Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Hard Work Pays Off in Costco Signing

by Gail Jenner

Getting a good book signing organized is hard work. I am not an aggressive marketer by nature, but I'm learning that most success is based on successful marketing!! Women Writing the West members have taught me much of what I've learned in regards to marketing over the last 14 years I've been a member; that's one important reason why attending conferences and connecting with other authors is so important. I'm supremely grateful to WWW for the contacts and awesome friendships I've made.

As with most authors, I've done a number of book signings -- from small, local bookstores and county fairs to Barnes & Noble and Costco! I'm fortunate that I have now had four signings at two different Costco stores in the last three years. In reality, I had little to do with the Costco signings; it was my publisher, Arcadia Publishing, who originally arranged them. I would note, however, that most Costco stores support the idea of promoting local books so approaching them even if your publisher hasn't done so is well worth the effort. But I do believe that my energetic responses to Arcadia's initial efforts has led to my repeated signings.

 First of all, when I signed contracts with Arcadia Publishing for the four various books I've done with them, I agreed to do any book signings. In my mind, I have always added, "regardless of the miles I must travel to get there!" I recognized that I owed the stores selling my book any amount of time and energy to promote it. So when the publicity department of Arcadia contacted me about the first possible Costco signing three years ago, I immediately responded. I also continually kept them in the communication "loop," which I have since learned is a trait many authors do not cultivate. In fact, just recently my Arcadia publicist told me that I had helped her immensely, saving her the trouble of having to make contact with me -- whether it was about double-checking arrangements or responding with requested information, etc.

 A simple lesson, perhaps, but every author needs to answer emails promptly in addition to following up on dates, places, and directions, or writing thank yous, etc... I also created/submitted local news items for the paper and every FB/social outlet I could access, and I contacted our radio station and arranged an interview.

As it has turned out, two different Costco stores have arranged signings for my State of Jefferson books in the last 3 years. I know the subject matter is part of the reason for their continued interest. Both Southern Oregon and Northern California are part of the "mythical State of Jefferson" thus the attraction is fairly widespread. While tourists and history buffs enjoy most Arcadia's titles, these particular titles have attracted even more attention. I've now coauthored four different books for Arcadia, including three on the State of Jefferson: Images of the State of Jefferson; The State of Jefferson: Then & Now -- which placed as a Finalist in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Awards; and Postcards From the State of Jefferson.

Read Part 2 of Gail's experience with signing books at Costco and her adventures in getting there on this blog tomorrow.

Gail L. Jenner is a Past President and Willa Chair of Women Writing the West.She has written seven books, including WILLA award winning Across the Sweet Grass Hills, and has written articles for numerous magazines. She is the wife of a fourth generation cattle rancher and lives on the family's historic farmstead. For more about Gail and her writing, visit:


historywriter said...

Well done. Arcadia makes nice books. Several friends of mine have published through them. As for Costco, not sure if I'll ever get a chance to do that as I'm a indie author, but my local bookstore and statewide libraries have been most helpful.

Irene Bennett Brown said...

Wonderful information, Gail! Can hardly wait for more tomorrow!