By Steve Parr
Congratulations, you listened to that inner voice of yours and finally decided to write and publish your first book. Unless you were famous, you probably had to have it self-published. In today’s world a lot of first-time published authors will falsely rely upon social media and the promise of being available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble to sell your books.
Do not believe it.
First, know that over one million new books are published yearly in the United States. This is not a negative for you, a first-time author, to dwell on. It is, however, a reason for you to develop a target audience and begin to cultivate your target base.
Let the passion of why and what you wrote carry over to the next step of sustaining your activity as an author, by developing a marketing plan. Email addresses announcing your book and personal telephone calls letting friends and acquaintances know of your efforts should be a first activity.
Second, download all the independent bookstores located within a one to two-hour drive from where you live and on Saturday mornings visit the stores introducing yourself and your book to the owners.
Always carry a box of 10 to 20 copies of your book in the trunk of your car. Do not be shy even if you are a shy person by nature. (This is how John Grisham got started before he became a household name.)
1) Call the bookstore a few days before a Saturday morning when you’re available to drive and ask for the hours of operation;
2) Ask if the store carries your book genre;
3) Ask for the owner’s name and if he or she will be there on that date;
4) Be sure to visit the store on the date you were informed would be open to you, promptness sells!
5) Let the visit “introduction” of your book to the bookstore owner be as long or short as the owner dictates;
6) Leave a book with your author’s business card included;
7) Inquire about book signings, do they sponsor them?
8) If so, remember you will be responsible for drumming up local support for people to come to the date set for such a signing.
The more bookstores, libraries and clubs you visit or speak to, the more you will become known, plus the more articles, interviews and books you write will allow you to grow your audience. Remember emails and local telephone calls are the easiest and cheapest way to get started. Set a reasonable goal of one hundred books to sell for your first book.
Remember passion will inspire believing in yourself and your natural shyness to sell your book will fade as people will respond to a friendly voice and a friendly face. All the owners and all your friends know that you just want the minimum recognition for your efforts. Determine that you will write that second book before you start selling the first and you will get your mindset correct. You are an author, you have something special to say. Determine to enjoy meeting new people by phone, email, in person and enjoy the exposure.
Start now, do a little at a time. Give yourself a genre to market your first book. That could mean you have sent out over 500 emails, made 300 telephone calls, visited one hundred bookstores and had four to ten book signings. If you can do this, you would have done more than most people are willing to do, but you will have become a full-time author.
Congratulations on being a real professional!
Steve Parr is originally from North Little Rock, Arkansas and has called Memphis, Tennessee home for the past 38 years. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a major in business and East Asian history and earned an MBA from Emory University. He worked for Goldman Sachs for 18 years and has in past years been an entrepreneur, owning his own business. He has published one devotional book, the first in a series of five, written in Haiku poetry style. The other four will be published shortly.Steve is a prolific writer with an interest in narrative writing, memoir and short stories in addition to his devotional writing.