Monday, July 25, 2011

Catch and Release Books at Book Crossing

Book Crossing is an amazing ocean of books circulating through the jet stream of readers around the world who log-in with the book's journey and a book's travel adventures can take on a life of their own.

I'd wanted to join Book Crossing for a long time, but I couldn't quite reconcile how an author can generate sales through participating in the site. A few years ago Penny Sanseveri mentioned that she too had released her new books into book crossing, and said it was good marketing, but I wasn't exactly sold on how sending books into book crossing worked as a marketing strategy.

I mulled it over in my mind about sending books on a journey, but what really got me to investigate the site was this blog that I've been working on with a friend where we promote free things--sidewalk art, things found in gutters, free sofas, etc.

Book Crossing seemed to be a fun site to promote. So I decided to register my two books for release.

Like a message in a bottle; maybe someone will get it and log on but maybe not.

I picked a release place, date and time--two different coffee shops in Edmonds. And after ordering coffee and taking an out-of-the-way table, I set the books free. In Tully's, the ower or "Jim" was two steps ahead of me. He left a box full of books labeled "Jim's Book Corner" with the take a book leave a book concept. Who knew, coffee houses are now becoming lending libraries for used books.

The odd part about this experience was that I felt a like a shoplifter or their as I left the coffee shops. How funny that leaving something pushes the same buttons as stealing something.

As far as a marketing strategy the only way I can see that it helping authors market their books is to shout out where you released your books, like a giveaway-- on FaceBook, Twitter, blog and newsletter. That way you promote book crossing and your book--a win-win. Otherwise you're just releasing without any idea of who might pick up the book. Which is what I did, because like many other people, I often get caught up in the details and miss the big picture. (I can always go for a second release, and that may happen soon.)

One thing about book crossing is it's an honor system. You hope a fellow bookcrosser may pick up the book, or at least someone curious enough to log on and tell a story. I didn't think much about those details--checking the time and place then sending the babies off. But do think ahead because it's your child's future. And you should probably also tell your journey as a writer on the book crossing site to go along with the book. Just a few tidbits of wisdom learned after the fact, before you log in and join the crowd.

I can't say whether this Russian roulette method of book marketing will make a ripple let alone a spalsh, but the fun thing is,I get optimistic that my book will go far. Kind of like this design blog with pets-on-furniture Mondays that I sent my dogs picture to . You have to let the book go on an act of faith, hoping that somehow it will reach the right readers and inspire them.

Here are a few reviews if you want to check them out before sending your book into the stream of book crossing readers. Even if you don't think the publicity angle won't pan out, joining book crossing is a ticket to fun.

And who knows, it may just be the perfect cup of tea to feed your soul and begin a new journey.

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