Susan McBeth | Connecting People and Communities Through Books

Susan McBeth is part of a group of authors who will visit Anchorage Sept. 24-28, 2016 through an author exchange program
sponsored by Adventures by the Book. In partnership with the Alaska Writers
Guild, 49 Writers is featuring these visiting authors in workshops at the AWGconference on Saturday, Sept. 24 and also at a members-only salon event
on Sunday, Sept. 25.

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains,
rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, &
who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an
inhabited garden.” 

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Adventures by the Book™ (ABTB) was founded on the premise that
books connect people and communities, so it probably comes as no surprise that
I believe the success of a book will not only be determined by the quality of
the writing, but also by an author’s ability to connect with readers and the
reading community. Writing is a solitary profession, so how, then, does an
author (you) leave your protective cocoon to fulfill your yearning to connect
with readers? Promotion of your book can indeed be a daunting task, but it is
crucial for its success and likely will not be as difficult as you think.
Perhaps it will be helpful for you to think
of your book promotion in terms of a set of concentric circles, with you at the
bull’s eye, the actual center of those circles. This makes sense considering
you are the creator, and you are the most invested in the success of your own
book. You certainly cannot expect others to help promote your book if you are
not doing so yourself.

With that in mind, it is incumbent upon you
to lead the way by making available and disseminating information about your
book as many ways as possible, through whatever channels are available to you,
such as your mailing list, social media, and your website. Once you schedule
your book signing event(s), make sure to not only include crucial details like
date, time, venue, cost etc., but other relevant and often overlooked
information such as how readers register to attend an event (making sure to
include a direct link), where and how readers may purchase books, and what they
can expect from their experience.
Once you have laid this groundwork, you can
expand to the next closest circle, that of family, friends and colleagues.
After all, these are the close-reach people who are invested in you and want to
see you succeed. Do not be shy about asking then to spread the word to their friends
and book clubs, whether by word of mouth, e-mail, or their own social media, or
to help you host events. As I built ABTB from ground zero, my first event
consisted solely of a wonderful group of my girlfriends and colleagues, some of
whom brought members of their family or book club members, and my following has
grown organically from there.
The next concentric circle belongs to your
immediate community. This is where you can post events at local libraries,
community centers, or public event calendars, and at any other businesses or
organizations with whom you have a connection or may have an interest in your
event. This does not have to be a bookstore. Non-traditional book signings at
alternative venues are a great option for Alaskan authors who are geographically
dispersed or who live in areas that don’t have brick and mortar bookstores.
Another benefit from working with community organizations is that they
typically have their own mailing lists and are usually happy to help you
promote your event, as they are also vested in its success. Just do not assume
they will do so automatically, so make sure to ask.
Your last and outer circle consists of media,
whether the traditional radio, television, and print media, or of the social
media variety. Do not be afraid to send out press releases for your event, and
do not be afraid of jumping into the social media world, even if you have never
before done so. Conduct a little research to see which are the most relevant
social media formats for your reading
, and focus on those few rather than overwhelming yourself by
utilizing every social media outlet available.
While this is just a guideline to get you
started, remember that the amount of effort you put into promoting your event
will bear a direct correlation to the success of your event(s) and your book
sales. If you work hard at promoting your book, the rewards are worth it, as
there is nothing more satisfying than connecting people and communities through
books. So go out and create your own Adventure by the Book!
McBeth founded Adventures by the Book™ in 2011 after having specialized in
event management for over twenty years, including four and a half years as
Director of Marketing and Events for one of the oldest independent bookstores
in the United States. Her passion to more intimately connect readers with
authors and their books through unique and interactive literary events and travel
has led her to redefine traditional author readings. Susan is also the founder
of AuthorPreneurs™, an incubator program for writers She is a contributor to
Midge Raymond’s
Book Marketing
and a contributing editor to international online
Wine Dine & Travel, with her column
“Travel by the Book”.
She has
been featured on NBC San Diego, KPBS, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego
Magazine, Women’s Radio, Reading with Robin Radio, Hera Hub Podcast, IBPA
Independent Magazine, and others Susan is a facilitator for the San Diego State
University Osher Institute’s ‘Ed’-ventures and sits on the committee for KPBS
One Book, One San Diego, and is a former Board member for the Southern
California Independent Booksellers Association She holds a Masters in
Comparative Literature with an emphasis in German Literature from San Diego
State University, where she earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar
Board Honor Society after graduating Magna cum Laude from San Diego State
University with a degree in business administration, with distinction in
management, and a minor in German. 
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