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Book Fairs: The Do’s and Don’ts

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During these last days of the old year, equipped with brand new calendars, you might be sitting down to plan the marketing for your book(s) in 2014. Which Book Fairs or other Literary Events will you attend in the coming months to present your work?
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Carefully Check Out the Fair Organizer
Before you sign up and spend any money, let the organizers show you how they promote this book fair in detail. Don’t settle for general statements, such as: “We advertise everywhere in the area” or “Our clients post it all over the Internet and on Social Media”. Rather inquire and ask detailed questions:

  • How many shows did they previously organize and how was the outcome?
  • Which advertisements did they purchase for this upcoming book fair?
  • To which audience (in follower numbers) and how often do they announce it on Social Media?
  • Which articles did they prepare and where will it be published, and to how many readers?
  • What is the percentage of recurring exhibitors?
  • Can they give you names of exhibitors / authors you might contact about their experience?
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Make sure that organizing a book fair is not an attempt for this company to make a fast buck, but rather to promote authors and their books, considering that you have the cost of buying a table, transportation / parking costs, promoting, maybe accommodation and restaurant bills or even expenses to have a helper at your booth.
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These tips might help you to evaluate if it is worth to attend the book fair.  I visited lots of great organized and promoted exhibitions – but here is an example how the event organizers and even authors can spoil the experience for visitors:
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Can it Get Any Worse?
Last Fall I attended a Book Fair, organized by a large group of author-publishers. My expectations were pretty low, as I feared, it was not sufficiently advertised, such as in their earlier book events.  And it was in fact even worse…
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Barely Advertised:
Instead of writing articles about the show, listing the authors that were present and rave about their books – and distribute these articles at least through all the local papers for free – there was nothing publicized…. Not even on Google+ nor on Goodreads’ free event sites was this book fair advertised, which would have cost them not a dime.
Only one promotional article about one of the fair’s organizers was published, also not directly about the show, but rather about his achievements in writing a huge number of books (which averaged exactly 72 copies sold per title…).
The book fair was neither advertised at local online magazines nor in print (for a very low fee) in newspaper event pages. Even their own website did not show a proper invitation for the public – instead an announcement for members to purchase a table at the show.  Members were encouraged to send out tweets to the public to purchase a table!  Did they mean instead of visiting a book fair to rent their tables? A promotional disaster!
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Inconvenient Layout:
The book fair was set up on the second floor of a recreational facility. The room itself was very long and narrow, a wheel chair could barely roll through between the tables, without touching books and throwing them to the floor. I watched as visitors were polite and stepped back or sidewards to let wheel chairs pass. When looking at the books or purchase something, the people in wheelchairs felt embarrassed as they blocked inadvertenly the whole aisle.

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Self-Published-Looking Book Covers
Only two of about 150 books showed a professional cover – all others screamed: “self-published”. OK, some of the covers could work for a print book, potential customers in bookstores could read all the details on the front and back cover, but they were mostly available as e-books too, and I imagined them on Internet retailer sites, among many other books with professional covers displayed … where they would be difficult to read due to the small print.

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Lack of Displays
Most of the books were laid out flat on the tables and visitors had to lean over in order to read the title. There are so many inexpensive Acryl presentations available to show books upright!  Just visit a trade book fair, such as Book Expo NY, Frankfurt Book Fair and see how professional publishing houses present their books. Or get a video from these fairs on YouTube to see how a book presentation should look like.

Only one of the authors at the show had a background display – a real attention-grabber – showcasing the cover of one of his titles. It was one of these roll-out display posters that one can carry very easily, being not much bigger than a golf umbrella when dissembled Roll Up Banner Stand.
Other book exhibitors did not invest a single dollar in display and had in the best case a copy of their book cover or a 8×11′ black & white computer print-out “poster” with the book title on it, pinned to the wall behind them.

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No Credit Cards
Everybody knows how easy it is to spend money when you don’t have to pay with cash. I overheard several times that patrons said: “I have to leave it with this one book, as I don’t have enough cash with me”. Another said: “I just found out by chance about this book exhibition, but I don’t have any money with me”.
So, why not making it easy for customers and accept credit cards or any of the new ways of paying digitally? Nothing easier than this: use one of these “Square Cards” or bring your smart phone of iPad with you and let people pay, using their PayPal account – or even better, sending you the money by email / online banking (available at Canadian bank accounts, not sure if available in other countries) – right at your exhibition booth! Make it as easy as possible for people to buy your books!

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Approachable or Unfriendly?
For a couple of hours I watched authors how they approached potential patrons, at their book tables. I asked everyone of the authors, why they wrote this book (lots of memoirs there!), what’s the background of their novel, or how long it took them to write it, how they were promoting it. It was a mixed bag: Some where cheerful talking about their writing process, the background story etc., while others only asked which one of their books I wanted to buy, and when I was not taking out my purse right away, they turned around and talked with their neighbors. Wow, I was pretty astonished – and guess who’s books I bought?

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One Book Seller Stood Out
Her book, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride was available in print and digital form. She bundled both, similar to the book bundles that Amazon offers now.  And almost everyone of her print book customers bought a digital version too, which she offered for only $1 at a promotional price, either for themselves or as a gift. How she did it?  She brought two tools to the fair:  an iPad and a small poster. As soon as someone declared to buy the paperback, she pointed to her poster and showed them her Amazon page on her iPad.  When readers saw the official book price on Amazon and compared it to her offer at the book show, they could not resist to get the e-book too.
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Conclusion:
Why make all the effort to write and spend the money to publish a book?  I know that some of these authors at the book show had paid thousands of dollars to a Vanity book company to get their book(s) “published”.  Why then not invest a couple of dollars in presenting their work properly?
Again: Writing is an art – Publishing is a business! I hope these examples give you food for thought and encourage you to present your books professional at this year’s book shows. And a word to book show organizers: Don’t just fleece authors and sell tables, but offer them value in promoting the book event professionally. You can do it even for free, using all these new media possibilities out there!

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

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6 Bullets on How an Author and Book Find a Community

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Experiences of a Writer in Print and eBook Publishing

Margaret Kell-Virany, one of the authors you can meet at the Ottawa, Canada, Book Fair this coming weekend (October 26 and 27 at the RA Center, free admission) writes about her path to becoming a self-publisher, both in print and digital. 

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Writing books is all about community so beware of self publishing.
http://gilesbenaway.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/self-publishing-
wannabe-writers-beware/

Having read the above blog, I’m more excited than ever about being at the upcoming OIW Book Fair on Oct. 27 with fellow authors and readers. As for debates over whether to self-publish or with a traditional publisher, or as an e-book, I’d like to add these bullets from my 15 years of trying. As you will see, I come down on both sides of the fence, depending on where I’ve been able to find ‘community’:

  • Good, practical advice came in the otherwise-depressing rejection letters I got from traditional publishing companies. I had a maximum of a thousand dollars to put into my book and this advice was free. Structure, length and target audience were some of the trouble spots. I was angry and wanted to prove them wrong in rejecting me but, at the same time, I had to…

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7,400 Intl. Exhibitors, 3,200 Events at Frankfurt Book Fair

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If you have never been to Germany in early October, you have missed something!  No, I don’t mean the Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest party (even it’s worth a visit!) – I am talking here about the world’s biggest book fair, the Frankfurt Buchmesse.

Welcome to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012!

From 10 to 14 October there’s nowhere else you should be but with millions of books. As the world’s largest, even legendary book fair, Frankfurt is always exciting, innovative and very, very colorful. This year there will be  more than 7,400 international exhibitors, diverse new customer groups and more than 3,200 events. Among its many activities, the Frankfurt Academy is hosting four conferences to help international publishers find their way in the digital world, as well as the two-day event, StoryDrive, to highlight the potential for cross-medial cooperation.

Find information on book markets worldwide on their website. But there is more: whether it’s assistance for first timers, new technologies in the classroom, marketing for publishers. Frankfurt promises a lot – and they keep their promise – always.
The First Timer Seminar provides, among others:

  • info on how to pave the way for new business contacts.
  • info on how to make your Fair agenda working efficiently.
  • info on how to benefit from the Frankfurt Academy conferences and programmes.
  • introduction into the rights and licence business by an experienced expert.
  • personal testimonials by former First Timers.
  • guided tour of the Fair (subsequently, optional).
  • Meet with…
  • other first time exhibitors and trade visitors to the Frankfurt Book Fair.
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Did you read the blog about splitting your book apart and selling the rights separately? Or the one about foreign rights?  Here in Frankfurt you will find hundreds or thousands of international publishers to whom you can sell foreign rights.

Make your arrangements for the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair early, especially for accommodations, and order your tickets online.  Pre-purchased tickets will entitle you to free use of public transport (RMV) as soon as you arrive.  Enjoy this wonderful world of books in Germany!

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Job Opening: Assistant at German Book Office NY

NewYork by Bobby Mikul

Job Opening: Assistant at German Book Office New York
Seeking native English speakers possessing German language skills for Assistant position at the German Book Office New York/Frankfurt Book Fair.

Role Responsibilities:

  • Support of Director in all matters of the business including but not limited to: Communication with German and American publishing professionals;
  • Copy-editing English texts for both grammar and style; assisting in coordination of various events and Frankfurt Book Fair related matters
  • Writing reviews, articles and various blog posts for the Frankfurt Book Fair, the GBO, and New Books in German Magazine
  • Managing the GBO and part of the Frankfurt Book Fair’s social media presence including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest etc.
  • Creating online email campaigns
  • Monthly accounting for the GBO and Publishing Perspectives
  • Conducting research projects for the GBO and the Frankfurt Book Fair

The German Book Office (GBO) New York, Inc., founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization, is a project of the Frankfurt Book Fair and acts as a bridge between the German and American publishing industries. The mission of the GBO is to promote German books in North America. We establish contact between German and North American publishers, and we partner with international and literary organizations
to promote translated books.

In addition, the German Book Office works closely with the Frankfurt Book Fair on its North American activities and projects. We provide information and assistance to exhibitors and visitors of the fair.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. Business-related majors a plus.
  • Prior office experience, preferably in publishing, digital media or agency desired.
  • Strong communication skills (verbal and written) with the aptitude to communicate effectively in both individual and group settings
  • Proven ability to deliver timely, accurate work and demonstrate good follow up and follow through all projects
  • Excellent organizational skills with the ability to multi-task, prioritize, and manage time effectively
  • Advanced knowledge Microsoft Office Suite and online research methods
  • Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite preferred; Final Cut Pro X, a plus
  • Native English speakers possessing German language skills
  • Willingness to learn, eagerness to network and interest in publishing at large

Please send your resume, with salary expectations and earliest possible start date to: stock@newyork.gbo.org

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are almost 500 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “Like” next to it.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr or StumbleUpon – or other social networking sites of your choice) – other writers might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.

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Great Opportunity for Authors: Foreign Right Sales

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Part 1:   A potentially lucrative market that self-publishers often overlook are Foreign Rights Sales. Foreign Rights Sales and royalties are one of the best deals a writer can get.  Sometimes a foreign rights deal is more lucrative than what your books could earn in your home country.  Even smaller deals can make a big difference in your finances and profile.  And you don’t have to write a single new sentence.

The right to translate and sell a book in another country falls under the umbrella of sub-rights, which include film, merchandising, audio and electronic version, enhanced e-book and multimedia.

For most self-published authors, determining what kind of books sell best in which countries, which publishers are most reputable and which contractual terms are reasonable is pretty difficult. Get the help of an intellectual property attorney who specializes in publishing matters and who drafts one that suits your needs.

A foreign rights agent who has detailed and specialized knowledge is another option. They are attending major international book fairs, especially the Frankfurt, Germany Book Fair, and are in constant contact with international agents and editors to discuss deals and work out contracts.

Royalties can greatly vary from country to country, which makes it important to know what kinds of books will sell in each area. A business or science book has tremendous potential in Asia. Literary fiction does well in France. Italy is good for women’s fiction. Brazil loves dogs and inspirational books, and they have been buying early and aren’t shy about six-figure advances for the right book.

Even if you self-published your e-book you can offer the manuscript to a literary agency for consideration of international rights. One prominent literary agency, Folio Literary Management  has an active foreign rights department that does hundreds of deals for their clients every year.

Foreign rights sales can be complicated by the fluctuating currency exchange. But for most authors, the advantages of foreign sales far outweigh any drawbacks. And for authors exhausted by the seemingly endless presence at social media sites, book signings, interviews, blog tours and other non-writing activities that have become an essential part of book promotion, foreign rights sales are the more attractive as their foreign editions are promoted by the publisher who bought these rights.

Being successfully self-published opens the door to foreign sales and also provides a better chance of being signed by a major publisher since you already have an established audience – which is so important in publishing today.

Another option is to translate (if you are bi-lingual), or let your book translate by a professional (give it to an editor afterward in order to have it polished) and sell it directly through Amazon in these countries – generating totally new markets for your book. As of this writing, outside of the USA, Amazon books and Kindle Readers / Tablets are available in Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, Austria as well as in Japan, Australia and China.

Find and pitch your book to a foreign rights person.
Contact agents or publishers for foreign rights / translations in your home country or attend the world-biggest and most important annual Frankfurt (Germany) Book Fair and establish connections to publishers / agents from all over the world.

To find names, addresses and other information about publishers worldwide refer to http://www.publishersglobal.com

The listings are sorted by country, language, subject etc. and you can contact these publishers instantly and without incurring high cost or set up an appointment with them at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Foreign publishers have the opportunity to discover new authors and potentially pick up the rights to their works for much less money than they might when working with a traditional publisher or agent.

Benefits of an agent
Publishers rely on them to sort through all the contract work and know that books sent to them by good agents are worth their time considering. But most importantly, agents know what a book is worth and will negotiate the best deal for you. There are instances of publishers working directly with authors, but it’s a long shot. Publishers know authors are inexperienced in negotiating and desperate, so it’s highly likely the authors didn’t get the best deal possible.

Agents work on a commission basis, usually 15% of advances and subsequent royalties. The author pays nothing up front; the agents only get paid if they produce.

Most foreign agents work with a co-agent in the author’s country, who feed them books to market, which already have a proven sales track record in the author’s country. In these cases, the two agents usually split a 20% commission.


Don’t miss Part 2 within the next days

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Are You Attending The Frankfurt Book Fair?

Book Trade Show Representation
If you are wary of the cost for a booth at the world’s biggest book fairs, not to mention the travel cost, consider to have your book displayed there. Check out ForeWord who is one of the companies who offer this service.

They write:
By exhibiting in the ForeWord cooperative booth, your titles may potentially generate rights interest from foreign publishers (typically, a foreign rights deal includes a non-refundable advance and a royalty rate of 7 – 8%.) So, with no out-of-pocket expense – except for the $175 exhibit fee to have your title displayed at the ForeWord booth – you have a chance to earn an unexpected windfall – in the best scenario.

Among other International Book Fairs ForeWord exhibits at:
London International Book Fair April 16-18, 2012
BookExpo America June 5-7, 2012
both are $175 per title or  $600 shelf (5 books)
However the best option and the world leader in book contract sales is the
Frankfurt Book Fair October 10-14, 2012

To accurately describe the Frankfurt Book Fair, one word cannot be avoided: “overwhelming.” The numbers alone are daunting: nine show halls, more than 6700 exhibitors, publishers from over 100 countries, and a stunning 150,000 !!! attendees. Luckily, with excellent train / metro services, ample hotel space, and German efficiency, Frankfurt’s just the place to pull off such an event. Historically, ForeWord’s booth is across from Random House assuring fantastic traffic. Worldwide Audience.
$175 per title – $600 shelf (5 books)

Representatives from ForeWord direct visiting agents and reps to the appropriate shelves (books are arranged by genre), pass out literature, and collect business cards and contact information when interest in a certain title is expressed. ForeWord will then pass on the contact info to the corresponding publisher.

It is a chance for small publishers to sell foreign rights. In the worst scenario you loose $175.

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