By Suzanne Woods Fisher
I started small. My first novel was published by a small royalty press publisher. That little book won some awards, which caught the eye of an agent, who introduced me to an editor at Revell Books. Now, thirty books later, I’m profoundly grateful for that small start, and I encourage aspiring authors to consider starting small. It’s where I learned about marketing and promotion, and how I developed perseverance and resiliency. Book by book, here are the best ten tips I learned:
1) Ask your blog readers/friends/family to "suggest a purchase" of your book at their local public library.
2) Offer promotional postcards and bookmarks in your newsletter. (You have a newsletter, right?) Invite friends and readers to send out stamped postcards (you provide stamps and postcards) to their reader-friends.
3) Call your local bookstores and ask if they might do a book signing. Then offer to help publicize on your blog/website/FB/Twitter by sending out info to your local following.
4) How’s your website looking? A little outdated? Or amateurish? If you’re using your church directory photo for your professional pix, it’s time to upgrade. Consider spending some money in a polished, easy-to-navigate website and customized blog. This kind of “branding yourself” investment pays off.
5) Consider hosting a “book launch party” to help kick off the buzz. Some authors do a local launch party and invite friends and family. Others do a virtual party, on-line, through Facebook. Again, you might need to invest some of your advance money, but the pay-off is substantial.
6) On your website, offer to attend book clubs that read your book—in person, if they’re local, via speaker phone or Skype if they’re not. A nice touch is to send some bookmarks or gourmet chocolates or a cookbook or some kind of inexpensive prize to the hostess.
7) Offer to send signed bookplates and bookmarks to interested fans.
8) Contact local writers’ groups and introduce yourself. Offer to speak about your book, or about your journey to publication. Even if their calendar might be scheduled out for a while, you’re on their radar. Usually, you can sell your books after the event.
9) Don’t underestimate consignment sales of your book in unexpected places. Consider retail shops or outlets that have some kind of connection to your book (a World War II museum shop for war novels, a hotel gift shop for a regional book). Offer consignment: usually a 60/40 arrangement. It’s no risk to the retailer and targets your readership. You provide the books from your author inventory and you’ll receive a check from the retailer after the books sell.
10) Anytime (anywhere--even on vacation) you pass a bookstore, stop in and introduce yourself. Offer to sign your in-stock books. (Ask first!) The bookstore often puts an “Autographed By” sticker on the books, which can help it sell.
Little by little, these tips add up to bring exposure to your new book, and a lasting connection to you!
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including Mending Fences, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher. Social Media Handles: Facebook www.facebook.com/SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor
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