A little known side effect of getting your book publishing is having to learn how to market yourself as an author, as well as selling your book. Publicists have limited time and budget when it comes to promotion, especially for a new author. A successful author is also a sales person, an accountant, an administration officer, a graphic designer and a self-promotion guru.
As an author marketing your book locally, it is definitely a case of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Use the contacts you already have, such as your children, grandchildren or friends schools to get your first storytelling visits. Ask for a minimal fee or do it free until you feel you are giving them value for money and always ask for the opportunity to sell you books by pre-order or post-order form and on the day.
Create your own book launch until your name is known or ask to be included in events that suit your book and marketing plan. Local women’s groups, seniors groups and interest groups that your book relates to are often happy to have you set up a trade table in exchange for the cost of admission and a lucky door prize. Have a short speech prepared in case you are asked to say something about yourself and your journey to getting your book published. Your local council website will list events in your area that you may be able to participate in.
Approach your local book store and library as they will already have time set aside for story telling and are always in need of new people and new books. Libraries also have rooms that are available to hire for your book launch or event. Your aim is to draw a crowd, and book stores love a captive audience. Have a photographer friend take photos and offer them to the book store to put on their website.
Make sure you book are booked up with events that fit your individual schedule for 4 weeks in advance, to give you enough time to get new engagements if some cancel. Don’t take on more than you can handle and always be professional, when it comes to your marketing material, your phone manner and what you wear on the day. If your book has a theme, kids love dress ups and interactive play, so let your imagination run wild!
Register for writer’s festivals and conferences to learn from others about how they market their book, as well as making friendships with other local authors and illustrators. Join local Writers Groups and Member organisations that allow members to promote their book and book launch on their facebook, newsletter and website at little or no cost. Network with other authors, illustrators and publishers via facebook, LinkedIn, an author fan page or a website. Remember that if you can help others, they may be in a position to help you in return.
The biggest hurdle new author’s face in marketing their book is their own inhibitions. Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst thing they can say is “no”.
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