Friday, April 25, 2014

The New Mexico Book Co-Op (April)

I can't believe it's been a month already… time is just flying by this year and I can't seem to keep up. So much is happening! I've had a crazy and busy week and I almost decided not to go to this NM Book Co-Op meeting, but then I remembered the topic of discussion: Book Sell Sheets.

I'd never even heard of a sell sheet for books until last month's meeting—and the timing turned out to be perfect for me since I ended up needing one for my own book—the very next day. But I had no idea what I was doing when I put that together and I wanted to find out more.

I have to admit, I was a bit late to the luncheon… I basically skipped the lunch part and arrived just as the talk was starting. This time the entire room was given a chance to introduce themselves and their books (if they had one). Then the guest speaker was introduced: John Hoffsis of Treasure House Books & Gifts, on the Old Town Plaza…

So, what is a sell sheet? It's basically a calling card for your book—a sheet of paper with the right facts and details about your book that you can hand to someone: a buyer at a bookstore, a librarian, book reviewers, or any potential buyer of your book (you know, unless you can actually put a book in their hands, it's best to have something to leave behind).
Example: single page (picture book!)

Example: two-sided page

Here's what you need your book sell sheets:
  • Book Title, Author's name, Illustrator's name (if applicable)
  • Publication Date (this is mainly for pre-orders, if your isn't out yet)
  • ISBN, Page Count, Hardcover or paperback, and dimensions
  • A PICTURE OF THE BOOK (not overwhelming, but definitely the focus of the page)
  • Synopsis of the story (1-2 paragraphs tops)
  • Blurbs: from other authors, reviewers, award committees (name dropping is not a bad thing here, use any connections you have to get noticed!)
  • Author Bio / Illustrator Bio (1 paragraph—and a picture is a nice touch, especially if self- or small publisher published)
  • List of your other books (it's okay to include small thumbnail images of the books, but not too many)
  • Contact Information
  • Publisher Information
  • Any discounts or special offers (on quantities, etc)
  • Distributors
  • Book Website!
*A single, double-sided, piece of paper—TOPS. Multiple pages gets overwhelming, and overlooked.

They surprised me and encouraged gimmicks: confetti in an envelope, a toy, etc. I've always heard the opposite, but that's for artwork promotion, not book promotion.

*This was very much for a DIY effort, yet they were encouraging everyone to make sure the sheets were well-designed… which seems unfair to me. If design is not your profession, you can't be expected to know what good design is. It's times like these I'm very thankful for my background in design.


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