Pari asked for our best marketing ideas this week and I’m a little late on this one, but one of the most effective things I’ve done is something a lot of California authors and beyond are getting wise to: a drop-in bookstore tour with Ken Wilson. Naomi Hirahara interviewed Ken here last year, which is how I learned about his services, and mostly I’m going to link to that article for the full scoop.
What Ken provides is a fast and furious full-day drop-in tour of Los Angeles bookstores. You hit the stores, meet the managers, sign stock and chat while they order even more of your books. The signed books often get moved up to front tables and endcaps, and the managers usually take the time to introduce you to their best hand-sellers in your genre. You cover 10-12 stores in a day, depending, of course, on traffic, and Ken has a full-day Orange County loop you can do as well.
This year for the paperback release of THE HARROWING I’m doing both loops with Ken and two of my favorite authors, Sarah Langan and Deborah LeBlanc. There aren’t that many women out there writing supernatural suspense as dark as we do it, so we’ve teamed up, along with British novelist Sarah Pinborough, to do some touring and other events together.
We had a massively productive day yesterday, and will be out and about Orange County on Monday. Today we get a bit of a rest – just two stores and then a full signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank at 2 p.m. (I plan to do all my Christmas shopping for my horror-loving friends this afternoon – in addition to a staggering collection of the best horror, new and old, Dark Delicacies has the best – weird – gifts ever).
Yes, you can do this kind of drop-in tour yourself, a la the indefatigable Joe Konrath, but there’s nothing like having a professional take you straight in to the right people and do most of the selling for you, and Los Angeles is such a huge market that it’s pretty much a miracle to get this kind of coverage in just two days.
So click through and let Naomi introduce you to Ken Wilson – a marketing treasure you can’t afford not to know about.
I’ll vouch for Ken as well. He’s absolutely wonderful.
One of the things I noticed while going around L.A. with him was that the people who worked at the bookstores were HAPPY to see him. ALWAYS.
Anyone who has walked into a bookstore and seen an employee’s eyes glaze over when you’ve said, “I’m an author,” knows what I’m talking about.
With Ken at your side, you’ve already got street-cred where it’s needed most.
Wow – what a fabulous service and a great resource. Thanks Naomi, Alex, and Pari for the great info!
Here’s hoping I can use him in the coming year(s).
I’m definitely doing this with Ken with my next book. His reputation precedes him throughout the industry. I’ll bet his schedule fills up pretty far in advance, too.Have fun, Alex!
Pari, you are so right about this:
“One of the things I noticed while going around L.A. with him was that the people who worked at the bookstores were HAPPY to see him. ALWAYS.”
Bookselllers LOVE Ken, so you’re already on a whole other level than going in on your own.
JT and Billie, you’ll have a great tim!
Ken is cool. ‘Nuff said.
Ken Wilson has a website now:
So glad you had a good experience with him, Alex.
Wow. Cool. I didn’t know there were people who did that! (Gee, I’m so naive.)Well, I bookmarked his website in case I ever get to the stage where I need it.thanks for the informative post!
Thanks for the url, Naomi – I was not being able to find it.
Paperback, there are also bookstore tours in Seattle, and Ken just launched an associate in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ll update with contact info when I can get it.
Alex, where will Ken bring you in the Irvine area? I’m working down there, and have yet to find a good bookstore near John Wayne.