Blogger: Rachel Kent
Ever been overwhelmed by marketing your book? Perhaps you’re short on extra cash to spend on marketing. Well, I have some book marketing ideas for you! This post is based on an old series of posts I did, so it is rather long, but I hope it’s helpful and sparks fresh ideas for you.
The first idea is: Waiting Rooms
Take a few copies of your book with you to places with waiting rooms and leave them there. If you are a regular patient somewhere and you know the staff, this should be easy. It’s best to ask for permission, but I know my doctor or dentist would say “Go for it.” I bet yours would, too!
Just think how many people could be exposed to your book or name through this! Doctors and dentists have new traffic coming in each day. Even if the patients don’t pick up the book, they will still see the cover and title, and it could subconsciously cause them to purchase the book or recognize your name in the future. If a few do start the book while waiting in the office and enjoy it, they’re likely to purchase the book to finish it.
Feel free to take this beyond your own doctor or dentist, too. If you tell other doctors and dentists that you are a local author and ask to leave your book in the waiting room at their offices, I bet some of them would be excited to have it there.
Cost: Gas and time, and you need to step out of your comfort zone.
Perhaps you will need to purchase the books, but authors usually get free copies upfront and a large discount on additional promotional copies.
Rewards: Exposure to approximately 1o0+ people each week per office.
Tip: It might be useful to take a one-sheet with a short summary and author bio to hand to the staff while asking permission. That way they can double-check that the content is appropriate for the office.
Extension: Get your close friends and family to take the book to the waiting rooms they visit as well. Include your out-of-town friends and relatives, too!
If you try this idea, please do report back to let us all know how it worked! 🙂
Here are three easy ways to market your book using mail: either email or snail mail.
1) Only use personalized stamps with your latest book cover on them. This is an easy way to spread the word about your book without saying a single thing. The stamp will not only be seen by the recipient of the letter but also by postal workers. You might as well use them to pay bills, too. Perhaps the person processing your bill will purchase your book.
Cost: The price of the software (on sale for $16.99 right now) + the price of stamps (which you are already paying). Here’s the link to the software if you are interested.
Rewards: Exposure without doing word-of-mouth marketing.
Has anyone done this before? It’s probably nearly impossible to track the results of this effort, but if you have tried it, was it easy to do?
2) The second way to use mail to market is to include your new release in your yearly Christmas letter. Your friends and family should be happy to hear about your latest release as long as you don’t come across as a braggart or like you are asking them to purchase a copy. Leave the decision to purchase the book to them; just announce how excited you are about it.
Cost: None. (The cost of stamps, but you will already be spending the money if you are sending Christmas cards.)
Rewards: Sharing exciting news with people who should be pleased for you can lead to word-of-mouth marketing.
3) The last way to use letters to market is to send a mass email to all of your contacts the day your book releases. If you have a reader list, be sure to send the letter to them, but also put a note on Facebook and send an email to your personal email contact list. Include the cover and the title of the book. Be sure that you don’t spam people. Only send the announcement to personal contacts and to those who have subscribed to your reader list or Facebook list.
Cost: Just your time.
Rewards: Potential sales. Your readers will be informed about the new release, and your friends and family can pass along the news to their friends as well.
Have you used either the postal service or email to promote your book? Were you able to track any sales as a result?
Many of you have author newsletters, which are great, but if you can take newsletter marketing to the next “circle of influence,” you can reach that many more people and hopefully they will come to join your “inner circle.”
Here are a few ways you can take newsletter marketing to the next level:
1) Send an announcement about your new release, with the book cover and a link to your website, to your Alumni Association or college magazine. I know the U.C. Davis magazine will publish alumni news snippets. Many colleges have an alumni newsletter.
Cost: The cost of a stamp (or free, if you can email your announcement) and the time it takes to put together the news item.
Rewards: Exposure to thousands of graduates. Hopefully building your inner circle through those who check out your website and sign up for your personal newsletter.
2) Send an announcement about your new release to your church for publication in the church newsletter. Again, include a book cover and link to the website. Offer to host a book group/potluck at the church if enough people are interested.
Cost: The time it takes to put together the announcement and to possibly host a book group.
Rewards: Exposure to the entire church congregation. Hopefully some will join your personal newsletter list.
3) Approach a local bookstore or two about sending a newsletter or e-newsletter for you announcing that a local author has a new book out. You might get lucky and the bookstore might do this for free (especially an e-newsletter, if you are willing to do an in-store event) or you could offer to pay a little for the use of their newsletter contacts and time. It’s pretty likely they have had requests like this in the past, so they’ll know what do tell you. In Santa Rosa, we have an independent store, Copperfield’s Books, that’s very willing to work with authors to promote books. Check out what they do here: Copperfield’s Online
Cost: The time to put together the announcement and to possibly do an in-store event.
A fee of some sort for the newsletter exposure, if that is how the store operates.
Rewards: Your name and book title will go out in a newsletter to book lovers, and you might even get a chance to speak and sell books at the bookstore. Might get some personal newsletter sign-ups to expand your inner circle.
Can you think of other ways that you can take newsletter marketing beyond your immediate circle of influence?
Does your book involve a topic that certain groups of people might be interested in? For example, two Books & Such clients had novellas release in a collection called A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. Through a little online research, one of the authors found a log cabin society so she sent a note to the society when the book released.
Another Books & Such client has historical books releasing that are set in a town that still exists today. She has visited the town and has done on-site publicity for her books. In this case, the town is one interest group. I don’t know about you, but I love finding books set where I live! Francine Rivers and Lori Wick both have books set in and around Santa Rosa, and I enjoyed reading them very much.
So here is my marketing suggestion for you: Take a close look at your book. List the main topics, settings, and themes. Do some online research to locate interest groups relating to any of those items. Put together a different letter for each group, emphasizing the connection between your book and that group.
Cost: Time and possibly postage if you can’t email your letter.
Rewards: Getting news of your book to people who have something in common with the story or topic.
Take it to the next level: Offer to do a Skype interview with the group or offer to send bookmarks or signed bookplates. Think of some way to personalize the note you are sending to encourage book sales and exposure.
So, what interest groups are out there that might be interested in your book or work-in-progress?
I hope my tips are useful to you and please try some of them! Do you have any other easy book-marketing ideas to share?