Marketing has been on my mind a lot lately. With the release of my book only weeks away, I can’t put off the fact that the time has finally come to make concerted efforts at promoting my book.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about online marketing and what that entails. On my News and Events Page I’ve listed the various online interviews, guest posts, and giveaways that I’m doing. Yes, an online presence is incredibly helpful and important for today’s authors.
But what about traditional marketing efforts? What—if anything—can writers do to market their books through other outlets besides the internet?
Some of you have asked me that question, so I thought I’d share a few of the other things I’ve been up to outside of cyberland. Just so everyone knows, I’m NOT fond of promoting my own book. I’d much rather give it away. In other words, I’m not the exemplary marketing role model. But hopefully you can draw ideas from what I’m doing, or at the very least, encouragement—if an inept salesperson like me can make efforts, anyone can.
1. Develop visuals for myself and my book. This includes professionally designed business cards (my web designer made mine to match my website) and bookmarks (my Bethany House publicist designed mine but there are other places that do this inexpensively). (See the slideshow in the sidebar if you'd like to take a look at an example of both.) In addition, my publicist also developed a recipe card for my book. It has an old recipe used in the book as well as a modern equivalent. It’s just one more thing I can hand out to people to help them visualize and get excited about my book.
2. Put together a packet of introductory material. My publicist suggested I make a packet that included: my business card, a letter of introduction, a bookmark or sheet with the picture of my book, and a little bit about the book. I even have extra covers of my book to use as folders for storing the information.
3. Make contact with local businesses. I made a list of places I’d like to go or people I want to call. Then, armed with business cards, bookmarks, or my packets of introductory material, I’ve begun the process of visiting places in my community and introducing myself—libraries, bookstores, churches, radio stations, etc.
4. Give away free books to key connections. My publisher sends out ARCs and Influencer copies. But as part of my contract, I also get author copies that I can use however I want. I’m reserving some copies to personally deliver to influential community members, but also to some of the friends I’ve made at the places I buy my clothes, get my hair styled, etc.
5. Advertise in local publications. Bethany House has already taken care of sending out blurbs about my book to many places—like schools, alumni magazines, newspapers in past cities I’ve lived in, etc. But I’m doing more local, smaller scale advertising. For example, I wrote up announcements for the local business group association and for my church newsletter.
6. Plan a Book Release Party. I contacted the locally owned bookstore that I’ve shopped at for years and the owner graciously agreed to let me have a party there. I’m sending invitations to friends as well as putting up posters around town. During the party, I’ll have food and drinks, and also drawings for gift baskets I’ve assembled. My hope with the party is two-fold: I want to celebrate with friends as well as start some hometown buzz about the book.
7. Arrange Book Signings. There are pros and cons of book signings. Many of us hear that book signings just don’t draw crowds the way they used to. Even big name authors struggle to get decent turn outs. Even so, I’m giving book signings a try, and so far have a couple on the calendar. I’ll make sure to blog about my experience!
Bonus: I'm renting billboards around the state like in the above picture. Isn't it just lovely?! (Hopefully you know I'm just kidding!)
So, there you have it. So far, the above list wraps up my non-internet marketing efforts. Fortunately my publishing house does an incredible job sending out ARCs for advance reviews, making sure my book is in major book catalogs, as well as in major bookstores, among many other things.
All that to say, my measly marketing attempts pale in comparison to what my publisher is doing. Their efforts will make all the world of difference in getting my book in the public eye in a way I could never hope to accomplish on my own.
What are some other ways authors can market their books without using the internet? What have you seen other authors do (or have you done)? I’d love more ideas! And if you don’t have any ideas, tell me what you think of book signings. Are they losing their effectiveness in today’s internet culture?
P.S. Make sure you answer this week’s Trivia Question #1 for a chance to win a free copy of The Preacher’s Bride!