Done wrote me a book on a whim or a dare,
Published it then with explosive fanfare,
So what should come next in the writing game?
Marketing, of course, to broaden my fame.
But where to begin? And where do I start?
Peddling downtown with my books in a cart?
How about the TV, radio, or online?
If I sell just ONE tome, oh, twill be so fine.
Ah, yes, the marketing game.
I’ve met hundreds of authors over the past twenty years since I’ve started writing to publish, only a handful ever telling me that they enjoyed marketing their work. I think those few had some kind of degrees in business and were quite successful in their financial stratosphere before they ever considered tackling writing as a profession.
Then there’s the rest of us. We who love to think, and stew, and write, and rewrite. We who detest promoting and marketing our books because it’s such a waste of our precious time that could be spent in front of our computers. Our minds are constantly aggravated with this daunting question: how can we budget our time successfully so that we can exercise our creative juices, yet get out there and sell a book or two?
When Zonderkidz released my Keystone Stables Series in 2004 and 2005, I looked for ways to promote and market the six books without investing much money. Why? I didn’t have the bucks. Even though the books were published by a well-known Christian publishing company, I knew that my sales depended mostly on my efforts. So with a shoestring budget, I set out to peddle my wares.
Over the course of the past six years I’ve found that I could “sell a book or two” without investing a lot of cash, but I did have to invest a lot of time. I must have done something right because the first book in my Keystone series, A HORSE TO LOVE, has become a best seller.
Borrowing a handful of notes from my writers’ workshop Power Point presentation, I’d like to share with you some marketing ideas. Perhaps you can fine-tune these strategies to fit your specific needs. I guarantee that if you convert a few of these ideas into action, you will sell your books. Remember, it doesn’t take much money. It does take a lot of time, but I believe you’ll find that it’s time well spent.
- As soon as your book comes out, call all the local newspapers and radio
stations. They are usually very interested in doing an interview or feature
article with photos about a local author and his/her book. If you live near a TV
station, try your best to connect with them for an interview, news flash, or
guest appearance on a talk show.
- Print your own business cards with your book cover featured on it. Put the cards in envelopes when you pay bills and leave the cards with tips in restaurants.
- Start your own website, get on Facebook, and look for “free advertising” websites.
- Link your website with other authors’ websites for more exposure and look for writers’ websites that do book reviews.
- Offer speaking services to your target audience. This venue has sold more books for me than any other. The first two years my books were out, I spoke an average of about once a month in churches, schools, and community groups.
- Offer special deals such as “Buy two books, get one free” or offer a small token gift with book purchases. I offer plastic horse models with the purchase of four books or more. I have a friend who gives out daffodils with each purchase of her book. Another author friend gives a fancy curly-Q bookmark with each purchase.
- Offer to do book signings at bookstores and businesses that would attract your readers. However, always ask to have your signing on a special sales day or before a holiday. Last fall, I had a book signing at a COLE’S HARDWARE store on their big sales day of the year and sold more books than at some bookstore signings.
As you analyze these suggestions and plan your own marketing strategies, be as creative with this necessary part of writing as you are when you’re pecking away at your keyboard.
So load up your cart, put a smile on your face, and hit the highways. Your own best seller is right around the corner.