Saturday, September 24, 2005

Libraries #2

So here's the deal.

The multi-talented and multi-award winning Julia Spencer-Fleming and I will be sending out promo packages to more than 6300 libraries in 28 states.

For those who haven't read Julia yet, she writes the highly entertaining mystery thriller series featuring the unlikely team of Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson. The action takes place in the Adirondack town of Millers Kill, NY.

Four books so far, beginning with the wonderful IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER. Her latest, TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH, is her best yet, and all the action takes place in a single day--a nifty high-concept idea that I'm going to use for FUZZY NAVEL, Jack Daniels #5 (after DIRTY MARTINI, which I'm working on right now).

Buy Julia's books. You'll like them. And check out her website, www.juliaspencerfleming.com. She's one of a handful of authors who is as insane about self-promotion as I am.

Included in out library package will be:
  1. A two page interview with me and Julia
  2. A double-sided brochure for the Miller's Kill series
  3. A double-side brochure for the Jack Daniels series
  4. A postcard/coaster from each of us, autographed

Now let's crunch numbers and see how this works.

Printing costs will be about $300 each. Shipping will be about $2300, and envelopes about $200. I'm sprining for shipping and envelopes, because Julia is the one who painstakingly gathered all of the library addresses.

So I'll be into this for about $2800.

I make 55 cents on a paperback sale, $3.00 on a hardcover sale, and about $6.00 on an audiobook sale.

Through my efforts, I'll need to sell 5090 paperbacks, or 933 hardcovers, or 466 audiobooks to break even. Or some combination thereof.

That seems very doable. If only one out of six libraries buys an audiobook, I've made back my investment.

I'm hoping that the personal touch---which includes a signed coaster and information on how to enter a library contest---will prompt those librarians who have never ordered my books to give them a try, and those librarians who have ordered my books before to buy the newest book in larger numbers, or more copies of my backlist.

Though I only have two books out (with the third coming in May) I have an astonishing 16 products available to purchase. They include:

Whiskey Sour:
Unabridged cassette 978-1-59355-487-7
Unabridged CDs 978-1-59355-489-3
Unabridged MP3-CD 978-1-59335-479-7
Unabridged Download 978-1-59335-976-2 Through OverDrive
Hardcover 1-4013-0087-1
Paperback 0-7868-9072-X

Bloody Mary:
Unabridged cassette 978-1-59355-491-0
Unabridged CDs 978-1-59355-493-4
Unabridged MP3-CD 978-1-59335-866-2
Unabridged Download 978-1-59335-088-5 Through OverDrive
Hardcover 1-4013-0089-8
Paperback 0-7868-9074-6

Rusty Nail:
Unabridged CDs 978-1-59355-497-2
Unabridged MP3-CD 978-1-59335-867-9
Unabridged Download 978-1-59335-658-0 Through OverDrive
Hardcover 1-4013-0088-X

So I should be able to at least break even, don't you think? I don't believe many libraries hear from authors directly, and I'm hoping this will spur them on to give me and Julia a shot.

Your thoughts?

I haven't included the Adobe and Microsoft Reader text download editions in the brochure, because I'm not sure libraries use these. Can some librarian reading this let me know?

Even if I don't see any immediate results of this campaign, it can't hurt getting my name and book titles in front of librarians. They may not order immediately, but when the next Ingram r Bake & Taylor catalog comes around, maybe the they'll be more apt to buy me.

Plus, I'll write the expense off.

When I get the complete package together, I'll make it available on my website for download, so people can take a look.

On an unrelated note, I'm somewhat sad to see yet another audio format rendered obsolete during my lifetime.

First 8-tracks. Then vinyl. Now, finally, cassettes are going the way of the dinosaur. According to Brilliance, my audio publisher, stores are no longer going to stock books on tape---only on CD and MP3. So Rusty Nail will be without a cassette release.

On another unrelated note, my books are now in 6 foreign countries: Japan, France, Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Thailand. The markets I really want to crack--England, Germany, and Australia--remain elusive.