Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marketing -- Tough and Necessary

Currently I am doing less riding and writing and more marketing, so my thoughts and time are spent trying to 'sell.' As a writer, marketing is a necessary evil. Most authors don't like it and have commented their thoughts about it on the blog. Many of us are introverts who enjoy the creative process that goes on in our brain and then, hopefully, is transcribed into words on paper (or into the computer these days), which then (even more hopefully) becomes published.

My latest book release is an American Girl InnerStar U series called Bound for Snow. American Girl, now part of Mattel, doesn't want its authors to actively promote, so I have been spared book signings, school and library visits, and conferences. I don't miss them at all -- which is a bad thing.  I am again fixating on marketing because in the fall or spring I will have a Peachtree title coming out and I will need to promote. A big fat UGH.

I have been getting lots of marketing practice in my new career as an "antique' dealer and seller. Antique is in quotes, because true antiques are generally out of my--and most buyer's-price range. People browsing the booths are looking for fun or decorative collectibles. Vintage is hotter than primitive because really, who can afford a $2,500 primitive pie safe?

As anyone who works in retail knows, marketing is key to selling whether it's a horse, a book, an antique, or a collectible. I have expanded from one booth to two and now three, one in the cute town of Staunton.  I am in two different (and soon to be three) locations in three different areas. I now have a Facebook page and business card for Valley Treasures. I have 'sales' and promotions. I've even hosted teas in the booth. As with book marketing, I have no idea what works to create sales and what doesn't. And you know what? Just like promoting a book, I hate every minute of promoting my 'treasures.'

I do like selling, though. I love it when a royalty check comes in the mail. It's like Christmas! I love it when I sell an item on Ebay--even better when there is a happy customer. I just sold two adorable Lefton porcelain foals. Not only did they have the "awwww" factor, but they were in perfect condition. The buyer loves horses as much as I do, so it was an Ebay match in heaven.  Too often, though, items sit in the booth or sit on Ebay without bids. Because in order to sell, you have to market. There's that word again. I'd love to hear some of your promoting dos and don'ts. What HAS worked for books, horses, or items? Let me know!


Laura Crum said...

Alison--I'm the wrong one to ask about marketing (I know you know). But I have noticed that the Kindle editions of my books took a BIG jump forward in sales after each of the free promotions I did. So that seemed to work. And it was quite painless.

Also, I have a palomino ceramic horse that looks VERY like those two foals. I have had the horse since I was a child. Not that I want to sell it, but are such things valuable? I'm just curious. (And I do know--now--that an item must be in absolutely pristine condition to have value.)

Alison said...

Laura, I am definitely doing free book promotion as soon as the title comes out. Let's face it -- nothing like the word FREE to get interest.

Does your horse still have a tag on the bottom? That is key to finding out the maker and then the value. These two both had tags so I knew they were Lefton which dates them to the 1950/60s. Without those tags its tough. With the tags and in perfect condition, the two sold for $25.00. I have two other beautiful figurines which also have tags but they both have tiny ear nicks -- and no buyers!

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