I was excited to have Bob Avey at my house overnight. He was signing books at the local Hastings Book Store that day, so I had invited him to stay over and speak to my critique group that night. He pulled up in his little red car that was completely wrapped on both sides with the image of his book cover for Twisted Perception. The first thing I thought of when I saw Bob’s car was… park this thing near the street at the bookstore so everyone knows who’s signing books!
Bob’s always been one of my favorite book promoters, so I thought I would do a little interview with him today.
Dan: What books are you promoting these days?Bob: I'm currently promoting my two Detective Elliot novels; Twisted Perception, AWOC Books, April 2006; and Beneath a Buried House, AWOC Books June 2008. I'm also busy working on a third Detective Elliot novel, tentatively titled, Footprints of a Dancer.
Dan: Tell us about your most successful promotional tool or event.Bob: I've never been one to follow the pack, and while many authors are out there trying to find places other than bookstores—because that's what they've been told to do—in which to hold book signings, I've done just the opposite. Contrary to what I keep reading, I've had great success at bookstores. My most successful event was at a Hastings bookstore in Muskogee, Oklahoma where I sold 40 books in about three hours. And my most successful sales tool has been to just get out there and talk to people. Don't get me wrong. Bookstores are not the only places I sell books. I've held book signings at arts and crafts fairs, antique shops, libraries and even some shady bars. The trick is to be congenial and outgoing, but in a subtle and professional manner.
Dan: What do you do regularly to promote your books?Bob: When I am on the promotional go, I talk to people about my books wherever I go. If they seem interested, I give them bookmarks, or whatever promotional materials I have on me at the time.
Dan: So tell us about the car.Bob: When my first book, Twisted Perception, was published, it dawned on me one day that even in my home town of Tulsa most of the people living there didn't even know I existed, much less that I had a book out. I decided an easy way to change that would be to have some magnetic signs made, the kind that you stick to the doors of your car. I called several sign companies and was told that due to the shape of my car this wouldn't work. If I drove over twenty miles per hour, the signs would blow off. Since driving around town at nineteen miles per hour didn't seem feasible, I asked what else I could do. One of the sign guys told me that I needed a wrap. I told him I didn't care for that kind of music. He went on to explain that "wrapping" is transferring a digital image to thin vinyl, which would then be applied to the car. When done right, it looks good, just like paint.
After Bob left my house the next day, my neighbor came over and asked me, “Who was that? The pizza man?”“No,” I said. “That was Bob Avey, the Lone Ranger. Hi-ho Silver… away.”
Check out www.BobAvey.com