Article 1: Book Promotion
10 Ways to Increase Your Book Sales
by Patricia Fry
The success of your book depends on your willingness to promote it. Following are ten ideas that will surely get the customers' attention.
- Market By the Season. You probably intensify your promotional efforts during the Christmas/Hanukah holidays. But do you give any thought to the other seasons? Push gardening and travel books for summer reading and novels during winter when people like to curl up with a good book. I market my Hawaiian luau book for Father's Day in June and my grandparenting book for Grandparent's Day in September. For more seasonal marketing ideas go to: www.dailyglobe.com/day2day.html
- Email Press Releases to Newspaper Column Editors. Find newspapers listed online at www.zuzu.com/helpful/news-add.htm or www.newspapers.com. Locate the appropriate editor for your category: cooking and foods, outdoor living, fitness and health, the arts, family or spiritual, for example. Write a brief press release about your book and include your phone number so the editor can call you for an interview.
- Make News. Go out and do something newsworthy. If your book is on dog training, offer to teach volunteers at a local animal shelter to work with the dogs that are waiting for adoption. If your novel features the homeless community, spearhead a program for the homeless. And be sure to tell the press about it.
- Target the Right Audience. This sounds elementary, but sometimes the best laid plans? I planned to market my book, Write On! Journal-keeping for Teens, through public schools and youth organizations. I discovered after publication, however, that it's too spiritually oriented for mainstream educational and youth organizations. My new focus audiences for that book are Christian schools and church youth leaders.
- Publish an Online Newsletter. If you have several books in the same genre, a business or advocacy group relating to your book and/or an endless supply of information on the topic, consider publishing an online newsletter. Most online newsletters are free and many of them have subscribers numbering into the thousands. Karen Stevens advertises her book, All For Animals, in her monthly newsletter, which is designed to educate and inform readers on cruelty-free living for animals. Azriela Jaffe is the author of several books. She writes two free monthly email newsletters: one for entrepreneurial couples and the other on creating your own luck. Of course, she mentions her books in each of her very informative and entertaining newsletters.
- Create a Line of Books. Producing a series of books gives you more credibility in your field. And, it's easier to market books on the same topic. Instead of writing another full-blown book, however, you might offer customers additional or relating material in the form of pamphlets. Publish a small collection of poetry or short stories to accompany your book on writing. Produce booklets featuring various types of crafts and activities for kids to enhance a book on parenting.
- Talk About Your Book Everywhere You Go. I've sold books at the baseball field, in line at the grocery store, at my class reunion, while waiting at the doctor's office and even in church. It's not necessary to make a pest of yourself. Just be prepared to talk about your book should the opportunity arise. Just this morning, while at my hairdresser's, I asked if anyone needed autographed copies of my local history book for Christmas gifts this year. I sold four. Contact www.toastmasters.org for information about honing your communication skills.
- Give Incentives to Buy. Offer a free chapter or two on your Web site or nicely bound as a handout. Give away advertising bookmarks. Package your book with an interactive CD or some other item. I've thought about packaging my Hawaiian luau book with a lei-making kit or uli-ulis (feather gourds). I could include a journal and a pen with my journaling book.
- Give Seminars, Workshops and Demonstrations. Teddy Colbert, the author of The Living Wreath, often demonstrates how to make wreaths from live plants. Debbie Puente is the author of Elegantly Easy Crème Brulee and Other Custard Desserts. She frequently gives demonstrations in how to make crème brulee. Do these authors sell books through these events? Absolutely.
- Ask For the Sale. Raven West is the author of two novels, Red Wine for Breakfast and First Class Male. I heard her speak recently on the subject of book promotion and she told the audience that she sells more books when she asks for the sale than when she just sits back and waits for it. Be bold. Say, "Please buy my book." Or "How many copies would you like?" You might be surprised at the response.