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by Patricia Fry

Book Promotion Ideas

You may have landed a publisher—either the traditional or the pay-to-publish kind. But what is he doing to help you promote your book? If he (or she) is like most publishers, they’re doing little or nothing.

All of a sudden, you realize that promotion is your job. Now what? Sure, you are aware of the typical promotional activities—sending press releases, developing a website, talking to local booksellers about carrying your book, sending out review copies and so forth. But there is more that you can do—much more. And I suggest that you make it more personal.

Recently, I did some research for a client. He wanted leads to potential customers for his particular book. He said he had come to the end of the road and needed some help. He was absolutely astounded when I delivered another batch of hundreds—maybe thousands—of leads for him to pursue. The opportunities are out there; you just have to know where to look.

Here are a few ideas that might boost your book sales:

1: Get involved in forums, discussion groups and message boards. They come in all sizes, shapes and flavors, including, most probably, the genre/topic of your book. Visit your favorite sites to discover if they have forums or discussion groups. Do a Google search to locate additional appropriate boards and groups.

I have located important experts to quote in articles and books through forums and boards. I’ve also sold books and I’ve made some great contacts that have resulted in additional book sales.

2: Get an interview, article and/or book review in your private school/college/university alumni magazines. I know one author who attended four different colleges and universities and now teaches at one of them. Surely, the fact that he is an author is news that the editors will want to share with other alums.

3: Take advantage of your particular denomination and/or ethnic background. In other words, send press releases and make calls to churches, synagogues, organizations, clubs, groups related to your personal religious/spiritual leanings and ethnic group. Ask about an article, interview or book review in their newsletters/bulletins. Or arrange to speak before their members. This activity alone could keep you busy for many months and result in numerous book sales.

4: Promote your book in your home town as well as other places where you have lived. Where did you go grow up? Go to school? Attend college? Raise your family? Work? Contact the booksellers and newspaper editors there. Write letters to the editor. Write articles for regional publications.

5: Contact the editors of membership publications—such as to Sam’s Club, Costco, labor unions, etc. They are always seeking news about their members.

6: Use directories to locate large numbers of related and even unrelated organizations, associations, clubs and pursue them in order to get press in their newsletters and to land speaking gigs. Start by doing a Google search using keywords, “directory” and “organizations,” or “directory” and “fiction sites,” for example.

When it comes to book promotion, it’s sometimes a good idea to veer off of the well-traveled road and pursue those avenues related specifically to you and your project. Instead of thinking “traditional” and “volume,” spend some time considering who might actually care about you and your book.


Patricia Fry is the Executive Director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and the author of 35 books. See her most recent books in the left column of this page.

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