Book Marketing Takes Creativeness, Courage and Persistence

Your book has just come out and now it’s time to rev up your marketing engine. You arrange for book launches, talks, and workshops. Each event is noted on our calendar. Now you hope people will come. What will you do it they don’t?

Recently I gave a talk about caregiving to a local group. I worked hard on the key points and created handouts. The organization publicized the talk in two newsletters. On the day of the talk I loaded up the car and arrived early. A meeting was in progress at the time and I had to wait for the room. Dozens of people filed out, and I hoped dozens of people would come to my talk.

Only three people came. When I returned home I wondered what was missing from the publicity, and finally figured it out.

First, my talk didn’t have a “grabber” title. In fact, the title could intimidate some people, so I changed the title immediately. Although the talk was noted in newsletters, the notice was confusing. It included a short description that I wrote, and a sentence about meeting and greeting the author afterwards. But the notice didn’t say I was a local author or had two new books.

In short, the meet the author sentence made no sense.

Still, giving the talk was worth my time. Two hours before my talk I received a call from a local television station. Could a reporter come to my talk and film me? I agreed to this and the reporter arrived early, filmed me while I was giving my talk, and interviewed me afterwards. I stayed up to watch the segment on the 10 o’clock evening news. I think the people who came to my talk benefited from it.

This experience taught me, yet again, that book marketing takes time and planning. If you haven’t created a marketing plan for your book, I urge you to do now. Brainstorm on community organizations that might be interested in the book. Consider sequencing. What is a good beginning for your campaign? Think of ways to link your book to current news. I contacted the publisher of a local magazine. The magazine is publishing an article about me and working with a local winery on a series to feature local writers.

Create supporting materials. I paid a designer to create a bookmark and he did an outstanding job. My publisher’s graphic designer made a flyer to support my book series. Print out copies of the publisher’s information sheet. Even though they cost more, colored copies are best. You may wish to redesign your business card. Updating your author photo is also a good idea.

My publisher asked me to start an author publicity list–newspaper articles, magazine articles, radio and television appearances–and post it on my website. There is a blog tab on my website and I need to write more articles for it. All of the cited steps will help you get the word out about your book or books.

Like writing itself, book marketing is an ongoing pursuit, a journey that leads you to new businesses, new contacts, and new readers.