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Promoting a Self-Published Book
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Getting the Word out about a Book
Once you self-publish or use print-on-demand, you need to let book buyers know that it's available. Sure some people will happen upon it, but you'll sell a lot more if you work on promoting it. Here are some ways to promote that recently published book.
Most self-published authors don't have a paid publicist working for them, so they need to be innovative to get the word out on their own. The internet makes a great tool for spreading the word.
The recommendations below are all ones that I've used in promoting my mother's book, My Flint Hills childhood.
Best of luck to you with your book and reaching an audience of readers for it.
Cover of My Mom's Book
Places to Promote a Book Online - Examples Showing Book and Author Pages on Various Sites
- Example of Promoting a Book with The Examiner: Kansas childhood memories published on Blurb.com
An interview with Virginia Allain about helping her mother self-publish her memoir: My Flint Hills Childhood by Gail Lee Martin.
- Example of a Book Promotion on Hubpages: Loving Christy - A Book to Savor
Richardson Publishing is proud to announce the publication of Loving Christy, a novel by Kathy Joyce Glascott. Readers who like a contemporary novel are in for a treat.
More Ideas to Promote Your Self-Published Book
- Have your friends and family tuned in to promote your book. My mom even left a copy with her hairdresser to promote to customers who came in. Who knows how many sales that might generate.
- Be sure to set up the profile and bookstore at the print-on-demand site. Write a good blurb for the book, describe your credentials for the profile and put a good photo with it. This is what potential buyers see when coming to the online bookstore. Add tags and a category if that's offered.
If the site has a preview option, like blurb.com, then be sure you've checked the box for that feature to work.
- If the site offers a badge (or widget), follow their directions to place that on your blog, Facebook profile and other websites that you have.
Take advantage of any post-to-the-web links that the site offers, like Stumble upon, Digg, etc. If they don't offer these, you can find them on your own and plug in your book's web address to get more attention for it.
- Create an author's website where you can put contact information, and press releases. Make it clean looking, so readers can easily find the press release, the link to where to buy the book, and information about the author. I suggest having this separate from a blog, so it can be more focused.
Wordpress is one site where you can choose a format, add in your text, photos and links to create a professional looking site for free in just a few hours. I've included links to my sister's and mother's author websites that I created for them on Wordpress. That will give you some idea of this.
- Brainstorm and come up with a list of newspapers, magazines and websites that would find you and/or your book topic interesting. Write a press release to post on your author website. Send the press release to these media outlets. You can add and subtract paragraphs in the standard press release to tailor it to special audiences.
- Send lots of emails. Spam your friends. Well, try to be tactful about it, but do email them and exclaim about your excitement over finishing your book. Give them the link to preview the book or at least to see the cover. Try not to get too pushy about their buying a copy, but you do want to let them know about it. Do this via email, or regular mail.
- Contact local radio and television to see if they want to interview you about your book. Publishers send out review copies to media for nationally published authors. This is too expensive to do for a print-on-demand book. Use your press releases to generate media interest.
- Contact local clubs to see if they would like you to speak about your book or have an author reading. The local public library is a good site for a reading or book signing. Ask the librarian if they would want to host it.
- Take a copy of your book to show to local bookstores, museums and gift shops. They may take some on consignment to sell in their shop.
- Create video book trailers (sort of like a movie trailer). Upload it to YouTube and other video sharing sites. This is an exciting and new way to promote your book. Here are some tips on how to create a book trailer and some examples for you to watch.
Create Wearable Book Promotions - Be a Walking Billboard for Your Book
Order a t-shirt that says, "Ask me about my book." If possible, have the t-shirt show the book's cover. Have the webpage address where people can buy the book. Most important of all, show the title and author's name.
You can custom order t-shirts online (Vistaprint, CafePress, Zazzle) or get it done locally.
I would suggest contacting local community radio stations - they might have a smaller audience than the big ones, but their listeners are often more engaged in local news and culture.— Jen of Chicago
Get Some Good Photos of Yourself to Use with Press Releases Promoting Your Self-Published Book
Go through your existing photos and see what look appeals to you the most. I recommend getting a professional photo taken. Choose your clothing, hair style and background to project the look you want.
Photo of my mom, Gail Lee Martin, that we used for her book jacket.
How to Promote a Book Using the Internet
The world wide web provides a multitude of ways to boost a self-published book. Check out these articles to get started.
Amazon Has Some Advice for You (and they should know)
- Amazon.com: Get your book reviewed on Amazon and boost your sales
Tips from Amazon for getting reviews that help your book sales.
Example of a Book Promotion Using Smilebox
Post it on Facebook, on a Blog, or other Site
Smileboxes can also be e-mailed. They are slideshows where you add your photos and text to their appealing layouts. The one I'm showing below was e-mailed out to my mailing list in the autumn.
The slideshows have musical accompaniments. These are free but the viewer has to sit through an advertisement first. You can get a paid subscription to Smilebox that is ad free. Probably worthwhile if you are going to use this often and look professional.
Example of a Smilebox Promotion for a BookClick thumbnail to view full-size
How To Market, Sell, Distribute, And Promote Your Book: Critical, Hard-To-Find Information For Authors And Publishers
So, how do you get your book stocked into major bookstores? How do you get bookclubs to feature your book? These and other questions are answered in this book.
Is Your Book Published Yet?
Vote in the Poll
Talk About Your Book - Everywhere
Contact bookstores, libraries, museums and schools to arrange an author visit. It can be a book launch, a book signing, a meet-the-author or a reading from the book. Also contact clubs that might need a speaker or program for their group. Send press releases to radio and television stations and call them about the possibility of appearing on their media for an interview.
The Public Library Promoted Their Author Talk with a Lighted Sign
What a Thrill to See Your Name on the Billboard
I stopped by the public library to work out the details for my upcoming presentation. It gave me a real ego-boost to see my name on the marquee out front.
My talk is part of an author series that one of my writing group buddies arranged. She deserves a real pat on the back for thinking this up and pitching it to the library. Maybe I'd better take her out to lunch one day to show my appreciation.
My topic was "Self-Publishing Your Family Memories." It was a chance to show off two family books that I self-published using Blurb.com. That site is a print-on-demand publisher which means as people order one of the books, they print an individual copy and send it out to the person.
It works great as you don't need to print and pay for a batch up front and end up with boxes of unsold books in your basement. I bought a couple of copies to have available locally for people who aren't able to order online.
When you have a book signing or an author talk, be sure to have copies on hand for those impulse buyers. You can't count on them taking the time later to order the book. Catch the buyer while they are excited about the book.
Line Up Some Book Signings
- HOW TO GET BOOK SIGNINGS IN BOOKSTORES By Rickey Pittman
Bookstores are resistant to self-published books, so here is advice for getting those book signings.
- The Ultimate Book Signing Checklist for Authors - BookBaby Blog
A handy checklist to help an author prepare for a book signing event.
Send Photos and a Press Release to the Paper for Book Signings
Make It Available for Book Clubs - Create a Book Club Guide for Your Book
Tips for Creating a Book Club Guide for Your Book
Here are some examples of book club guides that I've created on Hubpages. Make a list of sample questions that the leader can use to get discussion started in the book club meeting.
Since many book clubs have refreshments or lunch, I include ideas and even recipes in the guide that coordinate with the theme of the book.
Note that many books include the guide in the back of the book. You can do both, have it online and inside the book.
Examples of Book Club Guides Created by Virginia Allain
- Half Broke Horses - Book Club Guide
Readers of Glass Castle learn about Jeannette's grandmother in this fictionalized biography. You'll meet a remarkable woman and learn about life in the early 1900s. A great book for the book club.
- Book Club Guide for My Flint Hills Childhood
Treat your book club to a homespun memoir that readers compare to Little House on the Prairie. Here are discussion questions and suggestions you can tailor for your group.
- In the Shadow of the Cathedral - Book Club Guide | hubpages
Looking for a fascinating memoir for your book club? This one opens discussions of WWII, Holland, and childhood memories. Take a look at the questions here to get a lively discussion going.
Example of a Facebook Fan Page to Promote a Book
Create a Facebook Fan Page
- Gail Lee Martin's Facebook Fan Page
Here's the page I created for my mother. It makes it easy to interact with fans.
Tips for an Author Page on Facebook
Facebook has Pages or Groups. I like the pages format for a book promotion site. You can make it for a single book or make it for the author. I prefer the author page. It's free to create one of these.
Post regularly, at least once a week, with some tidbit about the book or the author. It can be a link to a good review, news about book signings, insights into the author's life, a notice of a special sale price for the book, a reminder to buy copies of the book to give for Christmas gifts, etc.
A Facebook fan page is a good place to build enthusiasm for an upcoming book. Talk about your research or share small excerpts before the new book comes out.
© 2009 Virginia Allain