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29 Tactics to Promote (and Sell) Your Book
by Beth Fowler
It's the fifteenth of the month. I'm validated
and a little richer, because my publishers mail royalty checks today. Even
though one of my books was published in 2000, it's still selling because I'm
still promoting it using many of the tactics here.
1. Take advantage of your publisher's marketing
initiatives. Self-published Xlibris author Barbara Evans did and appeared on
American Morning (CNN), getting national attention for her book as a result.
2. Give freebies. One author hands out bookmarks
with information about his book on them. I offered a free travel anthology to
readers of "Please the Editor: Make a Sale" article in www.worldwidefreelance.com. The anthology contains ads for each of my books. At
book signings I give away green tea, vintage buttons and really cool water
conservation tips for Half Baked in Taiwan, The Dressmaker's
Dummy and The Universal Solvent, respectively.
3. Have fans recommend your book on www.amazon.com.
Amazon "only accepts recommendations from customers who have placed orders at
Amazon.com." Submit reviews there, too.
4. Attend book fairs. Omar Tyree distributed his
self-published books at local bookstores and book fairs. Simon & Schuster
liked his book, Flyy Girl, and signed him on. He's been on the "New
York Time" bestseller list.
5. Dr. Rosie (www.milliganbooks.com) advocates "guerilla marketing" to give your book
maximum exposure. In her July/August 2002 column in "Black Issues Book Review"
(www.bibookreview.com), "A serious author should spend at least two hours a
day marketing online."
6. Your webpage should include the book cover,
back-cover blurb, excerpt, publisher's link and info., press releases, reviews,
readers' comments, book signing and workshop schedules, order form and author's
picture, bio and contact information.
7. Get interviewed. Book clubs interview authors
via speakerphone and Internet radio talk shows such as http://www.voiceamerica.com
where hosts interviews authors and
listeners call in to talk with the authors.
8. Submit a summary at http://www.allreaders.com/promote.asp
9. Carry copies with you at all times. I've
missed sales opportunities because I didn't carry books in my car trunk and tote
10. Tackle your sales campaign as though it's a
small business (which it is). For about $20 you can enroll in the local Small
Business Administration's business plan courses. Find your SCORE Chapter at
11. Use unconventional "distributors." I gave a
Realtor, whose clients are Americans relocating to Taiwan, the unlimited rights
to give e-book versions of Half Baked in Taiwan to her clients. She
paid me a one-time fee.
12. Sell your books along with those unused
barbells at your next yard sale.
13. Give physical and online book discussion
group leaders free copies to entice the group to select your book.
14. Submit your book and controversial talking
points to radio talk show hosts. Radio talk shows are hot.
15. Get on TV. Local stations often feature
16. Before the book is published, send free
review copies to magazines, newspapers, and online. Many reviewers, such as
"Kirkus Book Review" and "Publisher's Weekly", want books several months before
publication. Submit your book to reviewers found in issues of Literary
Marketplace at your local library or subscribe at http://www.literarymarketplace.com/lmp/us/subscribe.asp
to the online version for $398. (You
can access a good bit of information without subscribing.) Surf the
BookZonePro's http://bookzonepro.com/reviewers/ And for you science fiction and fantasy writers out
there, Steven Macon, author of The Ancient says, "Visit http://www.otherworldsscifi.com for information and to see how you can get
17. Include information about the book in the
bio note (and body, if appropriate) of every article you submit to publishers.
If the publication isn't keen to promote a specific book, ask if they'll accept
something along the lines of "To read more articles about such-and-so, visit
www.authorsden.com/bethfowler," or "Find more articles by this author at our
archives." The July/August ByLine (www.bylinemag.com) contains an excellent article about promoting your
works in bio notes.
18. Lead seminars and workshops at the YMCA, YW,
libraries, school districts' community and adult ed programs, college continuing
education programs and similar venues. I teach "The ABCs of Writing for
Children" at several schools that run community education classes in the
evening. I get paid to teach and get a chance to promote my books to live
19. Keep a supply of order forms handy in the
public areas (dining room, living room) of your home, in your car and in your
pocketbook, wallet or briefcase.
20. Dig up friends and associates from way back
with the news of your book. A childhood buddy whom I hadn't seen for decades
bought my book. A schoolteacher, she cited me as an example of a success story
in her writing classes. "Aw, shucks."
21. Mention your books in relevant ways in
22. Offer your book to institutions, agencies
and companies with built-in audiences that need your book. The Taiwan Consulate
in Australia bought copies of Half Baked in Taiwan for their library.
23. Speaker at writers' circles, Friends of the
Library groups, Rotary, Lions, Association of American Business Women,
retirement villages and other groups. As one who's written a book, it's assumed
you're an expert on the subject and qualified to speak on the topic.
24. Send info or visit or email writers groups.
Find lists and links at http://www.writepage.com/groups.htm and online writers groups at www.manuscriptediting.com/writersgroups.htm.
25. Visit www.diybookfestival.com. The DIY Book Festival judges self-published or
independent publisher non-fiction, fiction, children's books, how-to and e-books
26. John Henry Warren says he's sold thousands
of his thriller, Storm Keeper, through book signings. "In 2001 I spent
almost every weekend signing books. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be in a
mall with 1,000 people walking by, looking at my book."
27. Visit every library in the county and
adjacent counties. Inform the senior librarian that you're a local author and
would like to have your books included in the library's collection. Be prepared
to hand over a copy of the book and an invoice or provide the ISBN and
distributor's name. Every librarian I've met is happy to support local authors,
in spite of funding crunches.
28. Click http://www.booksatoz.com/puborgls.htm#Newage
Publishing Orgs of America is a list of
just about every group and association that is involved in every aspect of
publishing - from authors to bookseller to soy ink producers.
29. Use tactics from:
How to Self Publish and Market Your Own
Book by Mack E. Smith ISBN 0-966-23287
101 Ways to Promote Yourself by Raleigh
Pinksy ISBN 0-380-81054-9
Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure Fire
Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars by Jay Conrad Levinson, et
al, ISBN 1-580-62682-3
Literary Publicity: The Final Chapter
by Joseph Marich, Jr., ISBN 0-766-83113-2
© Copyright 2003, Beth Fowler
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