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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 bag.

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 www.sba.gov/hotlist/score.html.

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 local authors.

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 involved.

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 audiences.

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 online chats.

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 for awards.

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

Find more interesting articles at authorsden.com/bethfowler

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