Tag Archives: Author Reading

More Marketing your book mayhem

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Marketing your fiction book (or any book) can be unpredictable. You never know what will work. Fortunately there are many options and I am amazed at what individual authors come up with. It may all seem like a maze of unchartered territory, hence the word “mayhem.”

Here are a few tactics I’ve picked up from talking to other authors about how they market.

Some authors go into the bookstore(s) where their book is for sale and they switch the book from spine out to front of book out, sometimes even moving the book to the big display table at the front of the store.

Then there are those big ads in public transit – in subways, buses and streetcars. Each public transportation system has their own set-up and if you want to go this route, you need to talk to them. Word of warning. Once your ad’s time period is up, they discard your posters – you might want to make arrangements to pick them up so you can use them elsewhere. If your publisher has already printed posters, you could use some of those. Not enough? Get an e-copy of the poster and head to your local Staples, UPS store or the like to get copies made. No posters? If your publisher won’t design one or you are self-published, see if any of your friends or family can design your poster or do a work trade with a designer and then continue as mentioned above.

I’ve found a book launch can do wonders for book sales. You don’t need to book an expensive place that charges a large fee for the privilege of letting you have your launch there. I know authors who have had successful book launches in their homes (it is work, but a book launch anywhere requires work as well – from PR to posters). Other authors who belong to a literary club can rent a room at a discount. Some pubs have separate rooms where you can launch your book and they won’t charge as long as you can guarantee to fill the place with patrons who will buy their food and drink. Cafes usually don’t charge either. And then there are bookstores, but they will want to handle sales and take their cut – anywhere from 30% to 60%. But your book is in the bookstore.

My publisher books a bistro, café or pub and he does pay a fee. But he charges an admission to anyone coming (except the authors whose books are being launched, any guest authors reading and any guests of the authors launching who are on the complimentary book list). Guests paying an admission are entitled to one book published by my publisher – the guest’s choice – and the cost is below the book’s regular price.

Self-published authors can also borrow a page from trade publishers’ book launches – launch books by more than one author at a time.

Another author looks at what areas in subject matter her books cover and proceeds accordingly to email information about her books to universities and colleges around the world. This is not a “buy my book” email but an information one. The universities and colleges can do what they like with her books. And they have. Her books appear on university curriculum world-wideand in college bookstores. As she says, you never know when someone doing a PhD will buy your book for their dissertation.

And don’t forget social media.

I’ve found getting the word out about your book works best when you combine the in-person with online.

Don’t forget to brand you and your book. And I’m not referring to branding cows. Get one good headshot of you taken and use it for all you PR. Mine is at the top of this blog (and my website, etc. etc.). With smartphones, digital cameras and iPads, it’s not expensive. (My son took my photo with his iPad.) You want people to remember that face. Also a good small and large jpeg of your book cover. And brand your books. My mystery fiction is branded as the Beyond book series and each book begins with the word “Beyond.”

These are just a few marketing techniques.

And now I better get back to my own marketing.



Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at and including a link to a radio interview at Online TV interview from Liquid Lunch is at

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.


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Sharon A. Crawford appears at Inspire Book Fair

Sharon_A_Crawford_Book_LaunchReading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.

  • Joyce Carol Oates

The first Inspire: the Toronto International Book Fair gets underway this evening. And I’m going to be doing double duty in appearances there – signing and selling books and reading from Beyond Blood. More on that shortly. But first a personal perspective about how an author prepares for these events.

My books – Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point are key and I don’t just mean to sell. That’s important too but so is engaging with my readers. Just sitting there with a bunch of books does not connect me with my readers. I need to talk to them. And I don’t just do a book promo speech. I ask them if they write and what they write. Do they read mystery fiction? Conversation is a two-way street.

When I actually do read I don’t just stand there and drone on from my book(s). First I give a little background about my story and the main characters. Then I read. I’m told my reading is like audio, like I’m right in my story. True. I channel each character who speaks, particularly six-year-old David Bowman, Dana Bowman’s son. I love talking like a child. Not sure what that says about me.

I also get right into the actions going on. Haven’t stabbed or shot anyone yet. (FYI the only gun I have is a small water gun and carrying around knives would be considered carrying a concealed weapon). But I’ll shake my manuscript when Dana is shaking her sketch pad at her brother Bast.

Yes, I said manuscript. Because here’s my deep dark secret. I have terrible eyesight (the bane of getting old), and although the font is large enough in my books, sometimes the lights are not bright enough. So I have a few pages of pumped-up font printed out and read from that.

You really wouldn’t want me to use a magnifying glass, would you? Although I do carry one of those around and it would be appropriate for crime fiction.

Back to the books – the big question is: how many do I bring? Which gets translated into: how many can I carry? I travel on public transit and many Toronto subway stations don’t have elevators or down escalators. If I get a ride it helps – if there is a parking lot nearby.

You also sometimes need to create an attractive display in a small space, i.e. prop up one copy of each book, have some bookmarks and other info, but not too much. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers.

So, while I prepare for this weekend at Inspire, the Toronto International Book Fair at Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building, 255 Front Street West,

here are the details about my appearances:

Friday, November 14, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Selling and signing copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point at the Toronto Sisters in Crime Booth No. 1120 in the Marketplace Section.

Saturday, November 15, 4 p.m.

Reading from Beyond Blood at my publisher Blue Denim Press’s booth No. 1326 in the Marketplace. Afterward I’ll be there to talk to my readers and sign books.

Note: my publishers will be at that booth for the duration of the book fair.

Please join me there and engage in the conversation about your writing and/or reading.

And of course Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point.

And pass this info on – tweet about it, link to your blog, Facebook, etc.



Sharon A. Crawford

For those not in the Toronto, Canada area, you can click on my book covers below – they will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at

And check my website – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press


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