By Anika Logan
So you're a published author with a brand new book to promote but find yourself receiving little or no help from your publisher? I know the feeling. Relax, take a deep breath and don't despair writer- get busy instead!
Here are just a few inventive ways I have come up with to self promote and increase my chances (and your chances) of making sales.
1. Strike up conversations with new people wherever you go, it does not necessarily have to be in writing related settings. Waiting in line at the bank, waiting for the bus, restaurants, shopping malls, cultural or sporting events and the list goes on. Don't be afraid to tell people that you are a writer and have recently written a book. Carry copies of your book with you always and don't let golden opportunities to speak with others slip by. Make sure to enclose your business card with your books. You never know when you could get lucky and make contacts or a sale.
2. Don't forget the valuable opportunity that the Internet provides. Create a website and feature on it your book cover, a summary of your book, excerpts, some promotional blurbs from reviewers (or family and friends) and instructions as to how your book can be purchased (as an example, a printable order form, Paypal information or a link to the publisher. Another thing you can do is get the announcement about your book into as many writing newsletters that are on line as you can. For example, Every Writer, Sell Writing Online, and the Working Writers Newsletter have an announcements section where they feature new books, websites, ezines etc. Cyberspace is vast- take advantage of it!
3. Throw a fundraiser in your own honor (if no one else will do it for you). Invite everyone you know who supports your endeavors. Set the scene- put on some music, mix up some drinks, order pizzas (or make your own), bake up some mouth-watering goodies and have fun. It's party time! Play the gracious host/ hostess and have a hoot! Set up a table full of your books. If you are unable to sell your own books (due to your contract) then put out a donations bucket. This is sure to drum up some interest in your work and bring you in some cash! And by all means if some of your guests want you to read from your book, oblige them. This is your night to shine after all!
4. This one may sound kind of strange but it has been known to work. Don't overlook your own yard sales. Next time you decide to have one set up a display of your books. They will definitely be a conversation piece that could lead to who knows what? Contacts, sales, readings, book signings, or more work.
5. While you are at it, don't forget about the opportunities that exist at your workplace. Ask your boss if it would be possible for you to set up a tasteful display in the office. Co- workers, clients and/or customers are always looking for reading material for their lunch breaks or while they wait. This angle could lead to many more sales. And remember word of mouth counts for a great deal!
6. Family members, close friends, acquaintances, neighbors, friends of friends- pitch your book to them all. Talk about your book at family reunions, class reunions, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, get -togethers, you get the idea. Who better to support and encourage your hard work and effort than those who know and love you the best?
7. Post your business card and small posters you have made about your book on every bulletin board you can find. If it has a free space, tack yours up there with all the “for sale” and “to rent” signs. Shopping malls, rec. centers, schools, even telephone poles! The more exposure you get the more chances that your book will be a winner!
8. Contact newspapers and radio stations in your area and inquire into getting your work out there in front of audiences. Local talent is always appreciated. People love it when up and comers in their own communities succeed at reaching a goal or realizing a dream. It reinforces the strength of the community and encourages others to pursue their dreams as well. It inspires hope and that is very important.
These are just a few tried-and-true ideas to help jumpstart your promotional path and get your book out there for the reading public to enjoy! There are numerous ways to promote your masterpiece if you think about it long enough. Very likely you already have lots of ideas of your own. Pick the brains of some of your most trusted confidantes for suggestions they might have. Then get moving writer, and on the fast track to selling your book!
Best of luck to you!
Anika Logan is a freelance writer from Nova Scotia, Canada. She writes on a variety of topics including fashion and beauty, food and dining, relationships, home improvements, alternative medicine, entertainment and writing. Her work has been featured at Garden and Hearth.com, The Driver Magazine, Tidings Magazine, www.theshoestring.com, The Porch Syndicate and Absolutewrite.