has family or friends that can attend those sometimes lonely book events. Another friend urged me to do a virtual book tour instead of hitting the road.

Even in the virtual world everybody's trying to make a buck these days. I think I'll just stay the course, try and get my publisher to kick in for some mileage and overnight stays, and who knows maybe my cooking assistant will consider signing on as my tour manager. Oh wait, he clearly wants a cut of the action too--some of those Honeycrisp apples I paid full price for no doubt.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Your Goal? Falling Down the Rabbit Hole of Book Marketing

As I'm faced with a variety of opportunities for book tour events and networking options on social media sites, I continually have to reset the picture and ask myself: what's my ultimate goal?

A book tour is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole and it's risky to"just do it" like the Nike Ad instructs, even lifehacker says so. Go out and start booking events for your book tour and you'll soon discover that each event needs to be tended like a new plant. Some stores expect authors to come up with marketing ideas, add blog entries for store blogs, provide snacks or do cooking demos for author appearances. It can cost more than you're bringing in. Blindly booking events can be a nightmare when you realize, you get to do all the planning and marketing. And when you book too many events all that precious writing time you dreamed about is sucked away.

In this connected age, it's way too easy to get distracted with things like responding to blogs like this cute one with two bull dogs. (What would my kitchen assistant say about that?) And social media sites are so addictive, they're driving me crazy--do I really"like" this? Or can I "comment" on that? And what does "poke" mean? I can barely keep up with my own life anymore. I don't even have to leave the house to get stressed over whether I've logged in and made comments on sites like FaceBook, Foodista,Culinate and Scribd--and all the blogs I'm following and commenting on.

I continually remind myself why I'm doing any of this, which brings me back to my topic-- keeping your goal in focus.

What do you really want to do with your time? Consider that question every time you start responding to a post on a blog or FaceBook and when an offer comes your way. Say an editor wants you to write an article about South American cuisine, or a natural food store wants a cooking class with raw food desserts, or someone wants to do a podcast with you--ask yourself: does it fit my goals? Will it propel me forward? Am I on the right path?

For me, it's important to reflect about what I do with my time. One satisfying by-product of my book has been helping like-minded people connect through my articles, my food travels and farm visits. For example, recently I visited the Medford farmers' market and Cathy Pennington of Pennington Farms said thanks for putting her in contact with BelleWood Acres who helped her figure out how to get a sign on her barn. And more recently I helped connect this farm with a great farm-to-school program in the Rogue Valley.

A rabbit hole offers many opportunities and lately I've got caught a spark of a trend I want to write about, and catching the spark is the fun of life. Starting a new article or book--the story coming to me in bits and pieces and I love putting it all together. I just have to keep reminding myself: what's my goal in this life adventure?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hornet's Nest Marketing and Plans Gone Awry

Mary Kay from the Edmonds Bookshop showed me this perfect wasp nest (on Dayton Street) when I bought a card with beautiful photo of hornets' nest.

"The nests are so amazing," Mary Kay said. "That picture [on the card] was taken by a seven-year old boy." She told me the boy's grandmother had a card making business and when she added the boy's photo to her card line, Mary Kay placed the young boy's card next to The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet's Nest. It was in the storefront window and when the boy saw the window display, he wanted his picture taken near his card and the book.

Maybe we'd all secretly love a little celebrity to rub off on us. Perhaps that's what I was thinking when I spotted my book next to Alice Water's book and snapped a photo. If an alien popped in what would he make about our fascination with celebrity? It dawned on me that I'm just a little too impressed by celebrity, too. Who me? Hop on the celebrity bandwagon? Okay, maybe if the celebrity is Alice Waters.

Expectations versus reality:
What happens when events go awry? Recently, I signed up to sell books with Whidbey Island Writes' Association (WIWA). I'd imagined myself mingling with other authors, strolling the market and meeting farmers. I cheerfully packed my chair, sign and books and took the ferry to Whidbey Island.

I pulled into the Coupeville farmers' market long before it opened and looked for the WIWA table. I found a table that said Whidbey Island Writers' but they told me they were the Whidbey Island Writers' Group and I wasn't part of the group. Finally the kind market manager pointed out a space between a blue and a white tent.

I walked to the space and stood there for a moment, hoping someone would show up. One of the vendors next to me said, "It looks like you've lost something." I told him my group hadn't shown up and I had a chair but no table. "Take this one," my neighbor said, handing me a small folding table. I set up the table, then got the sheet I use for my kitchen assistant.

This is the bare bones table I set up. I met plenty of fun market shoppers and talked to a number of great farmers. I learned about Rockwell beans (reportedly a native Whidbey Island bean) and growing quinoa. I discovered a 112 year-old farm and learned that Whidbey Islanders didn't even get ripe tomatoes this summer.

What I'm saying is events may not always be up to expectations and there may be a number of explanations. Chill out, enjoy the sunny day, strolling the market and meeting other authors. That part of of my visualization was true.

Someday I hope to climb off the "D" list, but for now, I'll settle for a few laughs after-the-fact with things like this tossed-together table at the market. It's one step above a lemonade stand. My expectations weren't even on the same ladder as reality that day. Three cheers for a sunny dayand some really good fresh green beans.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Can You Do in 15 Minutes?

Whether I'm invoicing books, calling libraries or bookstores, or sending queries and writing articles, life can feel like a series of distractions. The car broke down, the dog threw up, the phone rings constantly--my production rate slows to a crawl. I wondered why I wasn't more productive.

Then I read this post from Lifehacker about using a daily log of what you've done to keep focused. The post made me recall Six-Figure Freelancing by Kelly James-Enger and I thought about how productive she was because she kept track of her time in 15 minute intervals and she perservered with every task.

So I started logging in every 15 minutes. It didn't matter what I was doing, I simply looked up and recorded it. Ah those phone conversations with my sister, the snacks that call my name, and the dogs that need walking--when I write down what I've done, I can see what I did do. And revisiting my lists, helps me become more focused. Past, present, future--my mind also springs to what I need to do when I write what I'm doing, so I have a goal list, too.

One of my short term goals is to take care of all the details for an upcoming event, so yesterday I sent a blog post to Village Books for their blog (not sure when they'll put it up but check it out). Then I talked to Nan Macy at the store about my book events on September 1st. I'll be at the farmers' market at 2pm and at Village Books at 7pm. Before we hung up, Nan asked if I could send personal invitations to farmers from my book for the event, so I added that to my ever growing list of things to do. (I never thought about any of these things I decided to become an author.)

Each event builds recognition and I noticed I got a mention in the Bellingham Herald for this event. The bonus for doing book events is more publicity. (I think that's why my friend Kathy Gehrt seems to get so much publicity--she's a nonstop event author with energy to spare.) I just hope the weather is this nice when I'm at this beautiful farmers' market on the village green.
I also have an event this weekend at the Coupeville farmers' market where I'll be signing copies of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook tomorrow. I've never been to this market and haven't been to Coupeville in years so I'm excited to go. I spent the morning baking some lemon-lavender biscotti to share at the market. The farmers' market route is by far the most delicious of all book tours.

One really exciting thing about this book tour is the journey it has taken me on while promoting it and I can't knock the tips for better productivity I've picked up along the way.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vacation Marketing Inspires Seeds for New Stories

I'd been looking forward to revisiting Oregon farmers' markets and farms ever since The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook came out in May. So, last week, I packed my bags and drove south to Corvallis, Oregon for a book marketing vacation.

Time away from the usual routine is always fun because you never know what you may find. First, I stopped at St. Helens Bookshop in Saint Helens where I told the store worker about my book and dropped off some of my book postcards. When I got to Corvallis, I stopped at The First Alternative Co-op, The Book Bin and Grass Roots Bookstore before stopping at Gathering Together Farm Store and then visiting the Corvallis farmers' market.

I set up a book event at Grass Roots Bookstore so I'll be back at Grass Roots on October 16 at 3pm. It's the same day as my cooking demo scheduled for The Portland Farmers' Market, so I'll be rushing from one event to another, with no time to shop at either Saturday market. It's a tough choice to give up market strolling and picture taking and come home with nothing but tired feet from standing and a cramped hand from book signing. Don't get me wrong, I love to sell books and schmooze, just not on the best market day of the week.

Know the value your book adds to peoples' lives. Focus on benefits it imparts to readers whether you are selling the book to bookstores, co-ops or reading groups.

My book connects people over local foods. People get to know the otherwise annomyous grower. The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook is perfect in towns and cities where my farmer profiles feature familiar community faces and names. In Corvallis those farms include--Denison Farms, Gathering Together Farm, Grateful Harvest and Wilt Farms.

Think about where your book is simply perfect. Go there and connect with booksellers.

Farther south, at the Medford farmers' market I bought an irresistible sweet treat from Pennington Farms -- a rhubarb-raspberry turnover. Bright, blond and tan, Cathy Pennington mentioned that she'd contacted Bellewood Acres (another farm in my book) and Dorie Belisle shared how they had painted the word Apples on top of their barn. Oregon farmers connecting with Washington farmers is an aspect of my book that I hadn't considered. I'm thrilled that my book is bridging these Northwest food communities.

Look for new and interesting insights about your book. Use new insights and stories to enhance book signing events or blogs.

Another Rogue Vally farmer, Suzy Fry from the Fry Family Farm, shared how she'd met JoanE from Rent's Due Ranch in Stanwood. (Rent's Due is the other farm in the farm profile with the Fry Family Farm in The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.) I also stopped by Whistling Duck Farm and said hello to Mary Allionis before stopping at Dunbar Farms and sampling a cookie made with Dunbar Farms freshly ground wheat. The flour intrigued me since I'd spend many hours baking with Nash's flour and discovered a new love for organic wheat.

Dunbar Farms isn't in my book, but after talking about growing and grinding wheat and learning about the Rogue Valley Farm-to-School program Corinne said, "You ought to come out and see the farm; see where the kids plant vegetables; and we even have a kitchen where they learn to cook what they grow." I didn't need any more urging, I headed out to the farm where I talked to 4th generation farmer David Mostue and I learned about this farm's long history, growing beans and grains on the farm and the story of the ever increasing vineyards in Rogue Valley. Then I talked to Corinne about the Farm-to-School learning program.

Marketing took a back seat to learning about a new farm. But this unplanned element of impulsiveness and striking up new friendships is my idea of a fun vacation.

Don't take book marketing so seriously that you miss inspiration for new writing projects.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Local Media and Cookie Marketing

Yesterday at the Edmonds Bookshop lots of folks stopped by my book signing event to buy a copy of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook, listen to stories about local farmers and just say hi. I was surprised when many people said they read about this event in the Edmonds Beacon, the weekly newspaper in Edmonds. A few people mentioned they'd heard my radio interview with Jaques Pugh on Soul of Seattle last Sunday. Don't overlook the power of local media to help create buzz about your book. People I hadn't seen for over a decade showed up to reconnect and find out about my book.

Mary Kay (the owner of Edmonds Bookshop) and I shared some recipes from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook--my favorite Hazelnut Biscotti, Cherry -Apple Oatmeal cookies and carrot hummus, which was a hit with everyone who sampled it. Who doesn't like a free sample? And many people were surprised by the idea of adding carrots to this great dip.

I often bring cookies to events. I call it cookie marketing. It's actually a tip I learned a long time ago from Barbara Winters who taught a fabulous class at Discover U and wrote a book. called Making A Living Without a Job.

Going to different events all the time makes book marketing more fun; so mix it up when you plan your book tour. You never can tell who will show up. Today I'll be at EastWest Bookshop from 1 to 2:30pm, and I'll talk about Northwest grown foods, farmers in Oregon and Washington, and food trends. I'll also give tips for market shopping you won't hear anywhere else and of course we'll sample recipes. I'll also be serving Wade Bennett's famous Rockridge Orchards apple cider, which is always a big hit at the market. Stop by and enjoy some cookies made with Northwest grown ingredients and sip some cider. This is also the last weekend to enter my free cookbook drawing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Events, Interview Tips and Finding Your Audience

It's been a whirlwind of events this month. Last Saturday (July 24th) I was at the University District Market and later that afternoon at the PNWA Conference where I joined my fellow writing group members for a panel discussion on successful writers' groups. I think our collective enthusiasm for our Wednesday writers' group inspired those who attended--questions flowed and discussion was lively.

Check out my events this coming weekend Saturday (July 31st) at the Edmonds Bookshop at 11am to 12:30 or Sunday (August 1st ) at the EastWest Bookshop in the Roosevelt District.

In connection with my upcoming EastWest Bookshop presentation, I snagged an interview from Jacques Pugh for "The Soul of Seattle," a program on AM1090. The program aired on July 25, at 12pm. And first, if you care to listen, let me warn you, this is my first radio interview without any media training, coaching or rehearsing. That would have been helpful. And though I felt prepared, I'm not sure I was really prepared. So I'd suggest, if you haven't done TV or radio appearances, media coaching will probably improve your game. But it's another investment and I haven't decided whether it's worth the cost. On a shoestring budget, I have to watch costs and have to pick and choose what I'll spend money on. For now, I'm just hoping to improve my game by focusing on the basics of how this book can move people to a more sustainable, green diet and why I wrote The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.

The interview was slightly unnerving. The jarring part was suddenly having a microphone in front of me to talk into. It was just a slight mental freeze, a brief fleeting scary Sarah Palin moment, but it threw me off. Afterwards I remembered that I'd forgotten to use the host's name, blanked on my talking points and the reasons I wrote the book could have been more clear. But the show must go on. ( I bet Howard Dean thought that too after the scream-heard-round-the-world.) Still no matter what you think of your interview or TV appearance, you still have a book to try and sell, so dust your ego off and move forward.

Here are 5 tips for radio interviews:

1. Be an early bird. Whether you're going to the station or meeting the interviewer, get there early. Be professional.--From Timber Press authors

2. Make certain the host knows the exact title of your book but never expect that the interviewer has read your book. Know that it will be your job to help make your interviewer look good. Compliment the host when a good question is asked.--From Penny
Sansevieri in From Book to Best Seller.

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Go over your mission, why did you write the book; how were you inspired? Why is your book important.

4. Infuse your answers with stories, and don't forget the sound bites. People love stories, so add compelling or funny anecdotes whenever you can, rehearse them so you can recount them accurately. Rehearse your "hook" and work it in a few times.

5. Be passionate. I once asked Kathleen Flynn author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, about media training and she told me TV and radio personalities were so over the top, you might think they're freaks in real life. Start checking out interviews and see for yourself. Enthusiasm in life and interviews goes a long way.

Find Your Audience
Who are your book buyers? And why do they care about adding your book to their bookshelves? Answer those questions, then hone in on your audience. At the U-District Farmers' Market cooking demo last week, books were practically flying off my table. Everybody wanted to learn more recipes for using local produce and discover more about the nine farmers from this market who are featured in the Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.

At my market demo, I made three easy recipes. It's the way I cook at home and I don't spare expenses at the market if the produce is right. It can get pricey with some ingredients, but you don't need fancy sauces or lots of herbs and spices to flavor good vegetables. Market shoppers, CSA customers and locavores who cook at home are my audience and that audience is growing.

So find your audience, be enthusiastic, smile and let them know why they'd appreciate your book. My writing group cohorts have their own audiences. Sheila Kelly, author of Treadwell Gold (2010,University of Alaska Press) has given talks in Treadwell and in Seattle and may find her pot of gold telling stories about Treadwell on cruise ships filled with travelers heading to Alaska. Who doesn't like a good riches to ruin gold story? And Kathy Gehrt, author of Discover Cooking with Lavender has learned that lavender growers all over the world love offering her beautiful book in their stores, at lavender festivals and on Web sites. Look for your niche, cultivate it and focus on that.

But don't neglect stores or events that may seem off-base because you never know what may happen or who you'll meet. That said, the Everett CostCo just picked up The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook, and while I don't think of Everett as a vegetarian mecca, the book could inspire people to move to a greener plant-based diet. And the price is drop dead cheap--less than Amazon--so for people who really need to budget and save money or those who want to buy multiple copies, this is the place to go. And if my books that I ordered for my upcoming Oregon trip don't get here in time, guess where I'm going to get a few extra copies?
At CostCoI talked to more store employees than customers, but I sold a few copies and handed out lots of postcards with tips for produce selection on the back. Turn it over and you'll remember my book. Also, I got to keep this cool poster Timber Press sent for the event. The hound dogs' expression however is priceless.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Events, Signs, Giveaways and Making People Smile

I often feel inundated with so many book promotion choices. My mind flits from one to the next. Which ideas are worth while and which will flop? Here are a few things I've chosen this week.

1. A big sign with the book cover is helpful to loan to the store before the event, and it may be worth the investment to get two because a new book requires lots of appearances. One place to get a sign made is Kinkos. They can scan your book cover and make an excellent quality sign, and a great sign draws attention in store windows and generates sales. Be sure to tell store employees that you want your sign back because if you don't, someone may glue things to it, or worse, toss the sign away when the event is over.

2. Offer giveaways. My friend Kathy Gehrt always brings lavender chocolate to set out on her table. I made recipe postcards with the book's image on the front, and details about the book (publisher, year, blog) on the back. I also have postcards that have the books cover image on the front and 5 tips for selecting seasonal produce on the back. In addition to postcards, I also print copies of recipes I'm making if I'm doing a demo. Or I have freshly baked hazelnut biscotti (a recipe from my book). And maybe this weekend, I'll bring some Holmquist chocolate covered hazelnuts.

3. Host a drawing or contest. Off to the side of my display is a box where people leave their name, address and contact number for a chance to win a free cookbook. If I was rich I'd give away books all day long because it's fun to make people smile and brighten their days. Maybe I'm supposed to be concerned about book sales and serious promotion, but giving books away is just plain fun. In fact, I liked it so much, I thought up a contest for my blog.

Check it out, and discover another way to snag a free copy of my book.

Don't forget to advertise your event on FaceBook, a Web site or blog. And about a week prior to the event, contact the demo coordinator at events--to verify that you'll be there. And afterwards send a written thank you note. Sending thank you cards is a lost art but if you do this, you'll be remembered more favorably and isn't that what you want when you're trying to sell books?

Go forth and sell books but don't forget to say thank you to all those who help you along the way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Serving up Stories at Book Signings

If you want to improve your book signing event, Finn casts his vote for bringing treats like these black raspberries. Sure treats are a plus, but I say first attend author presentations, especially famous authors and look beyond the candy, cookies or wine and cheese to discover what inspires you.

Check for author readings at independent bookstores (and even some chain booksellers). It's good to observe a wide range of authors and book topics. Go early, take notes and consider what you liked best about the event. Is there a tip or idea you can borrow to make your upcoming event better?

What I like best about author readings is hearing the story behind the book. That's what I go for--an engaging author's story that tells me about the author's motivations a sort of hero's journey behind the book. This "story" is usually delivered in the first 10 to 15 minutes of a book reading or presentation. This is the time you can lose the audience, so make your story compelling.

Recently I saw best selling author Phillip Margolin who shared his journey as a writer and a lawyer. He spoke about how he had always wanted to be a writer and that he secretly sent his stories to magazine editors for years. He laughed about early "bad" stories he'd sent in, and I could practically feel his excitement when Margolin got his first book contract. He also shared conflicts with his legal firm when his books hit the best seller lists and he went on author tours for months at a time. (Is that a problem many authors dream about, or what?) Margolin never read from his book, Supreme Justice, but the crowd clearly loved his story and afterwards they bought books and peppered Margolin with questions.

Another engaging author is Molly Wizenberg. (Check out this interview with her at Culinate.) At the book signing I attended, she talked about how she had always been attracted to writing, her father's death, her wildly popular blog Orangette and finding an agent for her memoir, A Homemade Life. It didn't hurt that she also brought delicious treats from her husbands restaurant Delancy, but it was Wizenberg's story that moved the audience. So hone your story and make it as enticing as your elevator pitch for your book.

I'll be sharing farm anecdotes, recipes, farmers market tips and stories from my book on Saturday, July 10th, I'll be at Magnolia's Bookstore at 3206 W. McGraw at 11am. On Sunday July 11th from I'll be at Marlene's Market and Deli in Federal Way at 1pm. At Marlene's I'll be serving up some recipes from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook. (Check out my appearance schedule at Timber Press.)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting Back on Track: Reviews and Marketing Tips

Just one month after The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook (2010, Timber Press) was published, I was suddenly sidelined because of health issues I hadn't seen coming. It's a story for another blog, but it set me back with my book marketing plans.

First, I missed Food Lust, a big food event at Willie Green's Organic Farm where I'd imagined myself mingling with movers and shakers of local food publications, foodies, and farm enthusiasts. Instead, I was staring out the window in the hospital room, thinking about that great dinner and auction I'd missed.

Then, I spent weeks recovering and reading compelling books like Wisdom of the Last Farmer by David Mas Masumoto. I love inspiring stories but as reality set in, I was beginning to feel a little down about missed marketing opportunities. Then, my spirits rose again when Sheryl Wiser of Cascade Harvest Coalition wrote a great review of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook for this month's edition of the Cascade Harvest Coalition newsletter.

A few days later The Sound Outlook, from Marlene's Market and Deli in Federal Way and Tacoma arrived and I smiled when I turned to my first 'Take 5" column about 5 super summer vegetables. The two page spread with a recipe from my book also listed my upcoming appearance at Marlene's in Federal Way on July 11 at 1pm. Just reading my column seemed proof that no matter what happens while marketing my book, the plan may slow down but it can keep percolating along.

During this downtime, I also revisited one of my favorite marketing books, From Book to Best Seller by Penny Sansevieri.

Here are five tips borrowed from Sansevieri for things you can do (even while laid-up) to add to your notebook:

1. Create postcards with your book image on the front. Put whatever you like on the back. I included a tip list for selecting the best produce. Tip sheets tend to be saved more than blank postcards. I give postcards and loan my book sign to bookstores to announce my appearances. I also pass out postcards to friends and to some farmers at the market.

2. Include marketing material with all mail and email that leaves your house or computer. (Large companies do it, why shouldn't you?) A handy tip sheet with the image of your book is one idea. Whatever you create make sure it has all the specs for your book--publisher, size, page number, plus any favorable short reviews.

3. Spy on your competitors' Web sites, google them to see what they've been up to, then copy the strategies you like. For example, one cookbook author hosted a contest cookbook giveaway for her book on well-known blogger's blog. Another hosted a tour of a peach orchard to support her dessert book, and a third cookbook author gave a cooking demo and talk at a community garden. The contest giveaway sounds most intriguing to me while I'm still recuperating.

4. Create a media kit with a book image, an author bio, fact sheet about the book, tip sheet, interview questions, reviews, and a press release. You can put the media kit on your Web site and direct media to it or send it by snail mail to announce your book.

5. Give books away. When my book was first released, I donated a number of books to PCC Farmland Trust to help raise donations. (Tom helped me deliver the signed books for the lucky winners.) Later, Kelly from Farmland Trust sent a note of thanks that said: "People are so pleased to hear they've won something." And it feels good to know I made someone else feel good by donating my book. Good feelings are contagious--try giving your own book away and see if it's true. One place to consider is Book Crossing , a unique concept that involves releasing your book (at a local cafe, coffee or bagel shop, for example) and following it's journey around the globe. Sansevieri says, "If you love your book, set it free."