The Pros and Cons of Author Vending

I enjoy networking with readers, other authors and business people present at conferences and festivals. One of the many ways I have access to these opportunities is through vending. Today, I would like to share a few of the pros and cons of author vending.

What is author vending?

To put it simply, author vending is when authors partner with an organization to reserve a space where they can sell their books/services/products, usually at a book festival or conference. Vending is not new and is something other businesses do all the time. The benefits of vending are numerous but there can also be some challenges for Independent Authors. As usual, I base this on my own experience which may very well differ from other authors.

Con: Financial Risk

“Consider the benefits and risks to your business when deciding to exhibit your product or service. These will be different for each event. Choosing the wrong trade show to exhibit your business’s products or services can result in displaying to the wrong audience. Poor promotion can mean the costs of attending the trade show outweigh any revenue you gain.” – Business Queensland

When you are a vendor, it means you have paid to reserve a table at an event where you will sell your books/products/services. Sometimes these costs can be very expensive. The authors must be careful not to “overpay to play.” I’ve seen tables costs as much as $600. This money could easily go toward good editing instead or the publishing of another book entirely. Authors should consider that not only will they reserve a table, but they will also  buy books and author swag for the table and travel to the event. Before saying yes to vending, consider the financial benefits and potential challenges. Ask:

  • Do I have enough funds to cover books, attendance, display and other associated costs
  • Have I worked out how many prospects and readers I will need to obtain to generate a return on my investment
  • Have I researched/visited/asked questions about the event at which I am contemplating exhibiting and am I confident that a suitable number of people will attend
  • Have I worked out a way to capture people’s attention (*This is important. I see a lot of authors at expos  looking down at their phones or just looking bored. They sit at the table for the entire time and rarely communicate with the people walking by. Then, at the conclusion, these same authors are upset because they sold no books. The people are not just going to come to you. Chances are you are not famous and no one owes you a thing. Stop being lazy, get up, and represent yourself.

Any author who wishes to be a vendor must be sure to research the event, understand what is included in the package, and know what they are looking to gain from the experience. If the goal is only to sell books, the author(s) should consider hosting something at their local library where the table is free or collaborating with other authors to cover the price of the table.

The primary purpose of vending (as I have found it) is the chance to network and get your name out there. It is a discoverability strategy, not neccessarily a profitability one (except if you have a large platform already). While an author can sell books, how many books are sold depends on the strength of that author’s network. More on that on the next con point.

Pro: Networking Opportunity

“Face-to-face communication builds the most memorable brand awareness. Last year our expos had hundreds of people walk through the door. Expos centralize a local audience that will be most receptive and ready to learn. This might be a rare occurrence for your industry depending on where you are geographically. You’ll have an opportunity to connect with new people and reconnect with those already invested in your brand.” – Peter O’Donnell, 4 Key Benefits of Becoming a Vendor

One of the major benefits of being an author vendor is the chance to network with individuals you probably would not have met or had the chance to speak with before. It is a chance to get your name out there in the public and expose your brand to people face-to-face. Last year, I spoke with the owner of Acapella Books in Atlanta when I was shopping my books around bookstores. First, he denied stocking my book, but he told me why and while it hurt my ego, I had to listen to sound advice:

“Your book will only get lost among the hundreds of celebrity authors’ books in the store. The best thing you can do right now is to get your name out there. Are you attending the Decatur Book Festival?”

I told him I was. I wasn’t a vendor, but I would be in attendance. He said good and to start there. He told me to “focus on building your platform and getting your name out there.”

Conferences and Book Festivals attract an array of media depending on the host of the event. You have the potential to meet editors, agents, publishers, celebrity authors and corporate influencers.

I don’t care what the experts say, online will never be as good as face-to-face contact and connection. Giving your readers a chance to meet you in person adds a special kind of value. “People see the truth in you through your actions, personality, and in how genuine you are with them.” (Greg Dabbs, Business Development Manager) They get to hear your voice, see your face outside of photos, ask questions, give advice, laugh and get to know you more personally.

The chances of pitching are significantly higher when you position yourself to be present at these events. You get to practice your sales pitch, research competition and increase the chances of collaboration opportunities. It is not all about money. At a decent rate vending can be the boost you need to jump-start your business. Financial investment in yourself is something you will need to consider in your career at some point anyway. Whether that is vending at a notable event or paying for professional author photos, it is something you will need to do at some point.

It is about showing up and being an author vendor is one of the easiest ways to show up, to get out and connect with people.

Con: Difficult for New/Unknown Indie Authors

Author vending is the opportunity for you to connect with your readers. It gives them the chance to meet with you face-to-face, to take pictures with you, to buy paperback copies of your books, or to have books signed they already bought. But it could be even more challenging for new/unknown Indie Authors.

“No one will come to your book reading/signing unless you are already famous. The packed author readings on the news are only packed because the author is already very well known. Book readings at bookstores are among the worst uses of time for a new author.” – Writing Well

While I don’t believe you have to be famous to do a book signing/reading for people to support you (I do well at signings and I am certainly no one famous), there is some truth in this quote. While the chances of people buying are higher in person because physical presence increases trust, authors who have multiple books out and who have already built a strong platform and audience before vending will do much better. People will already know who they are, and readers will come out to support them.

Paying money to reserve a table at an author event when you are a new author no one knows, when you have done no work to promote the event to your audience or where you have not built an audience will be like posting your Amazon buy link on social media hoping people will take a chance on an unknown author. While some people will (I usually do but I’m nice like that 🙂 ) this kind of “Hope Marketing,” rarely works. Vending is usually not free, and the money is usually nonrefundable. If you can’t at least make the money back you spent on the table, it is not worth it. Not if selling books is your only aim.

Before you spend money on reserving a table, focus on publishing more books and developing a relationship with your readers so that when you do an event people will come out to support you. Now do not misunderstand me, a first-time author can certainly do well at signings and events but only because that author already have people who are willing to support him/her from previous works.

Pro: Invitations for More Work

Photo Copyright ©2019. The Velvet Note | Velvet Voices. Yecheilyah Ysrayl.
I read somewhere that “the reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do more,” (Dr.Jonas Salk). The biggest benefit to author vending is that eventually, you will not have to look for opportunities. Opportunities will find you. It was at the Atlanta African American Book Festival that I was asked to participate in Velvet Voices, The Velvet Note Jazz club’s new and first Author/Word event. People will remember you and reach out to you for other projects. They may even ask you to be a vendor at another event. This is significant because once people reach out to you, the ball is in your court. You get to decide the terms of your acceptance. Can your table be free of cost/discounted? Can they pay you to speak? Can they purchase your ticket if the place is not in your home city/state? What is it you require for your presence? The idea here is to one day graduate from vending alone to being requested and paid to speak as well.

This is the beginnings of earning the passive income you want to help to leverage the income from your book royalties. These days, you need the additional income that comes from other streams of income related to your writing.

You may not think people are paying attention, but they are. Author vending is a great way to give a very good first-person impression that can lead to an even bigger opportunity and business partnership.

Pro/Con – Organizer / Host

It is important to ask, who is the organizer/host? The person(s) behind the event is a big deal. You want to make sure the organization or cause is something you can get behind. Vending is a big deal these days and it shouldn’t escape authors that it is also a way for businesses and organizations to make money. Choosing to be a vendor is not just about meeting new people and exposing your business, it is also about investment. Vending is an investment in yourself and an investment in the company or organization hosting the event.

The people behind the event can make this a Pro if the organization is well organized, grounded, relatively known and actively promoting the event and its participants.

The people behind the event can make this a Con if the event host is unorganized, the event is poorly promoted (bad for you if you paid for a table and are looking to turn a profit) and does little to nothing to promote the event and its participants.

It is not about jumping on every so-called opportunity available to authors. It is about being strategic and intentional with every decision you make regarding your book business.

When you are asked, invited or when you take part in a vending opportunity, be sure you connect with an organization that is relatable to the goals and the purpose you have set for yourself, that the vision of the organization is something you can support and rally behind and that they will work just as hard for you as you intend to work for them. Vending is a partnership and partnerships are not one-way streets. Or at least they shouldn’t be.

Major Cons

  • Can be costly
  • Challenging to sell books for new authors with no audience
  • Can be overwhelming
  • Can sometimes go downhill

Every marketing platform has advantages and disadvantages. Don’t let the disadvantages of author vending discourage you from participating in exhibitions and reaping the benefits of it. Just do your research first.

Major Pros.

  • Exposure to a wider set of audience
  • Creates brand awareness
  • Increases credibility
  • Promotes brand loyalty
  • Helps in Networking

I know vending is like the It thing to do now but drinking from every cup of “opportunity” is how you get poisoned. Understand the pros and cons first and be sure to research the organization hosting the event. 

Atlanta African American Book Festival 2019

Just a quick note to invite you to join me at Georgia State University for the second Atlanta African American Book Festival this summer. Last year was amazing and I connected with a lot of new authors. I’ve come to truly enjoy live events. It gives me a chance to discuss this blog with authors face to face, take photos I can look back on for years and network with professionals face to face. So, if you are in the area around this time, I’d love to meet you. The event takes place on Saturday, July 20th, from 10:00-5a at GSU and is free and open to the public. For instant updates on things like this, be sure you are following me on Instagram.

web. http://yecheilyahysrayl.com/

You’re Invited!

I am celebrating another mini milestone. On Sunday, October 7th, I got two of my books approved to be carried at another bookstore, making the 3rd Bookstore in Atlanta carrying at least one of my books (Nubian Books and the Medubookstore are the other two.)

The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story* is on shelves now and my newest release Even Salt Looks Like Sugar will be available at Tall Tales Book Shop within a week or so.

For those of you who do not have the new book, I am offering you an opportunity to come out to this event and celebrate with me. I will have signed paperback copies of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar and I’ll also be reading from the book. This is also a great time for a Q&A session. Is there something you would have liked to see happen in the story? Do you have a favorite part? Least favorite part? Ask me all the questions you want!

There will be light refreshments available so you can get your snack on too while I tell you a story (and then we can go out to dinner afterwards for some real food…. tee hee). Get a picture with me, or bring another book of mine you have to be signed. Either way, come on out and show some love! If you have not been to one of my signings yet, this is your chance! You know they be lit! It doesn’t matter which of my books you have, bring them to be signed!

Not Subscribed to my email list? You may want to go ahead and do that before December. In our December issue, I am revealing my strategy for getting my books into stores as an Indie Author. We’ll discuss consignment, distribution through Ingram Spark or other platforms, and the review process if the store requires one. CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP. You will get an automatic welcome email. Please check your Spam and Junk folder for it.


ATL, don’t forget to stop through next week for Tinzley Bradford’s 4th Quarterly Settle-free Mixer! The time has come and I am honored to be among such talented professionals. Self-care and self-love is soo important and we are talking about that and so much more. 

If you have read Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, please remember to leave a review if you’re feeling so obliged! Thanks so much!! As usual, your time and attention is most appreciated.

Play Your Piano

LOS ANGELES, CA – (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET)

Vivica Fox told the story of being on the set of Booty Call. She said that she tried to take a couple naps between scenes except Jamie Foxx kept playing the piano. Being the outspoken person that she is, Vivica was not having it.

“…it was hard to be his dressing room neighbor for a few weeks…he had a piano in there, and he would just play it all the time, singing his pretty heart out!”

Vivica went out and screamed to Jamie to, “stop playing that damn piano!”

Let me give you some background information before we continue this story.

I decided about a year ago that I was not going to limit myself and that I was going to step outside of my comfort zone. This was not an easy decision. I am an extremely shy person who overthinks everything. Whatever I share online, do believe I’ve gone over it repeatedly and have examined every possible outcome. (I am learning to be less anxious however and more centered and balanced.) Anyway, I decided I was tired of reading about what I needed to do to be a better writer. I wanted to “hear it from the horse’s mouth.” Tired of writerly commandments that got me nowhere, I wanted to act. I needed to act. I decided that acting was the only true way of knowing.

So, fed up with my own lack of action, I logged off my computer last year and went around to bookstores, talked with businessmen and ask the questions I’d always been afraid to ask, armed with business cards (side note: No, I don’t recommend giving your business card out like it’s candy. Most people just throw them away. These are facts.) and sample books. This weekend, I ended up at A Cappella Books, a small Independent Bookstore in Atlanta. I spoke to a man there who gave me some advice.

“Get your name out there because even if you’re in the store, if you aren’t a household name people won’t find you,” he said, spreading his arms to insinuate the rest of his thoughts, which didn’t have to be said: you are a nobody so people won’t be able to find your book among all these books by well-known authors.

Now, ya’ll know I gotta be honest. At first, I was offended. Household name? I thought. Who the hell cares? So I’m not worthy?

“Are you going to the Decatur Festival?” he continued. Interrupting my thoughts about how I didn’t like him.

“Yes.”

“Good. That’s a good place to start. I get a lot of {Indie}authors coming in and calling but if people don’t know you…”

“I understand.”

I left the store, still offended but the blow was softened by the confirmation that I’d made the right decision to attend the Decatur event. It was the third time someone had mentioned it to me and I am big on spiritual confirmations. I believe that what’s meant for me will often be confirmed through others. (The first time I heard of the Festival was at the Atlanta African American Book Festival. An older man had bought two of my books and asked me if I was attending the Decatur Book Festival. “That’s where you need to be,” he had said. The second time was when speaking with my academic advisor. I told her I was going to a book festival and she brought up Decatur.)

After marinating on the man’s words, tasting them, digesting them, I wasn’t offended anymore, and I realized that he’d just given me lots of wisdom. It was deeper than selling in a store. He was telling me that as an author I needed to build relationships with others if I intended to sell books. He was telling me, without telling me, that familiarity sells books so I needed to network and give people a chance to get to know me first.

For online this is social media but offline this is events, book signings, meet and greets, lunch and dinner meetings. (side note: think big….introduce yourself to the person running the show…speak with owners and coordinators…also, with social media, don’t feel obligated to be everywhere…go where your audience is or where people have shown they care. I don’t do much on my personal Facebook page and I really just started posting regularly on my business Facebook page. Why? I don’t have anything personal against Facebook but if I see something is not providing value I am not the kind of person to want to keep doing it….if something is not working then I need to get a new something, not force it to work. If I see that the people on my personal page aren’t interested then I am not going to keep bothering them…I am going to go where I am valued and where the people have shown they are interested in what I have to offer. For me that is Twitter and IG so I post to these accounts the most without feeling guilty about not posting the same thing to Facebook.)

Back to the guy…

I knew what he was saying was truth and have known it for years but hearing it from him directly made it more real and helped me to understand how to better sell the books I have on the shelves of the other two stores in Georgia. People must know who I am in order to walk in and request my book. I needed to work harder to build awareness.

This point was further validated (confirmed) when I saw a post by Mixtus Media:

“Even if you’re an introvert,” the caption read, “you need to connect with people to sell your book…I know it’s intimidating to put yourself out there on social media–especially for introverts. I know because I am one! But in order for your book to see success, you have to do it.”

I know now, exactly what is needed for me to take my career to the next level.

Now, let’s get back to the story.

When Vivica screamed at Jamie to stop playing, she didn’t know at the time that he would later win an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy all for playing the piano, among other things, in his portrayal of Ray Charles in the movie Ray.

What you do tomorrow is determined by what you do today. You think Jamie Foxx decided to play the piano when he found out he was gonna play Ray Charles? No. Jamie Foxx had been playing the piano since he was five years old (back when he was still Eric) and the practice helped him later in life to do something he probably didn’t even know that he would ever do.

Vivica A. Fox Book Signing, 7/22

Whether you write, sing, dance, act, teach or swim, play your piano. In other words, prepare and do what is necessary today even if you don’t understand why you must do it. You have to be ready when the time comes and not trying to get ready.

Being an Independent Author doesn’t mean you should not listen to people who are trying to educate you about improving your craft. As Vivica puts it, “when you receive constructive criticism and it helps you deliver, you have to acknowledge it.”

Vivica had another story. This one about a woman she met who wanted to be an actor. The woman was concerned that she was too old. She had gotten a head-shot and everything and wanted Ms. Fox’s advice.

“Well, you can’t stand by the pool,” Vivica told her, “you have to get in.”

Vivica explained that the work is not just what’s on screen. I think this can apply to those of us in this digital era. The work is not just what’s on screen! On Facebook, on Twitter, on IG, on the blog. The work is constant and much of it takes place behind the scenes.

“I so appreciate that (name) put time into studying,” Vivica continues, “but I always tell people to educate themselves with real experience.”

Ms. Fox is right. Five or ten years from now you may find that the work you put in was preparing you for that one moment.

Additionally, don’t wait for someone you think is more important than you to make the decision of who you are gonna be. I got offended by the man’s words (at first) because I’ve never been a “star struck” kind of person. I cheer for everyone and give everyone the same level of respect, honoring each of our sacrifices and contributions regardless of position. These authors are people like I’m a person. They aren’t better than me and I am not better than them. They just started earlier.

This isn’t about bragging but as a wise person once said, “you will have a very hard time running a successful business with low self-esteem.” You can be humble and confident in your ability to deliver at the same time. You are not better than anyone (humility) but you have to know what sets you apart from the rest (confident). I struggle with being timid and unsure too but it’s something I am learning (quickly) I’d need to get over to take it to the next level.

If you want to be successful at anything you must see yourself as such already. Before I married I knew that I needed to become a wife before I actually was. Jamie Foxx didn’t become a pianist when people started to recognize him as such. He always was. Just like you already are. Everything you strive to be, YOU ALREADY ARE. Act accordingly.


Don’t forget to join me tomorrow for the start of the I am Soul Blog Tour! I will be visiting a total of 10 blogs over the course of the next few months and introducing some of my poetry. Be sure you are following these blogs by clicking HERE. You don’t want to miss it!

Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting

Yes Yes and Yes! I was just working on a guest article covering this same subject. Please, authors, do your research. Don’t let the perceived prestige of “being signed” get you scammed! Times have changed and there’s a lot you can do yourself.

Rosie Amber

Please welcome review team member Terry Tyler, with some important thoughts on Independent Publishers

Please note: I am aware that there are plenty of good independent publishers around, who work hard for their authors and maintain good standards. The purpose of this article is to warn writers to do their research, and find them. It’s a warning not to fall prey to either the blatant conmen, or the inept.

Ten years ago, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was launched.  Since then, thousands of scammers and cowboys have emerged from the murky corners of the internet to make a quick quid out of the millions of writers who’ve been tapping away at the keys for years, and are delighted that they can finally get their work in front of the reading public without a contract from a traditional publisher. These scammers include: proofreaders who don’t know how to punctuate, editors…

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Send Me Your Posts (If you like)

Hey Lovelies,

I am finally settled and have some much needed catching up to do. I don’t even want to look at my TBR pile but reviews will start trickling in here again pretty soon.

Instead of having to search all your wonderful blog posts, I thought I’d open the opportunity for you to share them with me. Help me to catch up with you by sending me your post links. Just comment on this post with a link to your most recent post or the one you’d like me to see. Now, I know Halloween just passed but I don’t do Holidays. I think I should put that on out there. I am not particularly interested in that but anything else you’ve been up to is cool. If you have a new book out, send me the link to that too so I can tweet you out. Just as long as you’re patient, I should be able to touch base with most of you (depending on how many links there are.) Let’s have some fun.

I look forward to seeing what you all have been up to in this crazy world we live in. Chat soon.

 

Peace

-EC


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her soon-to-be released short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

 

Thunderclap Results

First, launch weekend was amazing. Though I did not make it to Tampa, I did make it to Sanford and, for a brief moment, Orlando.  I really needed the trip and can’t thank the ladies enough for sharing this special moment with me. They treated us like royalty and the food was the bomb dot com. We had a feast of curry chicken, oxtails, red beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, plantains, the works. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The meat fell off the bone ya’ll.

My favorite weekend pic. The shy one, the glamorous one, the silly one (those glasses loll)

Thunderclap

I won’t spend a lot of time explaining what Thunderclap is since there’s so much to share already about the experience. Briefly, it is a way to spread a single message online in a digital word of mouth type format. Learn more about Thunderclap in a previous post HERE.

Thunderclap is not as easy as it looks! Because the program is still relatively new (launching April 28, 2009, but just now getting real notoriety), there are still questions about it and understanding the best way to promote a campaign was pretty much trial and error for me. A lot of time was spent explaining to people just what this was and how to use it. Because of this, I’ve tried both right ways and wrong ways of promoting it.

Week One

I did not look at Thunderclap until the end of each day. I did this because checking back every three minutes does not help move anything forward. It also wrecks my nerves. I also did it this way because it added more to the excitement and made me feel accomplished and encouraged before getting back to it the next day. Here’s how to read my notes:

EOD = End of Day

Number =  The number of supporters I had by the end of the day

Action = What I did that day to help promote the campaign

EOD 1- 26

Action – On day one, I sent out an email blast to my email list, posted it to this blog, and on my social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and IG). This resulted in 26 supporters, not bad for day one. This may look like a small number in the grand scheme of things, but keep in mind that the number of people following you online and on the blog (as you will see at the end of this post) has nothing to do with the number of people who will actually support you. Judge the pulse of your blog by engagement more so than numbers.

EOD 2 – 37

Action – Contacted someone who sent a mass email on my behalf. Also changed headline on blog post and tags. When I published the blog post on day one I didn’t really think it through. The headline was:

“Let’s Make Some Noise!”

Shy EC: “Umm…hi. That’s not very inviting. Sounds kinda arrogant.”

I had to check myself because that’s not the impression I want to give at all because it’s not who I am. I went back and changed it to “I Need Your Social Media Support”.  This simple change resulted in more people willing to support. On Day Two, I also changed the tags to the original post.

I am not going to get deep into why tags are so important. Just know that they help people to discover your blog. There’s more to it but that’s the short version. I always include tags specific to certain days on my blog posts along with my regular tags (for instance, this post includes #Tuesdayshares because it’s Tuesday).

Since it was a Thursday, I initially used: #ThrowbackThursday #ThankfulThursday

Day two was on a Friday so I changed it to: #LinkYourLife and #BluSkyFriday

Photo Break – We were photo bombed. Check the sista in the back loll

EOD 3 – 49

Action – I didn’t do anything on Saturday. Listening to Shy EC, I put some space between the promotions to give people a chance to support it without thinking I am spamming them.

EOD 4 – 53

Action – I sneaked a peek at the page Sunday morning and saw that I was still at 49. Needless to say, business EC kicked it. Doing nothing didn’t really help my Campaign. I thought about my networks and decided to call my big sister. After talking with her about it I decided to do another Facebook shout. This time my focus was on family members and genetic relatives. I specifically tagged those of blood relation on purpose. I knew others would support me but this was to reach out to relatives to see if they would. Well, we all know relatives. Of everyone, I tagged only a few took action. However, the post did bump it up four points which was good. Every little bit helps.

EOD 5 – 59

Action – Day five was a busy day so I didn’t get to check my results until late. On this day, I sent individual emails to contacts, not on my email list. These are individuals who are great supportive influences in the blogging / Indie Author community but also very busy people. I was nervous to reach out to them at first but remembered that if this was to be successful I should step outside my comfort zone. So, on Day 5, I decided to email influencers personally and ask them a favor. To my excitement, they were happy to oblige. This taught me something about how important it is that we don’t make assumptions about anyone’s intentions. People are busy. Sometimes the best way to reach out is personally. Sending an email is like visiting them at their front door. You are more likely to get a response if you just talk to people.

EOD 6 – 62 *Passed the 100,000-social reach mark *

Back to my regular checking time of about 6 pm (that is when I close for the day….mostly), I didn’t do anything to promote the Campaign on this day, giving people time to put in their support organically and again, it didn’t increase by much but I did pass the 100,000-social reach mark with 100,222. I did a little happy dance but restrained my excitement. It wasn’t over. I sent more personal emails before I went to bed as well as thank you’s.

EOD 7 –  65

Action – By now I am seeing a trend. We are jumping 3 points on days where there is little to no promotion. At the end of Day 7, I complained spoke to my husband about it.

Moshe – “So why don’t you just get on your grind?”

EC – (*Laughs inwardly. He something else*) – “I don’t know what else to do. I can’t keep posting to social media. People will get tired of seeing me. I don’t want to spam them.”

At the end of Day 7 I took a step back. While I managed to reach more than half of my goal in seven days, I wasn’t jumping around about it. Over half is not all. I needed to think of ways to keep the momentum going until the goal was met.

EOD 8 – 69

Action – After thinking over yesterday’s results, I realized I couldn’t count on ‘blasting’ the message out too much. What seemed to work best is reaching out to people individually so that’s what I did. I also did some research on the best way to promote a Thunderclap Campaign to see how others have done it and how they fared. In addition to reaching out individually, pictures of the campaign itself also helps. I have found the more transparent you are, the more people will support you. Updates with screenshots of the campaigns growth helps a lot.

Photo Break – I got to attend a graduation while I was in Florida. Congrats again on your Bachelor’s big baby. You did that.

2016 Thunderclap Results – 35%

2017 Thunderclap Results – 109%

I am humbled to see such tremendous growth between my network last year and this year. When I started my campaign my husband told me I would exceed 100 people even before I got my first supporter and I did. Still, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to everyone who shared and re-blogged my blog posts and shared it across social media when I promoted the campaign.

In the end, I reached 170 thousand people in ten countries and 59 cities in 44 days. On July 15th, when the book released, my message went out through the platform of these 109 people. This is when your Thunderclap Campaign “Tips”. It means that because you reached your goal, your message was shared.

Recommendation

I won’t bore you by going over every single day. After week one it was touch and go and doing a lot of reaching out. Toward the end, it was more and more challenging the closer I got to the goal. And then, eight days before the deadline, I got great support from genetic relatives on Facebook who pushed me over. With plenty of time left on the clock, I was able to sit back and chill, letting more support trickle in organically since by this time, whatever support I got was extra being I was already at my goal.

On the one hand Thunderclap is a great way to promote your book. However, it is best suited for those with large enough platforms. By this I don’t just mean your numbers but people who will act on your behalf. While I met my goal, I would not have had to work as hard if my network was bigger. Since I met over half of my goal in the first week maybe next time, as I grow, I can set a higher target and a shorter window.

My biggest suggestion for those of you who choose to use Thunderclap is to please be realistic with everything. The time-frame for your campaign and the goal you wish to reach must both be realistic.

  1. Give yourself enough time to promote and build support
  2. Choose a goal that is realistic for your network

Time

I chose a little over 30 days because my platforms are small. I found both positives and negatives about this:

It gave me enough time to gather the support I needed. I read somewhere that someone did a campaign for just eight days. Had I copied this I would not have made my goal. This is what I mean by the strength of your network. I was only striving for 100 supporters and that was hard (lol) but in the future, that will be easy as my network grows. Which leads me to the negatives.

Although 30 days gave me lots of time to build support, it also drained me. I discovered quickly that Thunderclap works best when there is something done to promote it every single day which means I’d recommend putting some kind of plan together. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something you can do everyday to move it forward. If your campaign is too long you may not be as committed to pushing it as you would on a shorter time-frame.

I would therefore not recommend Thunderclap for new authors with little to no platform. It will overwhelm you.

Choose a Realistic Target

Thunderclap gives you the option of 100, 250, or 500+ far as the number of people you can try to reach. Be realistic about this. If you are virtually unknown, have never used Thunderclap before or have a small platform don’t try to reach for a number that is not realistic for you. Think about your platforms. Look at it and break it down into realistic figures: How many of these people are going to put forth action vs. those who will just like your post?

While there are other programs similar to Thunderclap that will allow you to set smaller targets, Thunderclap carries the most weight because it is most known of crowd-sourcing. While running the campaign, I found that people will like your post and think they have supported the campaign. You will have to tell them that they must click on the link and follow through for it to work. When I told people this, I got more support. Again, most people won’t know what Thunderclap is. You will have to walk them through it or they won’t support because they don’t know how. Keep this in mind when promoting your campaign. Reach out to people and check on them. It may not be that they don’t want to support but that they don’t know how.

Thunderclap also asks for permission to post on your behalf and access to certain information which people aren’t comfortable with. This requires the host of the Campaign to reassure individuals that their information is not being shared and that the process is safe. I’d like to add here that most of the Apps we download to our phones request access to certain information as well. You’ll be surprised to what extent, from access to passwords and text messages to permission to record your conversation. Reassure your supporters that this is a one-time message posted to their page and that it is OK. They may not even notice it when it posts.

Photo break – The ladies and me trying not to look hungry as we wait for the food to be ready.

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Thunderclap Tips

When your campaign goal has been met and your message hits social media, this means your Campaign has tipped and is now being shared. I’m not feeling how the message is displayed once it tips. This is my second time working with Thunderclap but my first time tipping. I thought it would be just the message with the link to where to get the book. Instead, it shows on Facebook in a similar fashion to when you are promoting the campaign, with the Thunderclap link. To me, this doesn’t look very authentic or enticing. It looks, in fact, more like an Ad. I did not like this.

So, yes or no to Thunderclap?

Yes – If you have a platform

Yes – If you are willing to work it

Yes – If you schedule it ahead of time

Yes – If you think you can get at least 100 people to act

No – If you have little to no platform

No – If you don’t have time to promote it

No – If you can’t schedule it at least one month in advance

No – If you don’t think you can get at least 100 people to act


Be sure to check out my latest interview with the beautiful Nadine on her website HERE. It is part one with the second part coming tomorrow.

“Storytellers are responsible for telling the truth. For writing the shackles off history.”  ― Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Also, be sure to join me and fellow Rave Reviews Book Club Members Mary Carlomango, Jennifer Owenby, and Kerry Hall in another episode of Rave Waves “TAG TEAM 2* 4* 5*”, hosted by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano on Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 12:00p.