Selling Ads in Books By Patti Miller

My secret to selling ads in my books is to write about a specific locale and to then sell ads to businesses in that area.

I write historical fiction, but I used to be a newspaper reporter. My first book was published in the form of a newspaper. My first print run of 2500 copies sold out and I have just put the second printing into stores. To offset printing costs, I sold ads to bookstores and museums, and yes, even another author of the same genre.

The bookstores were ones that had sold my first edition on a consignment basis. The Lucan and Area Heritage Association was in the middle of a huge fundraising campaign and were glad for the opportunity to be involved. They, too, had sold copies of the first edition. Ray Fazakas, author of the widely acclaimed Donnelly Album, was pleased to put an ad in my publication. He self-published his second book – In Search of the Donnellys.

My main guide post in choosing retailers to advertise in my books is to only include those with a direct link to the story.

I live in Stratford, Ontario and the world class Shakespearean theatre here is performing James Reaney’s play, Sticks and Stones.

My novel, The End of the Roman Line – The Story of Johannah Donnelly, is the female side of the same story – the horrible murder of two senior citizens and three young people – clubbed to death by their neighbors, their house burned around their dying bodies. Pioneer life in Canada was rough. The Donnellys, an Irish Catholic family, were murdered north of London, Ontario on February 4, 1880.

The play sold out for the entire season in the first week. When it finishes here, it will travel to the National Arts Center in Ottawa.

I have retailers in the Ottawa valley. My second novel, published as a 128-page trade paperback tells the story of yet another real life murder in the early days of the Rideau Canal.

I have plans for another newspaper version – complete with ads – that will bring tourists to the Brockville area. In exchange for the paid ads, the retail locations were given copies of the book that they can sell to recoup the cost of the ad. From there, a consignment agreement is put into play.

I offer a standard 40% discount – and am looking forward to a very successful tourist season. On May 21st, 2005, I launched The Ferryman’s Wife, literally. I tossed it from the Rideau Ferry Bridge into the Rideau below. The note in the bottle with the book instructed the person who found it to take it to the Rideau Canal Museum. The bottle was found five days later – four houses from the bridge, but it got my picture in the paper again.

The launch was the start of a mini book tour. I read at the Bookworm, a used bookstore in Perth, Ontario, and spoke for the Friends of the Library in Athens and Smiths Falls, Ontario. All these locations are mentioned in the book and include real characters from the area’s past. The advertising these people did was amazing. There were posters everywhere I looked. One store took five the first day and then called asking for twenty-five more the next day. The local media printed the press release and follow up story.

One woman, who was 101 years old, asked me to please hurry and write the next one.

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