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Real Fast Book Marketing

101 Ways to Market a Book

by Joanna Campbell Slan, author of Paper, Scissors, Death

Web: She also has a great blog where she writes about her marketing efforts for her novels at:

The publishing world is in the midst of a revolution. My publisher was a bit shocked that I wanted to add a coupon in the back of my book ... but they went along with it. They were a bit concerned when I suggested (strongly) that they send their artist to Archivers, a large scrapbook chain, to see what was au courant. But they did and my cover is not only glorious but very trendy. In every way, they've been super partners, and now that I keep surprising them with new ideas. They've taken to sitting back and waiting to see what I dream up next. My blog brigade has been my most promising idea--these young enthusiastic women (mainly stay-at-home moms) are delighted to be part of my future.

1. As I write it, I think of the discreet audiences within and build in opportunities.

2. Get the best cover possible.

3. Ask for help refining my back cover matter.

4. Request over-runs of the cover.

5. Print marketing information on the inside of that over-run cover and use it like postcards, especially to market to booksellers who want to see the cover before placing an order.

6. Make interesting bookmarks. (I customized them and added flowers.)

7. Get blurbs from people with recognizable names.

8. Get reviews and permission to use those reviews in anyway I dream up.

9. Run a contest associated with the book. (Mine is The Best of British Scrapbooking administered now by ScrapBook inspirations Magazine in the UK.)

10. Send information about that contest through a variety of channels—online, websites, magazine, the magazine’s blog.

11. Offer a prize for the contest.

12. Put out birth announcements through an online invitation site when my book launches.

13. Have stickers made of the book’s cover.

14. Use cover stickers on name badges when I attend conferences.

15. Attend conferences.

16. Ask to be on panels.

17. Ask to host tables at banquets.

18. Create super handouts that are “keepers” for any panel or appearance. Include marketing information.

19. At table (that I host) give away “goody bags” with items related to the book.

20. Invite booksellers or reviews or well-known fans to join me at that table.

21. Carry around a faux subpoena, fill it in to invite people to share my table on the spot.

22. Contact people through the business cards I collected last year and ask them to sit at my table.

23. Contact people from last year and tell them I’m looking forward to seeing them at the conference.

24. Offer my book as a prize for charity auctions. (Go to the social section of the daily paper and find these events.)

25. Give a portion of sales to a charity.

26. Ask to be a party of the charity’s annual event.

27. Ask to have my book publicized in the charity’s program.

28. If the charity has an auction, and if my item fetches a nice price, immediately tell the auctioneer that I will also offer a duplicate item for the runner-up. (This gives the charity twice the money, and me twice the exposure.)

29. Make a “jacket” for my three-legged dog and feature a photo of my book on it.

30. Have a tote bag made with the cover of my book on it. (Use the tote bag.)

31. Distribute bookmarks to the local library.

32. Go to the bookstore at the local airport and offer to help them put together a display of books by local authors.

33. Create shelf-talkers.

34. Send shelf-talkers with media kits to local libraries.

35. Ask friends to call their local library and ask them to order my book.

36. Offer to do a program at my child’s school.

37. Create handouts for the program with links to booksellers and my ISBN.

38. Staple a copy of my book to a cheap package of seeds. Add a card saying, “It’s spring and good books are blooming.” Leave in gardening centers.

39. Offer to do a program for retirement homes.

40. Create a handout for attendees from retirement homes—make it large enough to add the attendee’s photo and suggest they post it in their rooms so that they family can see my book when they visit.

41. Carry my book with me and read it while I’m waiting in public transportation.

42. Leave bookmarks on seats in public transportation.

43. Offer to do a lunchtime program for local companies.

44. Work with other authors to create a speakers’ bureau.

45. Come up with an idea for Chase’s Calendar of Events and and have a holiday that relates to my book.

46. Offer free support materials online for my holiday.

47. Have a website.

48. Have a MySpace page.

49. Have a FaceBook page.

50. Enter myself on as many social authors’ groups as possible.

51. Come up with a list of blogs where it would be ideal for me to blog.

52. Ask them if I can guest blog.

53. Give them a copy of my book to give away.

54. Ask the blogs that allow me to guest blog if they’d suggest a friend who blogs.

55. Get my book into company libraries.

56. Get my book into hospital bookstores—don’t forget the shelf talkers.

57. Contribute to social marketing sites and add my book in my signature line.

58. Add my book in my signature line of all email.

59. Drop a business card into all our outgoing mail.

60. Have an open house in my neighborhood to launch my book.

61. Ask a local real estate agent if she’d like to host a book launch party for me and invite her clients.

62. Make my book available to my son’s school, and ask the librarian to send out a notice in the parent correspondence about my book.

63. Tell my doctor and dentist that I’d be happy to personalize a copy of my book for each of their employees.

64. Hold a book signing in a local grocery store near the holidays.

65. Package several of my books together with a ribbon around them and sell them as a package.

66. Offer to email people a free report or goody to anyone who shares an Amazon order number with me after purchasing my book.

67. Run contests through my blog that reward people for bringing in new readers. (They must identify the name of the new sign up so I know this happened.) Give away an excerpt booklet or a bookmark.

68. Create my own fan club—and have someone else run it.

69. Swap with an author friend: I put up her info on Wikipedia and she does the same for me. We both mention our books.

70. Work with other authors, create a program and offer it to libraries.

71. Offer to speak to book clubs at libraries and in schools.

72. Ask my spouse to keep my business cards with his and to hand out as appropriate.

73. Wear a pin made of my book cover to social events.

74. Made a donation to public radio and have four announcements about my book made in one day.

75. Contact all my local media with a story idea.

76. Apply to write a column for my local media.

77. Write articles for my trade publication.

78. Create a group of interested bloggers who will receive review copies of my book to start the buzz.

79. Attend local Chamber of Commerce activities and offer a program about my book.

80. Post information about my book on bulletin boards where I shop and exercise.

81. Promote my upcoming book signings with a flier for booksellers to drop in their outgoing purchase bags.

82. Put a contest in the back of my book—use it to collect more names/details about readers.

83. Offer character naming rights in a contest.

84. Offer character naming rights to a charity to be auctioned off.

85. Offer character naming rights to anyone who pre-orders my book through a local bookstore.

86. Have book club questions on my blog, and offer to be available by phone or online to clubs.

87. Take classes that are relevant to the topic of my book. Often bookmarks and business cards to other students.

88. Have a large poster made representing something of interest in my book. (In my case, a harlequin Great Dane) Take it along to book signings to spark conversation.

89. Offer to take other authors (from out of town) around to do signings. This helps me build professional relationships with both the author and booksellers.

90. Find a society or association that would be interested in some aspect of my book (Great Dane Rescue Society), and ask them to run an article about me.

91. Designate a day when a portion of all sales are donated to that society or association.

92. Teach Adult Ed classes that relate to my books.

93. Teach something online that relates to my books (I teach online scrapbook journaling.)

94. Send a mailing to your high school alumni list.

95. Send a mailing to your college alumni list.

96. Send postcards (over-run of your covers) to stores that should stock your books. (In my case that’s scrapbookers.)

97. Offer to sign books in local coffee shops or Starbucks.

98. Check out your state’s arts programs, especially the visiting author programs.

99. Offer to be the “author in residence” at a local high school.

100. If your family lives in another area of the country, ask them to help you set up a book signing there.

101. Ask people who read your blog to come up with 101 ideas for promoting their books. Tell them you’ll post them online.

Copyright © 2015 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571