A Bit of Promotion After the Sale–Without Breaking Your Budget

I’m supposed to say something meaningful with my posts, but I often get distracted. Since I’ve been helping a friend find effective ways to promote her first book, could I share a few simple budget conscious promotional suggestions for new authors instead? These few things have worked for us, so maybe they could help others too. So here goes . . .

We had a bookstore pre-Hurricane Katrina and sponsored book signings, with television commercials that flashed the book covers. Cover recognition is key to selling your book when your name isn’t known–yet!

Not every store is willing to go that far; but you can do it rather inexpensively yourself. Television station commercial packages for filming and airtime are extremely cost prohibitive. But the same product can be achieved for shockingly less by using a local videographer. Just be sure to find one aware of industry standards! And if  they’re breaking into the business and needing an active portfolio to expand their client list, you can often get very superior product at a cut rate. Pay for your own air time through your local cable provider. Literally a few hundred dollars will get you a dozen 30 second spots a day for three or four days during prime viewing time. If it’s too much for one person, two or three authors get together, plan a book signing and split the costs. Arrange two book signings on the same day, morning and evening, and you double your dollar impact. Often local book stores will ante up if their name and address is flashed or mentioned. The first time may not produce spectacular results, but each time is better. It’s important to keep in mind you’re trying to set a solid snowball effect in motion. Remember: Even those who can’t attend a signing,  your book cover is now familiar to them and takes subconscious precedence over others they may see!

Something as simple as stopping by local bookstores (50 to 100 mile radius considered local)–or if you’re one of the lucky ones, Wal-Mart!–chat with the manager and volunteer to sign a few copies. That makes a new author memorable. Always a plus when they fill out the next order! Employees are quick to recommend someone they’ve met personally and was nice to them. If a customer is wavering between your book and another author’s, the salesperson’s enthusiasm about you ensures the sale. I’m amazed more new authors don’t take advantage of this–bookstores love it to the point they keep little “Autographed Copy”  stickers at the desk!

We even put together a package consisting of a portable television and a promotional DVD played on a loop at the site of a book signing a week or so prior to being there, and found it very effective. It not only makes your cover familiar, it lets the walk-in public know to come back while you’re there.

Also, contact your local news stations. The afternoon shows LOVE local boy/girl makes good stories. You can reach innumerable people in a single viewing area–and it’s FREE. I’ll warn you up front; don’t just email them to request an interview. An author who asked me for help with promotion complained that even after months of emailing, she hadn’t received the first response. (You have to remember these stations get thousands of emails a year. Make your approach more personal.) I told her take a copy of her book–with a hand written note respectfully expressing interest in an interview–to the station. Four days later she was on air. Personal contact is critical.

And for Pete’s sake, show your cover during the interview! Hold that bad boy up so the camera can’t miss it! Subtly tap the cover with a finger to draw the eye. Repeat the title! (Contact newspapers just as soon as your air time slot is set. Current event listings are free. So are newspaper interviews!)

Carry copies of your book with you! This same author had a copy with her at the doctor’s office. The doc himself pounced on it saying “I saw this on TV the other day! Where can I get it!?’ His entire office was excited, and talk traveled the waiting room. EVERYWHERE is a promotional opportunity. Just take care not to be offensive with it.

Meet with libraries; they order copies for their shelves. Blog judiciously. Visit book clubs; ten members is ten sales. If they like your book–and you!–there’s no telling how many copies will become Christmas gifts simply because they can mention they “met you in person.” Attend conferences. Volunteer to speak. Promote your website.

Remember; little things like these tend to snowball, pushing your sales numbers up. Just the effect any new author wants and needs!

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2 Responses

  1. what a nice blog..visit me..

  2. Runere- Thanks for the tips. I’ll be using some of them in the months ahead. Another grand ppost, as usual. Sorry I’m late reading it – at a conference in orlando.

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