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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

Naperville 1920 Flashback: Special Christmas Presents

Kate Gingold Host 0 427 Article rating: No rating

While the 1920s started cautiously, with the country still recovering from the war and the Spanish flu, the decade would go on to enjoy unprecedented prosperity and technological wonders before onset of the Great Depression. 

Christmas gifts increasingly included big-ticket items for the home. Kitchens had been evolving with the addition of plumbing and electricity. For years, the kitchen area was mainly a table and some open shelves because wet and messy prep work was done in the scullery or outside while food was stored in a cool larder or cellar. A popular gift in the 1920s was a free-standing cabinet that stored the most often used food prep items and was equipped with flour and sugar dispensers.

Beidelman’s furniture store offered these for sale in The Clarion, one of Naperville’s earliest newspapers. Frederick Long opened the store in 1861 who sold it to his nephew Oliver Beidelman. Family continues to run the shop on Washington Street to this day. 

Another in-town furniture store, Friedrich’s, advertised Victrola phonographs for the family, which is also a pricey gift at $99. This shop was on Jefferson in the building where Floyd’s 99 Barbershop currently operates. Charles Friedrich had only recently become the proprietor after having worked for the previous owner, John Kraushar. 

It’s funny to see the “young folks” dancing in the advertisement since dancing was mostly frowned upon in Naperville at the time. A member of Naperville High School class of 1933 recalls that at their senior banquet, “none of us in the class were allowed to dance at the Tea Room. Our town was located in the middle of the Bible Belt, and social dancing was still considered in the ‘near occasion of sin’ category.” 


2020 Was the Year of Pivoting and We’ll See Where that Leads

Kate Gingold Host 0 624 Article rating: 2.0

In my business life, I’ve been reading about pivoting since mid-March and we’ve been helping other small businesses do just that. For many, the decision to change gears was the obvious and only reaction for staying viable.  Lately I’ve become aware that it’s not only businesses who are changing gears this year and for the same staying-viable reason.

Naperville 1920 Flashback: Staying in Touch by Phone

Kate Gingold Host 0 434 Article rating: No rating

The city’s first telephone lines were installed in the 1880s by the Chicago Telephone Company, which in 1920 changed its name to Illinois Bell to represent its growing domain. When the City Council granted the telephone franchise to Chicago Telephone, they also received a number of telephones “free of charge” for the city’s use. 

Few homes or businesses had a telephone in those early years. Philip Beckman’s harness shop, which was on the corner of Washington Street where Jimmy’s Grill currently does business, was among the first, although the shop could only connect with his home. Pine Craig, or as it is known today, the Martin-Mitchell Mansion, also had a phone early on to assist with the brick and tile business the Martins ran out of their home office. The first public phone was installed in Thomas Saylor’s ice cream parlor.

Most phone service subscribers used party lines. The Chicago Telephone Company started pushing a two-party service by 1920 because “Troubles and annoyances, occasionally found on the four-party line, are eliminated,” but party-line services lingered for many years as it was cheaper. Saving money would soon became even more important, of course, due to the Great Depression which was followed by World War II.

Early wall phones required you to crank the magneto, which is a kind of generator, to power a bell that alerted the switchboard operator so you could ask them to connect you. Once your call was over, you cranked again to ring the bell to let them know they could disconnect you. The first candlestick phones also required the assistance of a switchboard operator, but instead of cranking a magneto, you clicked the receiver hook. Rotary phones were already available in 1920, but were not widely used for a few decades. 

To add new subscribers and explain this new-fangled device, telephone companies ran ads in local newspapers, like the one from The Naperville Clarion reminding people not to be “cross” when they get a busy signal. They also published helpful articles in the phone books on how to best use one’s phone. The first phone books were just a dozen or so pages and everyone had a three-digit phone number – except for a couple of special cases. For instance, Edwards Sanitorium’s phone number was “6.” 


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Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!


Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



Get a Book Siging Checklist and our Sprocket Report

Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

No worries! She won't use your email address for anything else, and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime, but the checklist is yours to keep.

Any questions of Kate? Leave them in the message field and she'll get back to you ASAP.

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