Publishing World Wisdom from Sheila Lowe
The author series continues, sharing the knowledge (often hard-won) from published authors as they tell us what they would tell their pre-published selves, and NEW FOR 2023, what they always do to help make book launches successful. This month's featured author is Sheila Lowe, a professional handwriting analyst and the author of the fictional Claudia Rose series whose main character is a handwriting expert!
Long before her first book was published, bestselling author Sheila Lowe was a handwriting analyst. Her study of handwriting and personality began in high school. Later, she branched into forensics. A certified forensic document examiner, she testifies in court cases. Upon returning to school, she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Psychology.
Sheila’s non-fiction books include, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, Reading Between the Lines, Advanced Studies in Handwriting Psychology, Personality & Anxiety Disorders, and Succeeding in the Business of Handwriting Analysis. She helped produce Handwriting Analyzer software that is used in law enforcement, governments, and business. Her fictional Claudia Rose forensic handwriting series includes eight books that have all been #1 Amazon bestsellers. She also pens the Beyond the Veil paranormal mystery series. Most recently, she has released her memoir, Growing from the Ashes: Learning from My Daughter's Murder About Life After Earth.
One thing I wish I could tell my prepublished self is to be prepared for the endless need to sell books. And that means marketing them. Even having been published by the largest houses in the world—Macmillan and Penguin—and the smallest. In both cases I’ve learned that you may get a contract, but unless you are already at the top of the writing heap, in which case they will happily pour loads of money into you, you will be expected to do your own publicity and promotion. There are good and bad ways to go about this.
The recently published book “PROMOPHOBIA” is an excellent resource for new (and long in the tooth) writers who shrink away from this vital area of publishing. We would all rather just be writing, but these days it doesn’t work that way. The good news is, the Internet and Social Media makes it much easier and often cheaper than it used to be to get your name in front of the right eyes. For PROMOPHOBIA, a bunch of authors, me included, submitted essays about our experiences and suggestions. Hopefully, that will help some of its readers avoid the mistakes we have made and benefit from the successes.
Making a new book launch successful: This is one area of marketing and promotion where I’ve done pretty well, perhaps because I see launches as an opportunity to give back to my readers. I throw a party.
I spend a fair amount of money on launches ($400-$1000), but you don’t have to go overboard like I have. It could be anything from cookies and coffee to hors d’oeuvres, to dinner at a Mexican restaurant for 90 people, like my last two events. I gave the restaurant owner a budget of $700 and asked what he could do for that. He sees it as good advertising and goes above and beyond. Next time, though, I’m going to reel back the expenses to a ‘lite’ version.
I like my launch to be a networking event that gives people a reason to show up. They know they will get something out of it, too. There are door prizes, and to keep me from going broke buying them, I advertise in advance that anyone who brings a prize valued at $20 or more (must be a real prize, no discounts on services) gets 30 seconds at the microphone to talk about whatever they like.
Everyone who attends gets a ticket for the door prize drawings, plus for every book they buy, they get another ticket (you need a cooperative bookseller to hand them out). I sign dozens of books, get to meet new readers and greet ‘old’ ones.
So far, I’ve hosted eleven launches. Some at restaurants, one at a friend’s home in the harbor, a couple at the clubhouse where I live, some at bookstores. Regardless of where they were held, from the feedback, everyone seems to have had a great time. Last year, I launched my paranormal book, The Last Door, close to Halloween. Many guests came in costume. There was some controversy over whether I was an angel or a ghost. It made a good point of conversation (p.s., the book features a couple of ghosts, so…).
LEARN MORE ABOUT SHEILA'S BOOKS:
Forensic handwriting expert Claudia Rose knows that despite the words it forms, a pen will always write the truth. Claudia uses her expertise in some cases to help understand the people behind crimes and in others to authenticate questioned handwriting. Although in independent practice, Claudia consults to the police and others. Available in paperback, ebook, and audio.
"Haunting, chilling suspense, snappy dialogue, ghosts, and drama combine with humor, romance, and a fantastic protagonist in this riveting mystery series.”
Growing from the Ashes: A forensic handwriting expert learns about the Afterlife from the murder of her daughter
After years of writing nonfiction about handwriting psychology and mystery fiction, I tackled a memoir. This book details my spiritual path, starting with a strict religious background that allowed for no belief in an Afterlife, to the freedom of understanding that there is no death, only life after earth.
FOLLOW SHEILA'S WRITING ADVENTURES ONLINE AT THESE LOCATIONS:
Website (you can sign up for her newsletter here!)