Many readers, as well as fellow authors, have asked me who designed the cover of Almost Human.
Casey Whitesell, period! Casey is amazing. After turning down several cover proofs from my publisher, I was very frustrated. I shared this with my friend Casey. She reminded me that she was a graphic artist and offered to give it a go.
I showed her a photograph of a chimp I had trained years ago, Oliver, who had been the inspiration of this book. I described how I wanted the cover dark and sinister, and that the eyes were especially important. She created the perfect cover with little drama or fanfare. The publisher loved the cover and recommended it over their in house art department.
Readers have told me that Casey’s cover was what intrigued them enough to take the plunge and try my book.
I was honored to do two book signings in my hometown this last weekend. I wondered what it would be like to personally know many of the attendees believing that in most cases you can never be a prophet in your own land. Many of my signings on the tour were very successful with large numbers coming out who had already read, Almost Human. I wondered if this would be the case in my hometown.
At both events, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the turnout and number of readers. I mentioned in a previous posting some lessons I had learned from my first book signing. Well, here’s another reason to do these personal appearances. You never know who you might meet.
While many of the people who attended were locals who I knew, some brought friends who I’d never met. While some bought books for which I’m grateful, others turned out to be beneficial contacts to promote my book. One was a fellow author who invited me to speak at a local writers’ group I’ve been trying to contact for a considerable time; another, was a producer of a TV program that might feature my book.
So the new lesson I’ve learned is book signings are not about selling books so much as making a personal connection with people who might help you grow your book. These people are your readers or potential readers who will have a stronger connection to you and your work by meeting face to face. That is how loyalty is built.
I will never complain to my wife, Tammy, again about doing one of these events again!
I had no idea what to do at a book signing and stressed over my first one. As a writer, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never attended one in my life!
My first one was at a winery, Del Rio, in Gold Hill, Oregon. It was a beautiful setting. Fortunately, I was asked what inspired me to write the book. So I gave the backstory of the book. That went on for a while and then I opened it to Q/A. Questions ranged from details of the book to training wild animals in the movies to the craft of writing. We were there a good three hours. So this has become my formula now. Oh! I got a lot of free glasses of a very good Merlot as well!
Book Signings are very important, not so much to sell books directly but to make a personal connection with readers and to build a buzz; word of mouth to capture new readers. Your readers bring friends and tell friends about your work. You know a signing is going well when people begin tweeting their friends to come join them.
I honestly don’t have a clue of what you do at one of these things. My agent was not much help as she suggested I “just be myself and sell books.”
I have to say that all the marketing part of the publishing business is a real mystery to me. I didn’t realize how much time I would be pulled away from writing my sequel, More than Human, to fulfill obligations that were in the “small print.” While it will be exciting to meet people in person who have read my book, Almost Human, I am really nervous about doing this as I am completely out of my element. It borders on embarassing to me.
I plan to give the backstory of what inspired me to write the novel and some of what is behind the characters. Maybe talk about the craft of writing and answer questions if there are any.
I would love advice and suggestions. My reading is at 3pm tomorrow. HELP!