Monday, September 14, 2009

Boo! Promoting Books at Halloween!

Today Mayra Calvani, an author who writes books for children, shares her ideas for seasonal promotion. But because it's nearing October, she's highlighting Halloween. Boo! Books! Thank you for sharing Mayra!

By Mayra Calvani

Christmas is a wonderful time for children’s book authors to market their Christmas picture books. And Halloween is the perfect time for horror authors. But, with a little thought, you may find a niche for your book in any season. But let's concentrate on this season.

There are many events you can plan ahead of time to sell books during the spooky month of October. For instance, you may do book signings at general bookstores, or, better yet, at horror specialty bookstores or a costume shop. You may host a Halloween party and invite all your friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors. If you’re a children’s author with a Halloween-theme title, you can host a party for your children’s classmates, as well as do readings in schools and libraries.

The important thing here, however, is to make the event fun and ‘spooky’ for everyone. At singings, why not wear a costume? If your book is about witches, why not disguise yourself as one and arrive with witch’s fingers cookies and a caldron with dry ice for a special effect? If your story deals with vampires, why not dress up as one and offer glasses of a deep red drink? The same goes for zombies, monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. The idea is to play out the ‘theme’ of your book, and to get plenty of attention.

Decorate your signing table with spider webs, bats, rats or black cats, and other paraphernalia. Be friendly and always look at visitors in the eye when you talk to them. Offer them something to eat or drink—-anything that will make them want to stay by your table and look at your book. Your imagination is the limit. It’s up to you to make your book signing a success.

I once heard of an author who hosted a Halloween party at his home and sold over two hundred copies of his book in one night. He sent out invitations one month in advance to his relatives, friends, and neighbors. He also posted flyers in local libraries, bookshops, and around his neighborhood. Of course, he went all the way with decorations, food, and drink. His house became a ‘real’ haunted house, complete with props, creepy music, candelabra, dry ice—-naturally, his books were beautifully displayed at various locations throughout the house. Most guests were more than happy to purchase a copy of his book before leaving.

For book signings and readings, don’t forget to plan the event and contact the coordinators at least five months in advance, as they may have tight schedules during the Halloween season.

Remember that booksellers, especially specialty shops, are more willing to consider horror titles for shelf display during Halloween. So if you want your book to be sold in these shops, contact the owner or acquisition clerk several months ahead. You may approach them with an attractive brochure of your book, but preferably with a copy of the book itself accompanied by a brief cover letter.

Happy Halloween marketing!

Today's guest blogger Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer and animal advocate. She enjoys writing for children and adults. A regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle, she's a member of SCBWI, CWCC and Broad Universe. She keeps two blogs, Mayra's Secret Bookcase ( and The Dark Phantom Review (

Additionally, she's the co-author of the ForeWord Best of the Year Award winner, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. (

Visit her newest, fun blog, Pets and Their Authors (, where her golden retriever interviews authors' pets.

Mayra does Spanish translations of children's picture books and is the National Latino Books Examiner for (

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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