Publicize your book in 15 minutes or less? Yes!
Here are five of my favorite tips for activities that can be achieved in 15 minutes or less:
1. Set up a Google alert for your name, your book title, and any topic related to your book. This is a relatively simple process that will allow you to see what’s being written about you or the areas in which you write. Be sure to send your editor and publicist at the publishing house a link to any interviews or reviews you find. Time spent: 10-15 minutes to set up; just a few minutes to monitor.
2. Write thank you notes. Your mother was right: Be Polite. Follow up on any Google alerts you get by offering up a note of thanks to whomever has written about you. Yes, even if the comment wasn’t flattering. Your polite thank-you might open the door to a future article that shows you or your book in a better light. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve gone the second mile and reached out to someone who will very likely remember the gesture long after the interview, review, or article is forgotten. Time spent: 5-10 minutes.
3. Drop one of your bookmarks into the envelope when you pay bills. You never know who will be on the receiving end of your correspondence. If you don’t have bookmarks, they can be easily printed up using any number of word processing programs. Most publishers will offer them at little or no cost. Time spent: 5 seconds.
4. Create address labels with your website address on them. If you’re the clever kind who can work with graphics easily, add your book cover or press photo to the label. Highlight the address using a different color – something that will stand out but still be readable. Time spent: 15 minutes to set up and print; a few seconds to use.
5. Pick up the phone and call a Christian bookstore or stop in while running errands or visiting a new city. This tip comes from author/speaker Karen Whiting (www.karenwhiting.com). “My daugher so wanted to see my God’s Girls books that she stopped by and called all five Christian stores in her area. She did this for over a month. Then one day she walked in and saw the books on an end cap,” says Whiting. “The manager happily stated that ‘everyone’ had been asking for the books. She then drove to the other stores and found that three of the remaining four had the same book placement and enthusiastic manager.”
A word of warning here: I am in no way suggesting you should pester your local booksellers until they cringe when your name comes up on caller ID. Rather, be considerate of their busy schedules and offer a quick introduction along with your book’s title then let them know you’re local (or visiting). Always thank them for what they do. Even if your book isn’t in stock, bookstores carry a lot of other authors who are bringing the message of Christ to a needy world. Many authors will bring bookmarks or some sort of little gift to leave behind, though that’s not necessary. Look around before you go to the manager, and if the store is busy, consider returning at a time that’s more convenient for him or her. Above all, you want to be remembered as someone who is helping them sell books and not someone who is keeping them from it. Time spent: 5-15 minutes – longer only if the manager is a talker or you stick around to browse the store.
So what about you? What sort of things have you done to bring awareness to your book in 15 minutes or less?