Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
Getting a Head Start on Holiday Sales: Tip #38 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
January 14, 2015by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #38 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books.  So, ready? Here we go!

Getting a Head Start on Holiday Sales

You know I used to laugh at the “Christmas in July” ads until I promoted my first Christmas-related book. We actually started the promotion in July and it was the perfect time. Why? Well, maybe no one is buying or thinking about December in July, but the holiday buying season is tough. In order to make any kind of headway you must start early, not just to capture the December sales but also to get in front of any early shoppers. Once those Christmas in July ads start to hit radio and TV, consumers (those who like to shop early) start to gather ideas for their own shopping lists.

Tip 38When is it too late to start thinking about the holiday market? November is definitely much too late, October is iffy, but if you’re staring September in the face and haven’t done a lick of marketing towards holiday sales, that might be your last chance. Better to start early – mid to late summer is always great. Here are some tips to help you get a head start on the holiday buying season.

Events: start early. If you’d like to do events in December I suggest you start calling stores now. Many stores don’t do in-store events after Thanksgiving, but if you have local connections or some independent stores they might be open to this. Speaking at non-bookstore venues falls under the same category: start early.

Promos: start planning your promos in the fall. I recommend starting the promo roll-out right after Thanksgiving and planning a succession of promotional announcements all the way through late December. If you need to get special pricing on books, or if you’re going to bundle your book with some other items, this will give you plenty of time to plan for that.

Website: now is the time to make sure your website is ready for your holiday marketing. As you begin planning your promos make sure your web designer is ready to go to make any changes your site might need.

Targets: definitely define your target markets as soon as you can, the earlier the better. If you don’t have a good, solid idea of who you’re marketing to yet don’t use your holiday campaign to test this. Test market early. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t waste a holiday promo if you don’t have to. Knowing who you are going after will save you in costly marketing mistakes (and this goes for any time you are marketing).

Ebooks: I suspect with all the e-readers that have hit the market – and with both Target and Best Buy carrying e-book readers – you’re going to see a lot of promotion for this over the holidays. Make sure your book is keyed into this market, what I mean is: if you had planned to get your book converted to an ebook, now is the time. Also, you might want to offer a special promo, if someone buys your e-book have them forward you the receipt for an additional special holiday bonus.

Social media: if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter yet, now is the time to join, and even if you are, this is a great time to maximize your efforts and plan how you’ll use your social media to enhance your holiday promos. Will you offer specials to your social media “tribe” only? Will you have exclusives just for them? Consider early on what your social media strategy will be.

Exposure: if your exposure online is minimal, now is the time to ramp it up. Contacting blogs, websites, doing article syndication, participating in blogs, doing guest blogging… all of these things are great ways to gain exposure online. Remember, it’s not just about the holiday promos, it’s about making sure you are searchable online. That way, if someone searches on what you’re offering, you’ll come up in the search results. This will help you capture holiday shoppers who haven’t been exposed to you or your message yet.

The key to successful holiday promotion is planning and enough advanced marketing so that you’re not spinning your wheels in the Fall wondering why you’re not making any traction. If you’re ready to explode your holiday market, start early; it’s the best way to make sure you have a spot waiting for you when the busiest shopping season of the year comes around again!



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – January 12, 2015
January 12, 2015by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, book marketing, writing, and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors.

Social Media

Frances Caballo submitted The New Facebook Ban Authors Need to Know About posted at Social Media Just For Writers, saying, “Facebook implemented a new policy that will downgrade Facebook posts that are purely promotional. This blog post explains the “ban” and explains why it won’t affect Indie Authors’ book marketing plans.”

Book Marketing

Derek Murphy submitted The Anatomy of a Successful Non-Fiction Book Launch posted at Creative Indie, saying, “A summary of my last book launch, working on mostly fiction now…”

Dana Lynn Smith submitted Conquer Author Overwhelm posted at Savvy Book Marketer, saying, “Sometimes authors can feel overwhelmed with all of the things they need to do. Here are some tips for coping with the myriad of tasks authors face.”

Sarah Bolme submitted One Smart Book Promotion Tactic posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “I love hearing about authors who are engaging in smart book promotion tactics. Such stories always get me excited and fuel my creative juices for ways to better promote books. Recently, I was introduced to an author in my hometown who is engaging in some really smart book promotion.”

tips

Writing

Caitlin Hicks submitted Where is Your Light This Year posted at Caitlin Hicks, saying, “It’s New Year, and what does last year’s resolution come true mean to me this year?”

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 2 New Agents Actively Building Their Client Lists posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Here are two new agents actively building their client lists. Leon Husock has a particular interest in science fiction and fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels. Cynthia Kane is interested in representing young adult, children’s, nonfiction, memoir, and commercial fiction.”

Chrys Fey submitted How to Build a Platform published at Write with Fey, saying, “A writer’s platform is your personal ability to sell books through who you are (your name), the people you know (connections), and media outlets (blogs and social networks).”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/submit-ame-blog-carnival/



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of January 5, 2015
January 9, 2015by: Penny
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Happy New Year! We’ve rounded up some top book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include how authors are using Instagram, building a following on social media, publishing predictions for 2015, and more. Happy marketing!

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* Smashwords’ Mark Coker Shares 2015 Publishing Predictions

The publishing landscape is rapidly changing, and Coker has some interesting comments about where things are heading. He believes it’s still early in the ebook self-publishing revolution:

http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/12/2015-book-publishing-industry.html

* Tips to Keep Your Blog Readers Coming Back

Learn how to keep your blog content fresh and attract regular visitors to your site:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/tips-keep-your-blog-readers-coming-back

* 6 Ways for Authors to Build an Engaging Platform Using Social Media

Get some practical advice for how you can build a following on social media and keep those fans engaged:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorit-sasson/6-ways-for-authors-to-build-an-engaging-platform-using-social-media_b_6404884.html

* 15 Things Successful Writers NEVER Say

For example: I don’t need an editor. Yes, you do. And don’t say these things, either:

http://www.novelrocket.com/2015/01/15-things-successful-writers-never-say.html

* Why the Self-Published Ebook is No Longer the “New Query”

There was a time when a successful self-published title would attract the attention of the Big Five publishers. Things have changed a lot since then. Here’s what you should know:

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2015/01/why-self-published-ebook-is-no-longer.html

* 2015: Social Media Marketing Trends You Cannot Miss 

Get ready for the new year by getting caught up on the latest developments in social media. For instance, if you use YouTube you should know that video will extend beyond that channel in the coming year:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/2015-social-media-marketing-trends-you-cannot-miss-infographic

* Reviving a Stale Book

By refreshing an older book, you can make new sales and get new fans!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/reviving-a-stale-book_b_6420250.html

* Top 7 Ways Authors Are Using Instagram

You can connect with book review bloggers, promote yourself, and much more:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/01/top-7-ways-authors-are-using-instagram/



Marketing Tools: My Favorite Content Curation Sites
January 9, 2015by: Penny Sansevieri
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Content curation isn’t always easy and more goes into it than just searching for content and sharing it. You have to research, explore and create. Your goal should always be to provide value to others and in doing so you may expand your reach across social media platforms.

There are countless tools and resources out there but here are a couple of my favorite content curation tools: Content Curation - blog_pin

Topsy – Super easy to use and makes it simple to find trending content topics related to what you are focusing on.

Netvibes – Allows you to totally customize your dashboard, and keeps everything that matters organized how you want it in one spot.

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Beyond the Bookstore: Holding Book Events in Non-Traditional Venues : Tip #37 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
January 7, 2015by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #37 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! Want the complete book of tips? Get it here! 

Tip 37Beyond the Bookstore: Holding Book Events in Non-Traditional Venues

If you’re tired of hearing “no” every time you try and secure a book signing, take heart. Signings have become a lot more challenging since more books than ever are being published each year and stores are cutting back on events. What’s an author to do? If you’re hungry for an event and not willing to wade through the endless submission process of a bookstore, consider doing events in non-bookstore markets.

What’s a non-bookstore event? Well, obviously it’s anything outside of a bookstore but more than that, it’s a unique location, likely in your city or town. We’ve done events at video stores, electronics stores, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, even Hallmark stores. When you start to dig into this market, the possibilities are really endless. It’s just a matter of finding a place that will make sense to host your event.

Picking the Right Venue

The first piece of this is picking the right venue. The venue can depend on a few things; first, you might look at the topic of your book to help generate some ideas. We once had an author who wrote a book on wine/movie pairings – pairing the right wine with a movie. I placed this author in a Blockbuster Video and the results were tremendous. I had another author with a computer book and I placed him at a computer store on a busy Saturday afternoon. He sold out of some 65 copies of his book in one afternoon. Another great venue is a Hallmark or some other gift shop. Why? Because people are going to a gift shop or Hallmark for one thing: a gift. Autographed books make great gifts.

Selling the Idea to the Venue

This will take a bit of work because it’s likely that the venue has never even entertained the idea of doing an event, let alone an author signing. You’ll need to make sure they are clear on the WIIFM (what’s in it for me): tell them you’ll be promoting the event, marketing it to the media (which we’ll cover further on in this article). Make sure they know that you’ll handle the book orders (meaning getting the books to the store) if need be. Yes, there is a lot more legwork involved for these events, but the payoff is huge. You may have to sell the books to them on consignment; what that means is that they take the books and can return to you whatever they don’t sell. Encourage the venue, however, to keep a stock in their store after the event in case people come by when you’re gone. I’ve done this before, and nine times out of ten the books never get returned to the author and are sold instead. Also, in many cases the store will often reorder and before you know it, you’re part of their inventory.

The other piece to this is to try, whenever you can, not to go through their corporate offices. Much like doing an event at Starbucks (which I’ve also done) and Hallmark, a pitch to corporate could take weeks and even months to approve. Most stores have the ability to approve from 3-5 events per year, meaning that they can have events at their store without having to go through the corporate offices. Most major corporations do this so that the stores can provide community support without getting bogged down in tedious paperwork for event approval. If you can avoid the red-tape of a corporate approval, do that whenever you can.

Selling the Books

As I mentioned, you will likely have to do a consignment. The inventory part for most major stores gets tricky, and if the books have to be approved for inventory, you’ll end up going through corporate again. More red tape. Try to work with the venue as much as you can so you don’t have to create an inventory of your books. The upside, however, is that if the inventory process is easy, you will be on their reorder list for the future!

Marketing the Event

This is the easy part, believe it or not. Local media loves local authors and while that’s a good foot in the door – the unique venue location will virtually seal the deal. Market yourself to media well in advance of the event and then again the event day. Also, if you’re doing an event in a mall, see if you can get the other stores to participate by doing bookmarks or bag stuffers. Bag stuffers, by the way, are a great way to help the store market your event. You could also do a custom bookmark. With printing so cheap these days, it might be easier to have event-specific bookmarks made up that you can give to the store to help them push the event to their patrons. Make sure you get the store OK first, before you hand them bag stuffers and bookmarks. Also ask if you can create a poster that includes your book cover and the event information. See if you can get a placement on the venue website and perhaps a notification sent to their mailing list. Unlike bookstores that crank out author events all the time, a unique venue that doesn’t see author events all that much will be much more receptive to promotional ideas.

More Venue Ideas

Once you take your eye off of the bookstore focus, the opportunities for book events are endless. Consider the following: street fairs, farmers markets, gyms, yoga studios, wineries, art stores, Starbucks, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, airports. Yes, I said airports. I’ve traveled a great deal and almost every time I go through the San Diego airport, Dallas Fort Worth or San Francisco, I see an author signing their books. Look out for this: if you’re not paying attention you could miss it while rushing to catch your flight.

Other Benefits to Doing Non-Bookstore Events

The benefits of these types of events are pretty significant, especially if speaking and events are part of your marketing tool kit. Book events held in these exclusive markets will not only take you off the track of competing for space in a bookstore, but because they are unique they will draw much more attention both from the media and readers.

Having a traditional book signing is always great. It will help you get into the bookstore market and might even get your book on their shelf. But if bookstores aren’t open to an event, don’t let that discourage you from planning one. Being unique will not only help you gain more attention, but it will help to keep you out of the rejection funnel that often comes from competing in a high-traffic market. Also, venue events outside of bookstores are a fun way to build an audience, get your feet wet doing events and speaking and grow your career as an author!

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – January 5, 2015
January 5, 2015by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on getting published, book marketing, self-publishing, and writing. Thank you to all of the contributors, and Happy New Year!

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 10 Writing Contests in January 2015 – No Entry Fee posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Writers should enter writing contests at every given opportunity. Agents and editors take note of who wins writing awards, and it’s a tremendous lift to your platform (not to mention sales) if you can put “award-winning author” on your bio.”

writing advice

writing tips for authors

 

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted Accessibility posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Are you accessible? In other words, are you easy to approach, reach, or speak with? As an author, this can be important.”

Self-Publishing

Heather Thomson submitted Changing Creative Lanes: Why I Left Hollywood for Self-Publishing (And, Yes, I’m Not Quite Right in the Head) posted at Self-Publishing Review, saying, “Laugh Riot Press writer and founder, Rich Leder, discusses why he left Hollywood and writing screenplays to become a self-published author.”

Writing

Chrys Fey submitted Writing Tips Part Two posted at Write With Fey, saying, “I am sharing my final 25 writing tips.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/submit-ame-blog-carnival/



How To Get More Sign Ups on Your Newsletter List
January 1, 2015by: Penny Sansevieri
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Make sure your subscribe form is visible on your homepage and on every page of your website: Ideally a subscribe form should be on the right hand side of your site, towards the top. Especially if your goal is to increase newsletter signups, you’ll want to be sure this is in a prominent spot.

POSTED more newsletter signups 01012015 - blog_pinGive something to get something: People aren’t willing to give up their email just for the sake of giving it out. Give them something of value, an ethical bribe. Our ethical bribe is 52 Ways to Sell More Books. Make sure the gift is great, get them excited about it. Don’t give a boring gift. Make it something you’d want.

Make it easy to sign up: People don’t like giving you a ton of information online so make your sign up simple. First name, last name and email. The rule of thumb here is that you want to make sure they can sign up in five seconds, or less.

People like what other people like so add testimonials to your sign up form. This is also a great way to capture the fence-riders. You know the folks who said “Well, let me click this and see where it takes me.”

Create a great thank you page and welcome email: This is pretty key and something that’s often forgotten. Show your new subscribers that you really care, welcome them to your list and send them a nice note to thank them for signing up.

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Your Rockin’ Red Hot Media Room: Tip #36 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
December 30, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #36 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books.  So, ready? Here we go!

Your Rockin’ Red Hot Media Room

Did you know that second only to your blog the media room should be the most updated page on your web site? When was the last time you updated your media room? For most of us it’s probably been a while. We tend to put up media rooms and then forget about them. But more and more a good, informative media room should be consistently updated. We’ve found through research, reading, and our own experiences that often it’s not just the media that visits this page, that’s why the term “media room” is a bit misleading. It’s actually a great place to inform, entertain, and educate your reader on you, your books, your message or product, and the things you’ve been up to and often it’s the first place a prospective buyer will go to to get more information on your and your work.

In order to compete in the digital age, more and more authors are turning to their media rooms to attract readers to their book. Why? Well it’s a great one-stop-shop place to get all the latest data on your books, new editions, new products and new speaking events (should you decide to list them).

The old way of doing media rooms was to have a list of your press releases, maybe a link or two to media and that was that. Now media rooms are almost the nerve center of your entire web site. Here’s a quick run down of what should (and shouldn’t) be in your media room. Keep in mind that components of a media room will vary depending on your topic, genre and focus so if you can’t include all of these that’s ok. Better to have only those components related to your book/product/topic than ones that don’t make any sense at all:

Tip 361. Downloadable picture of your book cover or covers, your photo and any other related artwork you want to offer.

2. About You: People want to know who you are, so tell them! Make sure your bio is on the media room and ready to download. It’s especially helpful if a media person is trying to gather information for an article and wants some background on you.

3. Press releases with live links: A few issues back we wrote that live links in a press release are a great way to get traffic back to your site but guess what? It works well in reverse too. News posted to your site gets spidered very quickly so including links and keywords will greatly enhance the visibility of both the media room and your press release. In fact another quick tip is this: instead of placing ads, issue a press release. No kidding. Press releases are a far better alternative than an ad on the Internet. You’ll get spidered, you’ll get ranking and best of all, you’ll get traffic. In a future issue we’ll take another look at optimizing a press release so if this is confusing, sit tight – we’ll go more into this in detail later!

4. New book/product information: This is the perfect place for sharing past, current, and future information on your book. Be boastful! This is your chance!

5. Tip sheets: We all know that the media loves tip sheets but guess what? Your readers/consumers do too. Fill your press room with any that you’ve created.

6. Where you’ve been featured: Be very generous with this. Don’t assume that if you have only been featured online that you should not list that. List everything! The more you can populate this room with links that make you look like the busy marketing person you are, the more attractive you’ll be to your buyer and to the media.

7. Ideas for stories: If a reporter is perusing your site looking for story ideas, why not give it to them? Creating a pop up box that says “Here’s how (insert your name) can help you with your story” is a great way to generate ideas for the media and get yourself a mention in an upcoming story or feature.

8. Bragging rights! If you have testimonials or reviews, place them here too. While it’s always good to sprinkle testimonials/reviews throughout your site this is another great place to list them. Regardless of whether the visitor to your media room is the media or a reader, people like what other people like!

9. No hunting allowed! Don’t make people hunt for information. The other day I was on a site looking for book pricing. I had to send an email to get a list of pricing, and why? Because it was confidential? Doubtful. But most people don’t think to remove the extra steps. Shorten the staircase. Meaning: remove needless steps to the close. Put pricing, information sheets, whatever you have up on your media room so folks don’t have to go on a hunting expedition for it.

10. Events: I took events off of my web site a long time ago. Why? Because I do so much pop up stuff that I had a hard time keeping up with it. There’s nothing worse than an outdated events page but if you can keep yours up, great! Keep it current; the activity will look great on your media room.

A few final tips: Don’t even consider cramming all of this information onto your site if you’re not going to deliver this in pop up form. Check out http://www.amarketingexpert.com/media.html for an example of this. (depending when you click on this you might see different information, our media room is being updated *again* as you read this). Also, deliver your text content in both PDF format as well as in text format so the search engines can spider it.

Don’t limit yourself to the items mentioned above, experiment with other media room ideas that might not be listed here. Book videos for example might be another great addition to your media room. The key is, start thinking of your media room as a place to present yourself not just to the media, but to the world! This will change how you view this very important page on your site and help turn a ho-hum page into a rockin’ red hot media room!

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – December 22, 2014
December 22, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on writing, self-publishing, and book marketing. Thank you to all of the contributors, and Happy Holidays!

Self-Publishing

Michelle Lowery submitted Pushing Past the Fear and Publishing a Book posted at Michelle Lowery, saying, “It’s about putting fear aside to pursue my dream of being a published author, and how with self-publishing opportunities, there are no more excuses for not doing it. I wrote it about my own experience, but I hope it’s motivational and encouraging to others as well. Thanks for checking it out!”

Writing

Z Zoccolante submitted 6 Ways to Resuscitate Your Novel posted at Marketing Tips for Authors, saying, “6 Ways to Resuscitate Your Novel, shows an important lesson I learned from my literary agent and a few tips all writers must know before and during writing.”

Hand Holding A Social Media 3D Sphere

social media tips for authors

 

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted Connectivity posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Connectivity can be used in promoting books. The goal is to get people to connect with your message, your book’s cover image, or the book’s story. Once someone has connected with one of these things, they are more likely to purchase your book.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/submit-ame-blog-carnival/



A Christmas Gift from Afghanistan
December 20, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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A Gift from AfghanistanIt’s getting close to Christmas and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people are getting testy. We all have too much to do and time seems to be shrinking. Will we get our cards out in time? And what the heck will you get Aunt Ethel this year, for the gal who has everything?

Though it seems like a very stressful time, we’re so fortunate to have these things to worry about. We’re lucky that we can plan a Christmas dinner or a fun holiday get-together. Long lines at the department store? That’s great, too. Because you know what? Things could be a whole lot worse. All you have to do is turn on the news to see what I mean.

Last week I was stressed, trying to get work done, my shopping finished, the cards sent. There were a million things going on and then I got this voicemail from Afghanistan from someone I’d never met and will likely never meet. From that moment on, everything slammed into perspective. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.

 

Here’s a bit of back story on how I ended up getting this call:

Every year we send care packages to a group of military overseas. These care packages often go to smallish bases with less than 100 guys. We are able to do this with the help of a team member who has a husband in the Army. This year we stuffed Christmas stockings with chocolate, beef jerky, warm socks, books, DVD’s and all sorts of things we thought they may like.

I believe in doing this because well, it’s important to remember that regardless of how we may each feel about the war, these men and women go there to do their job. They are in harm’s way every single day and they do so without complaining. They simply go where they are told.

During WWII my mom and her family were all in Belgium, I have heard the stories, it was horrible. I remember when she told me about the first time she saw an American tanker and the US flag come around the corner. They were being liberated, they were free. The men who went there fought a horrible battle and did so without complaining. They showed up and did the job. Many did not come home. I’m grateful to the ones who fought then and saved my family and that gratitude extends itself to the troops who find themselves in a very different place, fighting a very different battle. So my own personal reasons for doing this go back to that time but whatever your reasons, just do it.

So share your gratitude. Send a box or a letter or a card. Remember them not just around Christmas but all year round. You have no idea what a small gift like that can mean to someone who is thousands of miles away, fighting a battle we thought was long over.

a-soldiers-christmas

 

 

 

 

 

How to Send a Care Package to the Troops!

Inspired to do this on your own? It’s very easy. There are national orgs that will ship packages like AnySoldier.com and OperationGratitude.com but you can also take a different route if you want to do something more direct and personal. Here is who we did it:

The Army Sargent who helped us had a direct link, obviously but if you don’t know someone like that I bet someone in your community does. Start first with local churches, they can often connect you with base chaplains who can introduce a unit or someone stateside who can help organize a similar thing to what we did. Also, Rotary Clubs are good, too. Additionally our Army contact said: “ask around, because a lot of people know someone in the service and the service people who have been deployed know what it’s like to spend Christmas in the middle of a desert or wherever overseas and will be more than willing to help”

Note that there’s really no organization on the part of the service person, you just need an address and a name. The addresses are all APO/FPO so you don’t know where they wind up. You get a # of guys so you know who to buy for and the address, it’s actually VERY easy.

The list of things you may want to send varies but much like getting in touch, it’s also a lot simpler than you may think. Here is what we found they really love:

  • American candy like Snickers (we got huge boxes of it at Costco)
  • Beef jerky (again, Costco)
  • Socks, heavy socks because the desert can be really cold at night
  • Razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes and even toothpicks.
  • Books: we ordered books off of Amazon and also went to local bookstores to support the stores in our area. We got a mix of mystery books, thrillers, war books (WWI and WWII), war history books. etc.
  • DVD’s – these are great because when they’re done watching them they can leave them there for the next rotation. Again anything war-related, action packed, that kind of a thing.
  • We got other stocking stuffers at The Dollar Store, we got all the stockings there that we stuffed. We also got other things from there like candy canes, etc.

These are just some ideas, if you get to chat with the base chaplain ask him if he has any ideas, too.

We often include a letter or cards to the service people as well.

 





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