Tag Archives: sales

Alex Segura’s Debut of ‘Silent City’ is a Sellout!

Alex Segura Launch 1

Alex Segura (second from right) shows off some copies of his debut novel “Silent City” at his launch event at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City last night.

You know what’s even better than getting your first book in your hands? Watching 60 copies sail out the door at your first author event before the book has even officially come out!

Kudos to new Codorus Press author Alex Segura, who sold out of every single on-site copy of this fantastic thriller novel Silent City in one monumental evening at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood.

Alex Segura Launch 2

All these copies sold. Poof!

Alex, whose day job is working publicity, tapped his experience growing up in Miami, Fla., as well as his time on the staff of the Miami Herald newspaper, to inform the gritty, noir style of Silent City.

This isn’t your Golden Girls Miami, nor is it the one most of us know from Alex’s old Herald colleague Carl Hiaasen. He’s put his own spin and added unique flavors to the seedy underbelly of South Florida, and we couldn’t be happier for the amazing success from last night!

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Filed under Alex Segura, Authors, Bookstores, Fiction, Independent publishing, Mystery, Promotions, Silent City, Uncategorized, Writers

Feeling Frosty – The Codorus Press Crew Heads to Frostburg, Md.

Frostburg 2013 logoIt’s a late festival season for the Codorus Press crew, but we’re getting things off to a great start with our second annual appearance at the Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival in beautiful Frostburg, Md.

The first time we hit Frostburg was a bounty of awesomeness for all our authors. Codorus founder Wayne Lockwood and co-founder Scott B. Pruden appeared on a couple of panels each, and the same goes for this year. We love to talk about writing and we’ll do it until your ears bleed, so please feel free to interrupt us before that happens.

Last year we also go to know über prolific author Jessica McHugh, who we’d originally bumped into at the Baltimore Book Festival, as her publisher’s booth was right next door. When Scott sat on the sci-fi and fantasy panel, he joined now Nebula Award-winning short story writer Andy Duncan, also a fellow University of South Carolina alum, in speaking on the topic. (They each managed to refrain from joining in a call-response cheer of “Game!” … “Cocks!”

We also got to know Gerry LaFemina, part of the faculty at Frostburg State University (which hosts the festival), and will be publishing his forthcoming novel Clamor before the end of 2013. Codorus author Tom Joyce, meanwhile, perpetrated the usual lunacy and built some buzz for his novel, The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, which launched over the summer.

All in all a pretty productive visit, wouldn’t you say?

Tom will be back with us again this year with actual copies of Freak Foundation ( or FFOR, as we like to call it), promotional information on forthcoming title Silent City by Alex Segura, and we’ll also be joined by Junior Deputy Codorus Press Intern, Andrew Pruden, Scott’s 9-year-old son, who’ll be offering his own original work, the short story “Animal Crime Fighters.”

Perhaps best of all, we got to meet and interact with dozens of writers, publishers and – most importantly – readers. We have no doubt the same will be said for this year’s event.

We hope you can join us if you happen to be rambling around the mountains of western Maryland tomorrow at the Frostburg State University Creative Writing Center. Things get rolling at around 11 a.m. and we’ll be in the house until 6 p.m..

 

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Filed under Acid Indigestion Eyes, Alex Segura, Authors, Book festivals, Don't Be Cruel, Fiction, Immaculate Deception, Independent publishing, Marketing, Mike Argento, Mystery, Nonfiction, Promotions, Scott B. Pruden, Silent City, The Freak Foundation Operative's Report, Tom Joyce, Wayne Lockwood, Writers

Sleight of Hand, Mighty in Marketing

Codorus Press founder Wayne Lockwood has put forth several great posts recently on our visit to the Baltimore Book Festival Sept. 28-30, discussing how the sleight of hand and magical illusion skills of Codorus author Tom Joyce contributed immensely to our success there. At the risk of redundancy, we’ll talk about a few of them here, too.

From a cash-free shell game crafted to reflect the process of writing a novel to just plain ol’ sword swallowing, Tom’s antics were actually a concerted effort by us at Codorus to ramp up our opportunities to interact with passers by and hopefully sell them some books. Here’s a look:


What we got from this was fourfold. First, people walked by with their mouths gaping 0pen, not really believing what they were seeing. Second, this set up a crowd for Tom’s shell game. Third, since the shell game bit was performed on top of our handy-dandy sheet of butcher paper, we could then invite folks to share with us their favorite books by writing them down (we’ll feature the books from our Baltimore weekend in an upcoming post. Fourth, seeing what they wrote would give us some insight into what they might like from the Codorus Press catalog.

It was easy to see the results. Sales for the three festival days jumped considerably over those from last year, and we saw a noticeably surge in traffic through our booth. And perhaps the best part is that Tom’s interest in things magical directly informed the plot of his upcoming Codorus Press title, The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, slated for a 2013 release.

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Filed under Acid Indigestion Eyes, Authors, Don't Be Cruel, Fiction, Immaculate Deception, Independent publishing, Marketing, Mike Argento, Promotions, Scott B. Pruden, The Freak Foundation Operative's Report, Tom Joyce, Wayne Lockwood, Writers

Love – and Books – for Sale

No, this is not a blog entry about prostitution. But given the reaction some authors have about getting out to beat the pavement and actually sell copies of their work, you’d think it was.

Here’s the attitude that usually results in that reaction. “My book is a work of art, and was born from the deepest depths of my tragic, tortured soul. Therefore, for me to indulge in something as base and crass as selling it to peoplefor money, is simply wrong. People should instead be drawn and ultimately obligated to buy and read my deathless prose because of the sheer gravity of its deep and poignant observations.”

That, of course, is bullshit (I think I’m quoting Hemingway there, but I’m not sure).

No one will buy something that they don’t know exists, and that’s one of the biggest reason the Codorus Press crew is frequently seen out at regional book festivals braving inclement weather, fickle crowds and the prospect of not selling a single damn thing.

But this past weekend we broke our streak for all of the above, landing in lovely Gaithersburg, Md., Saturday for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, where we were greeted with warm sunshine, an amazingly well-organized event, friendly and engaging attendees and a gratifying number of sales for all our authors.

After spending the last two years or so attending these festivals, we’ve honed our approach to selling quite effectively, toying around with what has and hasn’t worked for us and also borrowing (cough*stealing*cough) a few ideas from some folks we see along the way. Our visit to Gaithersburg provided a couple of thoughts that we’d like to share for others looking to get out and market their books at festivals, whether they are published with a large or small press or giving indie or self-publishing a go.

  • We don’t wait for you to come to us. We will come get you – Whether it’s smiling and saying hello, inviting people to our booth to write their favorite or most highly recommended book on a sheet of butcher paper or just randomly complimenting someone’s t-shirt, we constantly engage people as they walk by. This accomplishes several things – 1) it gets them to pull out of the stream of humanity walking by and come over to chat. 2) It allows us to start to engage them on something other than what we’re selling. 3) It lets them know that authors and publishers are human beings and not freaky mutants. 4) It’s an exchange of gratification (thus the title of this post). We have chosen to interact with them, giving them a little ego boost, while we hope they will do us the favor of purchasing (and enjoying) our works.
  • We have refined our shtick … and continue to refine it– We have formulated great quick pitches for all of our books are 

    able to convey each title’s essence in just a few words. We are also equally passionate about the work of our fellow authors"Don't Be Cruel" in the booth. The other authors can sell copies of Mike Argento’sDon’t Be Cruel almost as well as he can. That said, even as we worked the festival Saturday, author and Codorus founder Wayne Lockwood and author Scott Pruden realized emphasizing the “sexy” in Scott’s novel Immaculate Deception would tap the slightly underground market for sexy lit that has bubbled to the surface with the mainstream popularity of erotica aimed at women. For Wayne’s title Acid Indigestion Eyes, knowing that memoirs are immensely popular, we started to emphasize the memoir elements of the book, which is a collection of his work at Generation X columnist for Knight Ridder newspapers in the early 1990s.

  • We get the hell out of our chairs … if we even decide to bring them – It’s stunning how many people we see sitting during these daylong book festivals. In a way, we can’t blame them because we know damn well how tiring it is to stand for eight hours on hot, hard asphalt. But you know what? If you want to sit, you’ve got a couch at home. This goes back to the “readers will come to us” philosophy. The author believes he or she can relax and wait for interested readers (and potential customers) to just wander up. This is a grave mistake. Sitting implies a lack of enthusiasm for the product being sold (and never forget that you are indeed selling a product). This weekend, we were barely off our feet for a moment, putting us at the level of our potential readers rather than forcing them to look down on us. Get up, stand up, sell more books. Which brings us to …
  • We get the books as close to people as possible – We tried an experiment this weekend with some new, lightweight folding tables we bought to replace an ancient ironclad monster we had been using. The new tables have adjustable legs that allow us to get them to almost bar height, putting our work about a foot and a half closer than they would be at a normal table level. This made it easier and more inviting for people to pick the books up and handle them, which immediately imparts a feeling of ownership. And if they don’t pick the books up themselves, we’re pretty likely to hand them a copy ourselves. Touching is one step away from owning, which can only be cured by buying. Which brings us to …
  • We make it easy for people to buy – This weekend was our first opportunity to use the Square credit/debit card reader for iPhone and Droid to allow our customers to pay electronically, and we are absolutely sold on this technology. We are by no means early adopters on this – the tech and app have been around for more than a year – but we’re now kicking ourselves for not jumping on this sooner. In the nearly cashless society in which we now live, it’s just plain dumb to not offer customers a way to pay electronically. Without exaggeration, our Square vs. cash sales ran at least 10-1 for the day. If you aren’t using this tech or something like it and are depending only on cash transactions, you are losing sales, period.
  • We have our gimmicks and we’re not afraid to use them – Really, our gimmicks aren’t that crazy or elaborate, but they serve the purpose of attracting attention. In most cases, our cover art is the best gimmick we could ask for. Adam’s finger barely touching that of an obviously African-American Jehovah? Got it. Department store mannequin dressed as Elvis (and having a gun held to his head)? Got that, too. Bright pink pop art riff on a popular stomach remedy? Absolutely. Variously, we’ve also used fake religious tracts for the sex-and-drugs-based megachurch in Immaculate Deception and place mat menus from the novel’s fictional Cleaver’s restaurants. It never hurts to have a stark or jarring visual to grab people’s attention. Just ask our neighbors at Gaithersburg, who promoted their books using a life-sized Hannibal Lecter mannequin. I think we might need to put an offer on the Don’t Be Cruel cover model now that his keepers at Kenny’s Castaways are closing shop.
  • We have fun … and show it – To quote the folks in the booth next to us, “You guys are having a great time over there.” Damn right. Despite the early mornings, lost sleep, long days and occasionally challenging conditions, we dig hanging out with each other and selling books to the people we meet. Walk past our booth and you’re likely to see all of us smiling and laughing at something one of the group has said. And that carries over to our customers. We joke. We kid. We flirt, if necessary. We make our booth feel like a fun place to be. Really, all that’s missing is a keg. And if Tom Joyce, our development editor and author of the forthcoming The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report, is in the house, you can at expect sleight of hand, random trivia, hilariously skewed observations and the likelihood that we’ll be filming another hilarious video clip for his blog Chamber of the Bizarre.

That said, we know we don’t have a lock on brilliant book festival sales tactics, so if you’re a publisher or author (or just a sales person with great ideas), we’d love to hear your thoughts, too

 

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Filed under Acid Indigestion Eyes, Authors, Don't Be Cruel, Fiction, Immaculate Deception, Independent publishing, Marketing, Mike Argento, Promotions, Scott B. Pruden, Tom Joyce, Wayne Lockwood, Writers