by Barbara Renner
A Yellow Lab Mix I know once stated, “Practice Thanks Giving all year long.” He’s a very wise dog and even printed his own desk calendar, called Larry’s Words of Wisdom. Okay, he’s my dog, and I speak for him – dog lovers will understand. But, really, Larry has a point.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States and was originally observed at the end of the harvest season to give thanks and feast on its bounty. Similar holidays and festivals occur in countries around the world. Even though it’s noble to be thankful for that which gives our body sustenance, there are other reasons to offer our thanks. Let’s look at ways authors can practice Thanks Giving all year long.
Write “Thank You!” on your receipts: I always carry a receipt book along with a supply of my books. I use a duplicate copy receipt book as a way to track my inventory for both sales and giveaways. There’s a label at the top of each receipt with my logo, name, phone number, email, and website. After I list what the customer purchased, I write “Thank You!” and give them the top copy. This shows gratitude to them for purchasing my books, and provides my contact information for future orders or referrals.
Hand write a thank you note: I’ve published six picture books, four about a Common Loon named Lonnie and two about a Gambel’s Quail named Quincy. I purchased two sets of note cards, one with images of loons and one with an image of a quail family. After reading my books to children at a school, I mail a handwritten thank you note to the teacher or librarian who arranged the author visit. This is not only good manners to thank them for their effort in scheduling the classes, but it also puts my name and contact information in front of them one more time. In addition, I hand write a thank you note to the bookstores or gift shops where I have book signings. In the body of the note, I pay them a compliment, thank them for having me, and mention that I look forward to working with them again.
Email a thank you: Sending an email to a school, bookstore, or gift shop after a guest author visit or book signing would be almost as good as mailing a handwritten note. Know your customers, and determine which would make the greater impression, a handwritten note or an email. Consider also emailing a thank you to a reader who has given your book a nice review.
Send a card: During the holidays, or possibly every three months, mail a greeting card or postcard to the stores who carry your books on consignment or who have purchased your books for their shelves, thanking them for selling your books. At the same time, you can ask if they need more copies, or mention that you’ve published a new book. I just ordered two sets of Christmas cards, one with an image of a loon and one with a covey of quail, to send to the stores that carry my books. I used a 50% off discount code from zazzle.com (zonedaydeal2) when I purchased the cards.
Post a thank you message on Twitter or Facebook: An author I know through Twitter and Facebook always posts “TY” to me if I share or comment on her Twitter feed or Facebook post. Because of this simple gesture, I remember her name, I know the genre she writes, I can recommend her book, and I’m aware of the state where she lives. She has done a great job of branding herself just by ensuring I see her name on my social media.
Share Facebook posts: This may not appear to be a great way to thank someone, but if you share another author’s posts, it sends a message to your followers that you appreciate the work of others and aren’t only selfishly promoting your own books. Your fellow authors are colleagues, not competitors.
Create a “thank you” page on your website: This could be a landing page after someone signs up for your newsletter or submits a question or comment. Offer something interesting on this page, such as an entry to win a prize, or links to your social media sites. For authors of children’s books, it could contain a downloadable coloring page or puzzle.
Give a gift: Consider giving a gift if someone buys several copies of your books, or refers your books to others and it results in sales. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive; use your marketing giveaways or SWAG. By simply saying ‘thank you for your order or referral or support’ your customer will be more likely to refer your books to others in the future. A grandmother recently ordered all six of my picture books to give to her grandchildren. I included with the order a book bag, which cost me less than a $1, and a stuffed quail, a $7 value.
Comment on a blog post: If you enjoyed reading a particular blog post, let the author know how much you enjoyed reading it and thank them for the information. This small gesture will make the author feel like their post was worthwhile. They will also remember your name and possibly follow your blog posts. (No, this is not a hint; just another example.)
What are some other ways you can say “thank you” and practice Thanks Giving all year long? I’ll let Larry know.
Barbara Renner and her husband have lived in Phoenix for more than 40 years. As “Sun Birds,” they fly away to Minnesota to escape the summer heat – and to fish. While in Minnesota, Barbara became fascinated with its state bird, the Common Loon, and was prompted to write four picture books about Lonnie the Loon, because everyone should know about loons. However, books about loons don’t sell very well in the desert, so she is writing a new series of picture books about Quincy the Quail. Barbara visits elementary schools as a guest author to read her books and share interesting facts about loons and quails. She’s working on other children’s books and a special book about her yellow lab, Larry: Larry’s Words of Wisdom. Learn more about Barbara at RennerWrites.com, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads.