Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Homeschooled Authors at OCEANetwork Conference Recap

So it's come and gone and here's how it went...

Back at the beginning of May, I put out a call to see if any of my fellow homeschooled authors were interested in going in together on a booth at my local homeschool conference. I told them I would handle setting up the table, running it, selling and promoting their books, and sending them their earnings and any leftovers. I divided the table cost per title so authors, like myself, with more titles (thus using more table space) would be paying more and those with only one title wouldn't find it too cost-prohibitive. I had a good response, ending up with 23 titles by 18 authors.

The day finally came and we had a blast talking to people, answering questions about writing and self-publishing, and promoting the different books according to each customer's reading tastes and those of their children. Friday's sales were a little slow--you could tell a lot of people were taking time to look at everything and would make decisions and do their purchasing the next day. (This is how we recall shopping at conventions, too.) Sure enough, Saturday saw sales pick up.

After a long weekend, we packed up, came home, deposited the mess in the living room and slowly began taking stock of the experience. All told, the booth sold 80 books. The most copies any one title sold was 10 and the least was 1. In addition to this, we distributed a good amount of promotional materials (business cards, bookmarks, flyers, sample chapters). People were so interested, and many aspiring writers and their parents said they were encouraged and inspired. One person said it was a very visionary thing we were all doing--working together to redeem literature. Even those who couldn't purchase right then took business cards and said they'd be looking things up online and purchasing later.
One of the most encouraging customers was a grandmother with 15 grandchildren. She literally wanted to buy one of everything on the table. As I was giving her the tour of all the books, she said, "You're doing a good job at this, you know. I want to buy everything now!" When she realized she didn't have enough cash on hand for it, she purchased what she could and had me give her a list of the titles so she could buy the rest online when she got home.

It was an amazingly fun experience and was successful in more ways than one. While some of the sales numbers aren't that impressive, the amount of interest generated and the huge way we were able to get the word out was entirely successful. Lots of people now know that there are homeschoolers writing real books, publishing them, and doing their part to redeem literature.

As a matter of fact, one person was so encouraged and inspired he has offered to cover the booth fees for any of this year's participating authors who decide to participate if we do this again next year.

Ever since the conference ended and we started looking at the numbers, I've been asking myself the question: "What factors effected the sales numbers?"

My husband and I have been analyzing everything. Here are four key areas we've identified:
  1. Convention size. Oregon's convention had about 2,100 adults in attendance last year (I haven't heard how this year's numbers compare). This is about half the size of--say--the Arizona convention. If only a small percentage of the people attending actually purchase from your booth, the varying sizes of convention will make a big difference in sales numbers. With the amount of interest and success we saw at this convention, can you imagine what we could do at the bigger ones?
  2. Demographics. Quite a few of the participating titles were written for a Young Adult audience. Unlike the Arizona convention, which Tyler and I both remember to be teeming with teens, Oregon's demographic is significantly younger. I remember us watching the people in the vendor hall and wondering to one another, "Where are all the teens?" And the overwhelming majority of parents we talked to were purchasing for children between the ages of about 6 and 13.
  3. Appearance. I'm more convinced than ever that people do judge books by their covers. I just watched several hundred people interact with 23 books, and it's true. Books with beautiful, appealing front covers and well-summarized, intriguing back covers sold well.
  4. Pricing. We noticed books that were priced a bit on the lower end for their perceived size tended to sell better. We had a few short books and a booklet priced under $8. These naturally saw a higher sales count because people don't mind as much plunking down $5 on an impulse buy.
In short, I think homeschooled authors banding together is a great idea. I think working together to promote excellent material in an excellent way is a smart move. I think the market needs a hub for finding homeschooler-authored books. I just think it will take more than one, more than two, more than three tries for the market to think of us all as the leading suppliers of good books. But once it does, we'll be set. We'll have worked together to form this hub, and our customer base will know us and know right where to look whenever the need for decent reading material strikes.

Questions? I just might have answers!
Another time I'll detail how I put this whole thing together and thoughts I've had on what I would do differently and ways it could be improved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Release! "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" Available Now!

A cat who can write? That's right! Readers of all ages are loving Mia Thompson's first mystery. As a matter of fact, you should go watch this enthusiastic video review by author, blogger, and reviewer, Sarah Holman!)

Run on over to Amazon to get your copy for only $6.99 (paperback) or $2.99 (Kindle).*

And by way of celebration, if you purchase a copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" before July 17th (paperback or ebook) and let me know, I'll send you a free ebook copy of one of my other books--your choice! (If you feel like it, leave an Amazon and/or Goodreads review on any of my books--it really helps me out!)

We also have giveaway WINNERS!!!
Congratulations to Hannah B., winner of a signed paperback copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" and the opportunity to help me name a character in the next Kitten Files book.

Congratulations to Sian G., winner of an ebook copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler"!

Coming soon: an update about the next Kitten Files book and a special request from Mia (the cat)!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Interviews, Excerpts, Giveaways--Oh, My! (In Other Words, It's a Blog Tour!)

I am SO excited! My new book, "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" is officially releasing exactly one week from today!

Each day this week one of my fabulous blogging friends will be hosting a little something on their blog to help celebrate this book. Here's how it's shaping up...

Tuesday, June 10 - Right here, introducing the book, the blog tour, and the giveaways
Wednesday, June 11 - http://faithblum.wordpress.com, bringing you a character interview with Keith, the detective
Thursday, June 12 - http://jonathangarner.blogspot.com, hosting a guest post by Yours Truly in which I talk about inspiration and writing a story from a cat's perspective
Friday, June 13 - http://tiallarising.wordpress.com, interviewing me about being homeschooled, self-publishing, and my least favorite chore
Saturday, June 14 - http://www.holyworlds.org/blog, hosting an excerpt--the entirety of Chapter One
Sunday, June 15 - http://mydoubleliving.blogspot.com, sharing blogger Sarah Coons' review of the book
Monday, June 16 - http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com, interviewing me about my writing process, AND http://noblenovels.weebly.com, bringing you a character interview with Mia, the cat
Tuesday, June 17 - http://destinyofone.blogspot.com, announcing the book's release, the giveaway winners, and sharing one more excerpt and blogger Sarah Holman's video review

And I'm super excited about the giveaways! (I've, personally never seen one quite like this before.)

I'll be drawing two winners.
The first will receive a signed paperback copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" and they will get to help me choose the name of the dog in "The Kitten Files" #2.
The second will receive a free a free e-book version of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler"

There are a bunch of ways to enter (including entries for those not on social media). Here's the cool part: you can get more entries each day, so make sure to follow the tour around all the blogs to give yourself the best chance at winning!

The giveaway starts right now and ends at midnight, June 16th. The winners will be announced the next day. It's open to U.S. residents only. (Sorry to my U.K. friends--love ya to pieces!)

Hope to see you around!

P.S.- don't forget my first three books are on sale for $0.99 on Kindle right now!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Get a Free Copy of My Latest Book!

Like the looks of this book?
Well, I'd like to give a free e-copy to 10 people in exchange for their honest reviews!

Here's what you can do to become part of my review team:
1. Review one of my other books on Amazon (the e-books are $0.99 right now if you don't have a copy)
2. Send me the link to your review (there's a contact form in the sidebar if you don't have my email address)
3. Read the digital copy of "The Case of the Tabloid Tattler" I will send to you
4. Post your honest review of it on Amazon (Did you know reviews are super important to indie authors?)

Here's the really cool part: the book isn't officially releasing until June 17th, but you could read it sooner--and for free!

Hurry! There's only room for 10!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A New Perry Book Is on the Way!

I'm thrilled to announce my next book, The Case of the Tabloid Tattler, will be releasing on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats Tuesday, June 17th!

"It was really hard to put the book down. I wanted to figure out who was leaking the information to the tabloid. I can't wait for more to come out." 
—Ethan, age 11

Although this book is primarily written for Middle Grade readers, it has been enjoyed by a wide range of ages: from 5 to 50.

“A brilliant tale that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.”
—Sarah Holman
Author, Blogger at Homeschool Authors

Now, I'm going to need a little help to properly celebrate. If you are a blogger and would be interested in hosting a guest post, interviewing me, or writing a book review--let me know! (There are lots of ways to contact me: leave a comment, email me, or use my social media links in the sidebar.)

More fun, celebratory stuff coming next week:
  • An opportunity to get a free e-book version early
  • A special request from Mia (the cat)

P.S.- if you'll be at the OCEANetwork conference, drop by the Homeschooled Authors table to see The Case of the Tabloid Tattler in person and get a signed copy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Monday Musing 5.26.14

A stream-of-consciousness production in which I muse on my upcoming Homeschooled Authors book table, teething babies, a new book release, and what I have going on this week for housework.

Will I get to see you at the homeschool convention? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Homeschooled Authors Convention Opportunity

Calling all homeschooled authors!
Would you like to see your books for sale at the Oregon homeschool convention? This year, I am organizing a booth of books by homeschooled authors for the OCEANNetwork Conference (June 20-21, attended by approx. 2,100 adults and their families).

Here’s what’s in it for you:
-Because I am splitting the booth fee among multiple authors, your books can be in a homeschool convention for the fraction of the normal cost
-Your books will be at a homeschool convention without you needing to travel
-Your promotional materials may be seen by over 2,000 new potential fans
-You may choose to offer a book or books as a giveaway to gather new e-mail newsletter subscriptions
-If your books sell out, I can take backorders upon your guarantee of order fulfillment within 2 weeks of the convention and an offer of free shipping to convention orders

Here’s how it works:
-Your portion of the booth cost would be $22 x number of your titles participating.
-You would send me copies of your books--the quantity is up to you. You are responsible for shipping costs. 
-You would send me any promotional materials (bookmarks, business cards, coloring pages, etc.) to include on the booth, as well as one book stand to prop up a “demo” copy of your book.
-I will set up and run the booth (to be titled “Homeschooled Authors”) for both days of the convention: June 20-21. I am passionate about homeschooled authors, so I will be a knowledgeable, diligent, and dedicated saleswoman.
-I will oversee any giveaway(s) you may choose to offer.
-After the convention, I will return any remaining inventory to you along with the money from sales of your books minus any associated credit card processing fees. You are responsible for return shipping costs. If your inventory sells out, I will pass on backorders for you to fulfill. You may choose to have me return any unused promotional materials (at your cost) or to have me attempt to place them at local libraries, bookstores, etc.

HURRY! If you would like to participate, please let me know no later than May 17th. Because this is a joint venture, all plans are contingent upon participation. Please note: if, by May 17th, there are not enough participating authors, I will not proceed with the booth purchase. All participating authors will be updated on the status of the booth purchase. (Also note that I reserve the right to deny any title's participation in the booth for any reason and without explanation.)

Please let me know if I can answer any more questions or provide any more details. Contact me here.
I’m looking forward to hearing back from you!