February 22, 2006

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing By James Richardson | printable version

Some say that the three most important aspects of starting a retail business are location...location...location. By the same token, a successful author might adhere to the same concept with, marketing...marketing...marketing!

BookLocker made it perfectly clear upon accepting my work for publication that should I desire to recoup my setup fees, cover production, and printing costs, I should expect to put a lot of time and effort into marketing my book. Angela and Richard Hoy provided me with marketing strategy materials and even created my blog (all of this at no cost), which enabled me to create additional interest in my book. Now it was up to me to determine how I would go about placing my book in local outlets.

I should mention that I reside in Maryville, Tennessee, at the doorsteps of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP). Since my book centered on my experiences in thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, I knew that the local trail shops would be a good place to start. But first, I needed exposure for my book. A local feature writer, who had actually referred me to BookLocker, wrote an article about my 2,160-mile journey on the trail. The article announced a book signing that I had arranged with a local book outlet. I followed this up with a visit to our featured hometown newspaper and, bingo, I had another article in print.

My book signing went off as planned and I sold 23 copies on my first outing. Next, I visited the newspaper in an adjoining county and they agreed to write an article that gave me even greater exposure in nearby Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. Now I had the two counties that bordered the GSMNP covered. All that remained was the greater Knoxville metropolitan and surrounding east Tennessee counties. I arranged for my book to be reviewed by a columnist who runs a monthly recap of books written by local authors. I then gathered the clippings from the three newspaper articles and had them laminated before setting out to gain further placement of my book. While some POD authors are successful in getting their books stocked in their local bookstores, the major retail book outlets here flat turned me down when they learned that my book was print on demand (POD). But, I ended up with my book being placed in five area businesses.

In addition, I placed complimentary copies in two libraries and provided Amazon and Google with review copies for their website exposure. Next, I paid a visit to the purchasing agent for the Sugarlands Visitor's Center in the GSMNP. I left a review copy of my book and he agreed to circulate it with various park personnel to see if it would fit in their outlay of books at the center. This was in October of 2005; since this was the end of the tourist season, the agent suggested that I contact him in February 2006 to discuss the matter further.

On the 15th day of February, I followed through with a visit and we settled on an initial bulk order. My book would now be placed in at least four of their nine outlets. My timing could have not been better as the GSMNP was making plans to feature the Appalachian Trail in an upcoming workshop. I was directed to make contact with one of the Rangers who seemed excited that I had sought him out. As it turned out, a planning session was taking place in the very building where I was standing. I was introduced to the planning team and they extended an invitation for me to participate in their workshop. This had turned out to be quite a day; a major retail outlet for my book, plus workshop exposure to boost initial sales. My wife and I topped off a perfect day by hiking a four-mile river trail that still had remnants of a recent snow. As I walked along the river, I was reminded that I had begun my book publishing process in February of 2005 and here I was one year later, finally reaping rewards far beyond my initial expectations.

Once Upon A Climb is about one man's adventure in thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. It portrays a man armed with intestinal fortitude and a desire to reach his goal. The author, James Richardson, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, portrays all of the human emotions that one would expect when stepping up to the challenge of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Six-months and 2,160 miles is more than ample time to analyze the physical, emotional, and spititual underpinnings that allowed him to succeed. The journey began at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia, where an inexperienced, 60 year-old hiker took his first cautious steps northward to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

James Richardson is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who served on active duty for a period of 20 years. He earned a bachelors degree in biology from Tennessee Wesleyan College and a masters degree in social work from the University of Tennessee. Following his military career, the author worked in the mental health field before retiring from active practice in 1998. He has taught at the college level and has conducted seminars relating to stress management and addictive behaviors. He is an avid outdoorsman who has led a boating expedition on the Yukon River and has canoed 450 miles of the Tennessee River. He is active in community and church activities and continues to enjoy hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

 




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