PROMOTING OUR BOOKS

If you’ve worked hard and are fortunate enough to have a book or books coming out, it’s time for promotion, isn’t it? It’s a well-known fact that writers have to do their own promotion. Gone are the days when publishers ran ads, sent books out for reviews, etc., except in very special cases.

Of course, we all know to contact bookstores and try to set up some sort of appearance. Most nowadays want two or more authors and an event such as speaking to a gathering of guests or readings. I, for one, think talking to visitors is much preferable to reading from our work, though I have had some good sales following readings.
Also, don’t forget that when you are going away to attend a conference, you might try contacting book stores in the area around the location of the conference. You can offer to drop by and sign the books they have on hand, or hold a book signing, whichever they prefer. But it’s the contact that’s important. If they don’t invite you to stop by, when you get home mail some book marks or post cards to the contact to remind them of your book. In case they haven’t ordered some, perhaps they will.
Have you ever thought of holding small signings in libraries? Of course, the larger libraries will almost certainly invite you by for a signing, but consider doing the same with smaller local libraries in the county. You may only see a few people, but the librarian will send out a press release and pass out flyers for you if you provide them. That’s good publicity, and most encourage you to sell your books at your appearance.
If you’ve written something historical, contact historical societies and museums as well. Ask if you can come to one of their meetings, or hold a book signing at one of their celebrations, such as heritage day. Remember, book sellers want to be able to look up your book in their computer, so don’t contact them until the book is released. I set all my library appearances before my books come out because they have a very busy schedule and they don’t necessarily need to see your book ahead of time.
Something new cropping up in our part of the country — Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma — are book festivals. They are especially popular in Oklahoma. Usually for the small cost of a table you can take all your books and have a huge audience. Again, sales may not be great, but you can pass out post cards, flyers, book marks to everyone who passes by. Some will make their way to interested readers. Often local booksellers attend these festivals and there you have another contact.
Begin in a circle close to home, then increase that circle, then increase it again, going as far from home as you can afford.
National Library Week is April 12 this year and libraries are looking for events, so if you have books now to promote, call around. Make sure to offer to write a flyer for handouts and a press release and email to them. They don’t mind making copies if you do the writing. Look for other specials, like Women’s History Month, which is March, and see if your books fit the subject. Every week and month, something is celebrated. Check it out for a fit and then offer your appearance around town.
Local newspapers, especially weeklies, are always looking for news, and this type of press release from a library attracts their attention. You may get an interview out of it as well. A lot of people read these small newspapers. Before contacting them yourself, make sure you have some events scheduled. They’re more likely to print something about you and your book that way.
Of course, there are always TV stations and radio stations, but these are often more difficult to find a contact. Again, have events scheduled before the contact. Often a press release or press kit doesn’t get past the person who opens the mail. Try this, it worked for me. Watch who interviews writers or creative people on your local stations. Call the station right after their spot is over and ask for them. Speak to them personally about what you can offer for an interview. Ask if you can send a press kit addressed to them. They may ask you to make an appearance on the spot, even though they’ll generally want a press kit so they can have some questions ready. You can even write some questions you’d like to be asked and send those along as well.
Don’t give up on anything. Be innovative and think “out of the box” to promote your work. Please don’t forget using the Internet including social networks. There are some for writers. One is the Ning networks, which include Book Place. Or Book Buzzr, which helps you get your words out to interested readers through other networks such as Facebook. And that reminds me that a Fan Page on Facebook is a great idea for writers. And don’t forget to blog.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in Book Buzzr, book festivals, book marks, book promotion, Facebook, libraries, Ning, postcards, press kits, Velda Brotherton. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to PROMOTING OUR BOOKS

  1. Sheila Deeth says:

    Thanks for all the encouraging ideas. I guess I found my circle was smaller than I thought when I started trying to promote. So many places had so many excellent reasons to turn me away.

  2. Hi Sheila, Have you tried small libraries? Offer a press release and flyers that they can use to attract visitors. Most libraries and small shops are happy to have extra folks dropping in.

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