A Wealth of Marketing facts/skills from a Pro – Maria Murnane

This post is a recommendation by Lloyd Lofthouse.

I attended a morning lecture/workshop Saturday, April 14 that was sponsored by the Diablo branch of the California Writer’s Club. Maria Murnane was the presenter.

Maria Murnane’s presentation was about marketing for authors and the presentation was valuable for both traditional-published and self-published authors.

Maria worked in public relations for nearly 10 years before she quit her job and started out as a self-published author. From what I heard, she is a one person industry with boundless energy—she writes chick lit and teaches marketing. In fact, those same marketing skills she used to promote her first self-published book eventually led to a traditional contract with Amazon.


Maria interviewed at 2011 Book Expo as an author published by Amazon.

Maria knows her stuff—I was IMPRESSED by her wealth of knowledge and marketing skills.  I have a BA in journalism (1973) and took maybe one or two classes on public relations, but this is her field and it is more up-to-date since she is a much younger individual than I am (I’m old enough to have a head full of curly cobwebs).  Maria has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University.

I like the title of that major—integrated marketing communications—and what it means.

To give you an idea of how much I added to my knowledge of this topic, I took nine pages of notes in addition to the two-page handout from Maria. What I learned will change my marketing tactics.

The Saturday morning workshop with Maria Murnane cost members $35 and non-members $45, and we had about a dozen non members with at least a 100 in attendance (this is not a scientific count–just a guesstimate). Anyway, to make a long story much shorter, Maria has this entire lecture on her Website as Webinars but they are not free. After all, this is her business as an author and super-expert publicist marketing pro.


This is a 3:10 minute preview of an 80-minute webinar that teaches authors of fiction and nonfiction how to develop creative, grassroots marketing campaigns that do not cost much more than their time.

Link to Maria Murnane’s Webinar: http://mariamurnane.com/work-with-maria/webinars/

You may discover that paying to listen to this Webinar is well worth your time. In fact, I prefer Webinars because I can stop them as I take notes and then start again when I’m ready.

Maria Murnane is the award-winning author of Perfect on Paper and It’s a Waverly Life, novels for anyone who has ever run into an ex looking like crap. Honey on Your Mind debuts July 24!  www.mariamurnane.com

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Tips for a Book Signing

(Al Levenson shared this with the Marketing Group)

Prepared by publicist and author Randy Ray (www.randyray.ca) and author and publishing consultant Barbara Florio Graham, http://www.SimonTeakettle.com

BEFORE THE SIGNING

Arrange with the bookstore in advance how sales will be handled. How many books do they want you to bring? How many of the unsold copies will they retain on consignment? Do they have a standard consignment agreement for you to sign?Then prepare an invoice for the number of books you’re bringing. The usual discount is 40%. The store will tally sales from the signing and send you a cheque later. Bringing an invoice for the full amount makes it easier for the store. Keep track yourself about how many books you sign. You might even have sheet where buyers can give you their names and e-mail addresses, so you can follow up with information about your next book, or request testimonials for your website.

If the bookstore is not planning to promote the signing in-store with flyers, offer to make flyers and take them to the store.  The more colourful, the better.Seven days before the event promote the signing in the local media and to all of your contacts, including friends, neighbours and colleagues.

If your book has won any type of award, make sure to highlight this in your publicity, and purchase “award-winner” stickers to place on the books.Call the bookstore four days before the signing to ensure the store is ready for you.

Clarify the procedure. Where will your table be? Will someone be there to handle sales? Will they offer any refreshments?Try to talk the store into setting up a display of your books a day or two prior to the signing, or several hours before you arrive to generate advance interest.

Make sure they have signs to place on the shelves where your books will go after the signing. If they don’t have these, make a few simple signs yourself. A letter-size sheet, folded in half horizontally, should read “Signed by Author” on the bottom half, so the top half can be tucked under the books.Think about what to wear. If your book is quirky, geared to children, or in a special genre (like sci-fi or fantasy) wear one or two pieces of clothing such as a hat or shirt that reflect that. Otherwise, dress professionally. You won’t attract potential buyers by looking like just another person shopping at the mall. A jacket is always a wise idea (and gives you a place to pin your name badge). Keep strong colors to the centre of your upper body, perhaps a bright tie or scarf, or a bright colored shirt or blouse under your jacket. Avoid plaids, prints, or anything distracting. Consider props for the table. Think about what might tie in with your book’s subject or theme. People are drawn to props, whereas a pile of books is boring.

AT THE SIGNINGArrive at least 20 minutes early to ensure the table has been set up and is in a high traffic location.  In Chapters, try to have the table set up near the “power aisle,” which is the main aisle heading toward the back of the store.

Don’t be afraid to change the way the books are arranged on the table. If you’re left-handed, you will want a different set-up than for a right-hander. Bring business cards, bookmarks or flyers to hand out to those who drop by but don’t buy a book.Place a dish of candies on the table: many people will see them and dip in. Once they are close, engage them.If you have a nametag, wear it so people know you are an author; if you don’t have a nametag, make one. It should contain just your name, in a large font. Don’t wear jewelry or a tie that competes with the tag.

Be friendly with customers but not pushy.Don’t sit at the table: stand up and move around behind the table and infront of the table.Have a couple of brief messages ready when customers approach;  if one isn’t working, try another one.

AFTER THE SIGNINGWhen the signing ends, ask the book store manager or a supervisor to keep as many copies of your book as possible in case non-buyers come back to the store at a later date in search of your book.

Ask a manager to take the extra flyers or bookmarks you brought along.

If the person who set up the signing is in the store, thank him/her for their efforts; if they are not available, call them with a personal thank you or send an email thank you note.