Tips on marketing your self-published book
Published: December 7, 2009
|Dorothy Stephens, a freelance writer from Marblehead, Mass., self-published Kwa Heri Means Goodbye: Memories of Kenya 1957-1959 in 2006 and shared her story about the process in "One writer's self-publishing journey, bumps and all." Here, she shares the book-marketing tips she learned along the way:|
• Set up a Web site before the book comes out, and add an events calendar that you update regularly once you start to schedule signings and readings.
• Attend writers conferences and workshops. Make contacts with other writers who might be willing to endorse your book. Send galleys or a copy of the finished manuscript to these contacts and to anyone else in the writing and publishing field whom you know or have ever known, and ask for their endorsements. Don't be shy. They will rarely say no.
• As soon as you receive your first shipment of books, send out a press release and review copies to newspaper and magazine editors in your area, to local radio and TV stations, and to the American Library Association. (I neglected to do any of this, and should have.) For tips on writing a press release, search "press releases" on the Internet.
• Visit bookstores armed with your business cards, copies of your book, and "sell sheets" that provide a brief description of what the book is about, your contact information, and where the book can be ordered (on the Internet and through book distributors). Include the book's publisher, ISBN number, and price. (I should have visited more bookstores in a wider area to request signings instead of limiting myself to those in my own and surrounding towns.) Again, if you need information on "sell sheets," search the term on the Internet.
• ALWAYS have a box of a dozen or so books in your car just in case a bookstore manager or anyone else wants a copy (or copies). It is also a good idea to take along, wherever you go, a supply of brochures, post cards, or bookmarks about your book that you can hand out. You can either have these made commercially or use software to do them yourself on your computer.
• Visit as many libraries as you can. Be sure to call first and make an appointment with whoever schedules book talks, readings and signings. If it is inconvenient to make personal visits, contact the librarians over the phone. All public libraries have Web sites that give their phone numbers and addresses.
• Look for other places to sign, read or talk about your book, such as book clubs, arts festivals, holiday fairs, gift shops, retirement communities, church groups, and high school and college classes. Bookstore managers can be a good source for identifying local book clubs to contact for talks and readings.
• Join a local or regional independent-publishers organization. I belong to the Independent Publishers of New England. Other organizations around the country include the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association, the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, the Florida Publishers Association, the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, and so on. (Find them on the Internet.) You can also join the Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly PMA), a national organization that runs the annual PMA Publishers University with classes on marketing for independent publishers. Fees are reasonable, as volunteers staff many of these organizations and their events, like book shows, fairs and expos.
• Finally, you might want to check the Internet for the many new POD companies that have appeared in the past three years since I published my book. Many have competitive pricing and offer advantages that iUniverse and other older POD companies do not.
--Posted Dec. 7, 2009