The next roundtable gathering of the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors, & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) writers’ collective, will take place at: 11:30 a.m., Thurs., April 13, 2023, at Mimi’s restaurant in Chandler, AZ. Our established authors will meet in person for a roundtable discussion on any writing topic they choose.
Come on in! I’m so glad you’ve found our little online community! Here, we share ideas to create and market better writing, music, and “village.” Throw in a few “Coffee CommuniTea” coffee and tea-shop reviews, and we’re golden, right? What better places for writing, enjoying music, and creating community? Our goal is to generate success together, using fresh tactics to get the ‘verse buzzing about cool creative endeavors. Come in and join us… —Ann
It breaks my heart to inform you that GypsyCup permanently closed in Dec. 2022. This was a go-to oasis of peace for me and I will sorely miss it. —Ann Videan
Today’s Cup o’ Tea GypsyCup offering coffee/tea, cocktails, and tapas
Perks (what I really like!)
GypsyCup is one of my new favorite stops for tea and social interaction.
• The barista/servers are well trained, friendly, and especially polite! This is one of the best reasons to visit, for sure.
• The Art Deco-inspired decor! You’ll find the environs pleasing to the eye, welcoming, and comfortable. The website describes it as “a little slice of Europe.”
• The unusual tapas choices are definitely worth tasting! And every tea and coffee drink I’ve tried is delicious. My hubby found his favorite chai latte here.
• A lovely outdoor patio with plenty of seating. Also, mostly shaded with nice trees and foliage, especially important in the Phoenix area!
Share a Cuppa (stories about the owner, building, history, name)
My daughter discovered GypsyCup when it resided inside a day spa in Scottsdale, AZ. She especially liked the cool specials the owner Linsay Smith dreamed up.
Soon after it closed, the GypsyCup Instagram account announced a relocation to downtown Gilbert. The wait for the coffee shops regeneration was absolutely worth it! Linsay created a charming atmosphere and complemented it with excellent food and service.
Those awesome specials have carried forward too. We just recently tried the seasonal Apple Cider Chai. YUM!
Plus, the food cases and shelves in the shop are loaded with interesting, unusual fare. (Keep reading to learn more about those…)
What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
• Coffee and teas • Croissants (ham and cheese is to die for!) • Pastries • Desserts • Craft beers • Wines • Healthy and unique snack items • Even little gift items, some geared for children
Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
Mostly, I see patrons gathering to chat and socialize. Seats are often filled with patrons using their laptops, though the number of plugs is limited.
I honestly can’t add anything else here not already mentioned. Did I mention “charming,” “excellent service,” and “delicious unusual food?” And the shady patio?
The Grind (what I would change)
More seating inside, perhaps? Sometimes it’s hard to find a spot to sit (especially in the summer when the patio is not as popular).
The Grounds (location)
GypsyCup is easy to find, one block west of Gilbert Road, and one block north of the Gilbert Water Tower landmark.
50 W Vaughn, Suite 107 Gilbert, Arizona
Tea Times (hours)
M-Th: 7 a.m.–8 p.m. F & Sa: 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Su: 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
Yelp rating: 4.5 stars from 56 reviews
I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so I found it natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!
Our roundtable also led us down a primrose path of many other valuable tips, listed after the review bullets, all of which you can consider as plants to nurture in your book-marketing garden.
Book review gathering tips
Right after your book launches, ask friends and family to read it and write a review. Ask any of your beta readers for reviews as well.
Amazon will throw out any reviews from folks they feel are connected to the author in any way—editor, relative, illustrator, +—so those close to you may want to use a different/specific email address under which to write reviews.
Since your launch team receives the book early, on the day of your launch ask them to order the book or download the ebook, and write a review. The proof of purchase pretty much guarantees Amazon will print the review.
Give potential reviewers permission to write only one or two lines about what they thought about the read. A review does not need to recap the plot, sound brilliant, or be lengthy! All you need is a sincere reaction stated in one or two sentences. You can even give potential reviewers a few bullet points you’d like them to cover, or provide existing review examples.
Away from Amazon reviews, you could coordinate your contacts to post comments, one-at-a-time, about your book in your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other online groups. This is also a great way to gain followers!
You could offer a free book, or something related to the book—trivia, top-10 list, character art—in exchange for a review. Or pay a fee to feature your e-book, free for one day, on Freebooksy.com. You can also schedule an ebook promo on the well-respected The Fussy Librarian site.
How about some promotional ideas?
Create a video to share part of your book. Let the video speak for the book, no need to push the title in the video, you can add it to hashtags or comments. Hire a professional to read/voice your words so it’s more credible.
Use Canva to create videos, covers, memes, and other graphics for online sue. It sizes pictures and keeps resolutions intact.
Book Brush, similar to Canva, but specifically geared to authors.
Don’t be afraid to pay for ads to promote you book. It’s all about awareness! The following sites allow you to submit/offer your book for free, others provide promotional options. Note: most are geared toward ebooks.
• Books Children Read is a great site for readers to purchase children’s books. The site also loves to promote children’s book authors too. And look whose book was featured in the blue promotional bar when I visited the site! Congrats, Hayley Rose!
• Also, if you need help with all the action items in marketing your book(s), Trello comes highly recommended.
Here’s hoping these resources give you amazing results with your book review requests and marketing efforts!
If you have additional ideas and resources, please add them in the comments below.
Our established Phoenix-area ALWAYS authors met in Sept. 2022 to discuss how to make the most of book booth exposure. Here are valuable tips gleaned from the discussion, including additional marketing advice.
Proven tips for attracting readers to your booth
• Pre-publicize your booth and why people should come by. When you let readers know before the festival, you increase your chance of traffic and sales, especially if you offer them something they can only receive by coming to the booth.
• Stand beside or in front of the table instead of behind it, when possible.
• Entice passersby to step up to you by commenting on their clothing, asking a question, or offering an interesting activity:
– “What do you like to read?” (Then refer to authors in that genre near you, and ask them to do the same.)
– IDEA: Our group is going to try handing out other author’s postcards (with booth number printed in a stick-on dot ) to readers looking for a specific genre.
• Offer an interesting activity, even for adults: a progressive story to which they can add writing or art, non-messy food tasting, trivia questions, etc.
– For kids: stickers or buttons for them to wear; candy; coloring pages
• Sell other items, colored pencils, trinkets, swag (screen cleaner with your book cover imprinted on it, pop sockets, or other useful items)
• Support a charity by giving away your book for a donation, which will be directed to the charity. Or give part of your proceeds to a charity.
• Supermarket table: Some indie authors are setting up tables in supermarkets
• Connect readers with your book via online communities:
– Sign up on the Book Movement site, where you give books away for reviews from book clubs
– Post your writing at Booksie.com, providing tools for writers to publish their work and connect with readers from across the world.
• Make purchasing your book easy: Have a info readily available for quick online, Paypal, Venmo, or Zellepayments. Have a Square, for credit card swiping. You can obtain one for free or inexpensively and will pay 3% or less in credit card fees to use one.
• After you set a book up and have a few reviews that are good, only read your five-star reviews. You can’t please everyone, and you need not suffer from low reviews.
• Don’t use bookmarks, which often are thrown away. Hand out postcards on demand only, or a Top 10 list, a recipe, food lists, trivia, or other book-content-related handouts.
• Keep accurate sales numbers. They can help you get into bookstores and all major distributors.
• Hire an actor to read your most emotional chapter and post the video online.
• Purchase a $5 ad on Amazon or FB, and look at the search term used by those responding. If they searched for the title of the book, rather than general search terms, they likely saw your ad.
Recommended Arizona book expos, fairs, and other events
I happily discovered, too, my expertise and fee structure as a book shepherd aligns quite nicely with industry standards. Great to know in this world where pricing for book-related services can be all over the map!
An International Standard Book Number( ISBN), per isbn-international.org, is “a product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and format.”
A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), says the Library of Congress, is “a unique identification number the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from commercial suppliers.”
But where do I obtain an ISBN?
Quick answer: Your print-on-demand publisher (e.g. KDP/Amazon, etc.) or through Bowker’s MyIdentifiers.com, depending on what you want to do…
Anyone who uses the free ISBN from KDP wants to only sell books and buy author copies through KDP/Amazon. It allows you to be in Amazon’s expanded distribution system, which puts you in the computer system of Barnes & Noble and other select bookstores and libraries. Not on the shelves, but in their systems in case readers want to order your book .
Anyone who purchases their own ISBNs through Bowker typically wants to:
• Buy books locally (faster, with more quality control). These days, it’s taking weeks to get printed books through KDP. I’ve always been personally satisfied with KDP printing, but some of my authors have had issues.
• Sell ebooks on other e-reader platforms like Smashwords, Apple Books, Kobo…
• Publish through IngramSpark (IS) to have their books listed in their distribution catalog. This is a pretty good reason to get an ISBN specific to IS.
Bowker ISBNs cost $125 for one and $295 for ten. Since every format of a books needs a uniques ISBN, I always suggest buying the package.
[Side note: I’ve done both KDP and Bowker ISBNs in the past, but am leaning toward definitely buying a Bowker ISBN to use with IS in the future.]
And how about that LCCN?
Formerly called a Preassigned Control Number (PCN), the LCCN allows your book to be purchased by and/or donated to a library, because the Library of Congress (LOC) can easily catalog it.
It takes less than five days to obtain a LCCN, often the next-day. You first need to set up an account at the LOC, then fill out an application for a single book’s LCCN.
My thought is, why not? It can only help, and doesn’t cost anything or take much effort to secure.