June 10, 2014

Does Print have Power?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine

The last few years it seemed like everything “online” was taking over the world. What it actually did was create a hunger for something touchable…something concrete. The something we could hold in our hands and feel. Yes, digital is still important, but the scales are balancing out. On one side is digital and the other is print.

The fans of authors want something they can see and touch. They will still buy books in digital, that isn’t going away. However, they now want something printed.

In the old days of Hollywood and movie stars, a fan could write in and request a picture from their favorite author–and they personalized the photo. They signed the picture, not just with their name but said “TO” whoever the fan was. They used their name.

Today with fans, they don’t get to approach the author unless it is at a book signing, or book event, and a couple of other places. There the author can sign the book their reader bought. But, what would happen if you took it one step further. What if they got a photo of their “author” autographed personally to them? What kind of buzz do you think that would create?

Here are a few suggestions where giving away a personalized autograph of you (or your book). Yes, instead of putting your picture on the photo, you could put the photo of the cover of the book and still autograph it. Your choice.
·        Book signings. Yes, you are signing the book, but what if you took that extra step, and enclosed your photo, personalized to them, and slipped it in the book.
·        When a fan emails you and tells you how much they enjoyed your book…you can email them a personalized photo back, or go one step further and request their address to send them a personalized photo of you or the cover of your book.
·        When at a conference and someone tells you how much they enjoy reading your book…give them a personalized photo of your book cover or you. Yes, it takes a few minutes, but boy is it worth it. Or get their address to send them one after the conference.
·        Conferences, when you are facilitating a class, perfect place to give one-to everyone there.
·        Book clubs, whether in person or by Skype, perfect place to do personalized photo of you or your book.
·        Libraries, perfect place to do a reading…give personalized photo.
These are just a few ideas; I bet you can think of more. If you do, let us know.
Does it take effort? Yes.
Does it take time? Yes.
Does it cost a little money? Yes
But aren’t your fans worth it?
Aren’t you trying to build a bigger reader base?
Isn’t your plan to sell more books?
The more you personalize the more interest you create for your books.
People want to hold something in their hands again. Something real. You can contribute to this desire.
When I was a little kid, I wrote Roy Rogers movie studio (with the help of my parents) requesting a photo of him on Trigger. Imagine my delight, when a few weeks later, I received an autographed photo of Roy Rogers on Trigger and it was signed by him…”To Susan, From Roy Rogers and Trigger.” Wow, I ran around the house screaming as loud as I could, showing my picture. Then barreled out of the house, and started showing to the kids outside.
I was the most popular kid on the block for the whole summer. Every time someone came to visit, I would pull out that photograph and parade it around.
When your reader gets this personalized photo, they probably want go nuts like I did, but after all they aren’t a kid…they’re an adult. But that little kid inside them will be beaming and you can bet, they’ll be sure and tell others and I bet they’ll even show the photo.

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