Most of my readers know by now that my debut book, If I Had My Way, is being released on February 1, 2012. I have had to do a great bit of marketing in the last year to get to a place where hopefully readers other than my loved ones will buy my book. I will admit marketing can be difficult. I say difficult because there is always something else to do or that you could be doing. But I found out through lack of sleep, that I can't do everything because I have other priorities. So I learned to do what works and what is most beneficial to me in the long run. There are hundreds if not thousands of marketing strategies and tips available that can be useful to sell books, but today I will share only ten.
1. Get Actively Involved.
Join associations and organizations geared toward networking, helping or supporting writers and authors. But don't just join and fade into the background. Get active, volunteer or sponsor events to get recognition. By doing so, you could meet potential publishers, editors and agents. Not to mention you can make lasting literary connections. Most associations and organization have a newsletter. When your book is being released, you can request to have it mentioned in the newsletter which is usually sent out to hundreds or more members. I am currently a member of several literary organizations. The one I'm most involved in is The Alabama Writers' Conclave. It's one of the oldest writers' organizations in continuous existence in the United States. I am also the Publicity Chair for the Alabama Writers' Conclave. The AWC holds an annual writers conference every year in different parts of Alabama. This year it will be held in Huntsville, Alabama. There you can network, attend workshops, and meet great people. If you are a member of the AWC, you can get a discount on the conference as well.
2. Attend Local Book Fairs and Festivals
By attending book fairs and festivals you have the opportunity to meet readers. People who attend book fairs and festival are there because they love books. Most book fairs and festivals have opportunities for authors to rent tables or booths to sell their books. But even if you can't afford to rent a booth or a table, you can mingle amongst the crowd with a large book bag filled with books ready to sell should you meet a potential reader or buyer. Or you could go fully stocked with bookmarks and business cards to hand to passersby. There are a few festivals and book fairs that are opened free to the public. Check out my list of book fairs and festivals page.
3. Get Noticed in the Community News
When you go to any public event to talk about your book such as a book signing, make sure the local newspapers list your event in the Event section of the newspaper. In my area, the local newspaper offers this service for free.
4. Attend Trade Shows and Conventions
Nearly every genre or literary market is represented at trade shows and conventions. There you have the possibility of meeting publishers, editors, agents, manufacturers, buyers, authors, suppliers, media and distributors. You can network, draw up leads and contacts in one weekend that would likely be more beneficial than attending in other event. To find trade shows visit Gale, Expo Guide and Trade Show News Network.
5. Visit the Library
The library is an abundant source of information for any author. Libraries can give you feedback on what people are reading, what genres are being read the most, provide databases, information on publishers, websites, magazines or general information to help you find more resources and facts. The library can also help you find a list of directories for periodicals and associations for marketing purposes. And most libraries will let you use their facility for a book signing. Possibly for free, but some may charge a small fee. To find a library in your area, contact Public Libraries.
6. Virtual Book Tours
The person to person book tour is not as popular as it use to be. Mostly because some publishers don't want to foot the bill with so much competition going on with eBook publishing and one hit wonders. Virtual book tours have become popular with some authors because it's more economical; there's no need to get dressed, rent a car or buy an airplane ticket nor is it necessary reserve a hotel room for a days stay. Nope, with virtual book tours you contact a virtual book tour company, go over their fees or packages and they essentially do the rest for you. What a virtual book tour company does is contact several blogs that are already signed up with them to host authors or do book reviews on their blog. Once the virtual book tour company contacts its host, the host then receives a copy of your book, and they are asked whether they'd like to do an interview with the author, a book review or let the author do a guest post on their blog. Each day the author is hosted on a different blog. So lets say, I'm on tour, I would be hosted on 10 different blogs in say 10 days. Each day is an opportunity to meet new readers and make contact with bloggers that might like my book or that I could develop a future relationship with for future book releases. It also gives the blog recognition and page views because the virtual book tour owner would likely do some advertising to announce where the author will be each one of those 10 days. It's like a blog hop for authors. I am starting a virtual book tour company called Spotlight Virtual Book Tours and I'm in the process of accumulating potential hosts for virtual book tours. If you own a blog and would like to be a host, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or read the Spotlight Virtual Book Tour info in the upper right hand corner of my sidebar.
7. Start a Blog
Blogging is beneficial for authors because it gives the author a way to connect to readers and fans in a more personal format. Also, search engines spider blogs more frequently than websites. Search engines look for new content, and websites usually don't have daily or weekly updated material like a blog. Once the blogger post the content, generally and hopefully readers will comment. Comments are new content/updates. The more comments, the more inbound and outbound links, the more search engines assume your blog is popular. Thus attracting more readers. More readers means increased potential to sell books. To find out other reasons why blogging is great for authors, check out my post, 5 Reasons Authors Should Blog.
8. Become active on Amazon Amazon is a useful tool to use to get your name in front of readers. You can do this several ways. I will cover just a few. First, create lists using Listmania. Listmania is a list of books categorized by whatever title you give it. For instance, I could create a list titled Best Book for Self-Publishers. Once I have a title, I then add books that would fit into that category thus creating a list. Then people searching for books for self-publishers could choose to search using Listmania. Then viola, your list pops up along with your user name and author page info. You are now drawing attention to yourself as an expert or someone that is familiar with those types of books. Another way to get recognition on Amazon is do reviews of products or books. Trust me, people read reviews and they check the authority of the reviewer to see how many times the reviewer has reviewed something. Readers check for credibility. So don't just post one review, get in the habit of doing one a week. Plus, if your book is listed on Amazon, you'd likely hope someone would do the same for you when your book is released.
9. Be Prepared to Give Away Free Copies
I once read an article that said any author should be prepared to give away 10% of the books they expect to sell. So if you plan to sell 6,000 copies, be prepared to give away 600 copies for free. Why free? Free drums up publicity. Publicity generates sells. You can give copies away to doctor's offices for their waiting rooms or give them away as part of a contest or promotion. You can partner up with other authors or events to give away your books. Make sure when you give books away there is a way to contact you for future sales. You can create your own label and stick it on the back cover or in the inside jacket of the book. Also, as discussed above, you need reviews. You can get reviews easier when you give away copies. People are more inclined to do it considering they received the book for free. If you request a review, just be sure to ask for an honest review and once you receive the review, make sure and say thank you. Also, don't get upset if the review is not 5 stars. You want honest and fair reviews. Remember readers check the credibility of the reviewer.
10. Do a Radio Interview
There are so many radio blogs on the Internet. Some of them are searching for guest speakers to fill their time slots. Others would love to interview an author and talk about the author's recent work. It can be done by phone and pre-recorded for a later date or on air. And it's free. I was recently interviewed by bestselling authors, Reshonda Tate Billingsley and Pat Tucker for their literary radio talk show, From Cover to Cover on FM and Internet radio. It was my first radio interview, so I was extremely nervous. But it helps that both authors were welcoming and supportive so it eased some of the jitters and butterflies I had. I think I will do even better the next time I do a radio interview. But it's good to get your feet wet and get prepared to talk about your book and why you love doing what you do. No one can express the love and passion you have for your book better than you. So practice and be prepared to talk about yourself, your book and make that sell. You never know who may be listening.
I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive.
My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com and BN.com. You may contact me via email at: email@example.com