Congratulation on your new book! After months and months (sometimes years and years), you’ve released your baby into the great wide unknown. It’s like sending your four-year-old off to preschool, isn’t it? Well, pat yourself on the back and breathe a big, heavy sigh of relief. Done?
Okay, now the REAL work begins.
Carefully remove your author hat and replace it with your marketing hat. Nobody cares more about your book than you do, and even though it is undoubtedly the most brilliant work of literature to ever hit the globe, no one will know about it unless you tell them.
I’m sure you already have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a website, among others. You are the king/queen of social media and all your friends and family already know about your book. What do you do now?
1) Write a press release. Google “Press Release” for formats to write your very own release. In general, write it in third person, like you’re delivering a news report. Capture your audience in your first sentence. “Local Man Hits Home Run with First Novel About Baseball.” Your release should tell Why, Where, Who, What, and How. “John Doe of Detroit, Michigan released his first novel, “Baseball,” to rave reviews.” Continue with reasons why anyone should be interested in this. If you can, include what other important people have to say about it. Keep it to 500 words or less. Finish with where the reader can buy it, where you’re speaking next week, and conclude with your contact information. The last thing to type is ###, which ends the release. Have someone proofread it for you!!! Step one: Google your local newspapers and magazines and send it to the editors. Step two: Find magazines and trade journals that deal in your topic and send it to them. Step three: Don’t neglect big bloggers. Find ones that are in your genre. (You can set up a Google Alert and will be notified by email if your topic appears anywhere on the Internet. Then you can see if your press release was ever actually released by the people you sent it to. Google “Setting up a Google Alert” to find out how to do this.) Finally, Step four: Send it to iReach at PR Newswire. It will cost between $129-$399, depending on who you want it to be available to. It is not cheap, and there are no guarantees, but if someone picks it up, you’re in!
2) Direct Mail Marketing. Mail a postcard or a bookmark. You can buy occupant lists (Google “mailing list”) in a specific area, but if you’re not going to use it over and over, it is pretty expensive. You’d be better off finding lists of people who belong to groups that may be interested in your topic. Decide, based on your book, if you want to mail only to women or Harley riders or baseball fans. Yes, stamps are expensive, but if your postcard is attractive, you should see a healthy return on your investment. Generally, about 2-3 of 100 recipients will act on a postcard offer, so do the math before you invest in the stamps. If you’d like to hit every house in a city, Google “direct mail companies” and find one around you. They will print the postcards and mail them, so you have to do nothing!
3) Newsletter. If you have a list of email addresses, you can set up a FREE email newsletter on Mailchimp. If your newsletter is going out to less than 2,000 recipients, it’s free. Remember, any unsolicited mail is spam, so you might want to mention in your newsletter that you’ve personally included your family and friends in the mailing and they can unsubscribe if they choose to do so. Note: Only about half of your list will actually open the newsletter. The others end up in their spam folder.
4) Personal Appearances. If your book is specialized, you can visit places that are related to your specialty. If your book is about baseball, try the local Little League fundraiser. If it’s about animals, try the local shelter. If it’s about history, try a historical site. If it’s a cookbook, try the local grocery store. If your book is general fiction, try your local book club or library. Towns love local writers. Don’t stop with the town you currently live in. Try the town you grew up in and/or the town your book takes place in. You can introduce yourself with a professional brochure. Make one at Vista Print.
5) If you have a travel budget and vacation time from work, try Trade Shows. There are numerous book festivals and trade shows in every state, every year. And don’t forget summer festivals. If your book takes place at a certain time in history, try the historical festivals – Civil War Musters, Renaissance Festivals, the list is endless. Use those previously made brochures to introduce yourself, and you might want to get some posters made to hang at trade shows. Vista Print makes posters, also.
Write down a list of anyone and everyone who might be interested in your topic, genre, era, and get busy finding ways to let them know about your book. Keep in mind, you have to tell someone to buy something three times before they actually buy it. Tell them you’re going to tell them, then tell them you’re telling them, then tell them you told them. Mail a brochure, stop by to chat, call them to follow up.
Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.