Saturday, June 25, 2016

Meeting and Greeting – A Marketing Plan – Part Deux By Kait Carson

As a member of the Gulf Coast Chapters of Sisters in Crime I attended a marketing day at the Sarasota Barnes & Noble. I have to admit, initially I only did it because I thought I had to. Not for me, but for my publisher. First of all, Sarasota is 100 miles away from my home—and that’s a crow flies distance.  Second, I had to be there by 9:45 AM. Third, like most writers, I’d rather hunker down in my cave and write. Fourth, the Florida rainy season has been hitting with a vengeance most days this week and the thought of driving an hour and a half through gator gushers... Why then, did a reasonably sane woman leave her house at 6:30 AM with thunder lighting the western sky? Did I mention about my publisher? And, oh yeah, bookstores are catnip to a writer.
This is the second part of a two-part blog, the first part appeared on Motive Means Opportunity on Monday, June 20, 2016.  Tricky, huh.
I previously mentioned the book signing table up front. I have to admit; it was a pretty intimidating place to be. There I was, books on display, sitting right smack dab at the front door. Behind me the Sisters in Crime poster was in full display. My role was clear—I’m here to sell you some books. I felt like the perfume lady at the mall. Nobody wants to get that squirt. The poor woman must have face ache at the end of every shift. To say nothing of self-esteem issues!
My second thought was far less personal. If someone had asked me (and I base this on my sales and on the sale of other writers) I would have said that book stores were in their death throes. The majority of my sales are e-books. It’s rare to see someone with a paper book anymore. These days, it’s far more common to see someone with an e-reader. The volume of folks coming through the door, and the volume of folks walking out the door with packages told a far different tale.
My third thought really warmed my heart. I loved the number of kids running (not walking) into the store. Parents well and truly in their wake while the kids bargained for more than one book. It was exciting to see this new generation of readers. One family walked in and the older child ran to the children’s table, grabbed up a book, thrust it at her younger brother and said, “You have to read this, it was my favorite when I was your age.” It was intoxicating to see the whole family in the checkout line – each with at least one book in hand.
Following my abysmal performance at the solo signing table it was time for lunch and then a panel discussion. I’d never participated in a panel so I was very intrigued to see how they worked. Wendy Dingwall was the moderator (she’s also President of the Gulf Coast Sister in Crime Chapter) and I shared the podium with Susan Klaus and Shannon Esposito. Many of you may know Susan from her Authors Connection radio show as well as her books She writes both thrillers and fantasy. Shannon writes two cozy series, one featuring a pet psychic, and the second featuring a yoga instructor who runs a doga (doggie yoga) class. Two great co-panelists.

Wendy had some really fun and insightful questions for the group and each of us had a turn to answer. What amazed me was the similarity among the responses. All three of us felt that marketing was the hard part. What we really wanted to do was spend our time writing. We’d each thought if we wrote it, readers would come. That would be osmosis marketing. It didn’t work for any of us. Our books were all character driven. Didn’t matter what we plotted. At some point, the characters took over. We differed on our themes, the degree of heat in our books and how we approached our writing.  It was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for the audience. And the audience questions were really, really, insightful. They wanted to know where the characters come from. How much of us were in our books. Did we really write for our own motives or to tell a great story? 
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I had a great time, and I think the audience did too.
Kait loves to hear from fans, check out her website at; follow her on Facebook at, on twitter at @kaitcarson, or e-mail her at


  1. I always enjoy times I can talk with readers at event like yours, whether they are my readers or have never heard of me. I always come back from those experiences with a bit of extra energy (even though I am a big time introvert).

  2. good for you, coming out of your writing cave for a SinC event. I suspect you made some fans who will read your books.

  3. Sounds like a fun event! I like to have the opportunity to chat with people who love books. I remember reading that something like your first 5000 fans are from personal contact. I have a ways to go.

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! It is wonderful to see how excited children are about books. You saw our next generation of readers and perhaps a writer who was inspired by seeing you at the book store.

  5. It was a great time. Seeing the kids was fantastic. Had you asked me before, I would have said that video/computer games held more sway than books. Wrong! It was clear that the love of reading came from the parents too. In all cases the kids were accompanied by both parents and both were just as excited as the kids.

    I have often found that it is the things I dread most in contemplation that I enjoy most in doing. Kait Adverse??????

  6. Kait,
    I enjoyed reading your post. It's confirming to know other writers share the same struggles. I used to think there must be some secret I'm not aware of, but since I've been at it I've come to learn it's the old one step at at a time strategy that grows our chops.
    Write on!
    Nancy Cole Silverman.

    PS. Send some that rain westward. We need it in California.

  7. Kait, it sounds like you had a great time. I'm one who is not good at promoting my books, but sometimes opportunities come along where I can do it like my church's Christmas craft sale. Last year was the first time there was an opening for me. I did quite well at that and there will still be an opening held for me for next December, too. I was also asked to speak at a Rotary Club meeting in an area where I used to teach. That, too, was productive and both times I loved talking to those who came. Most recently a woman who has an independent radio station where she interviews people contacted me and wanted to interview me. I know she heard about me from one of my SinC chapter friends. For a donation of $52.00 to a charity for veterans, it will be available for others to hear for 52 weeks.

  8. Hi Nancy, Thanks for the encouraging words. Yep, one step at a time is what works best. I think writers are by nature introverts. We'd rather be in our caves scribbling and not out in the trenches. That said, I found the feedback I received invigorating.

  9. Hi Gloria, sounds like you've had great experiences too. Each one makes the next so much easier, and more enjoyable I think. Are you going to do the radio show? Sounds like a wonderful opportunity, and the cause is a good one.