Today I am delighted to welcome Elizabeth Spann-Craig and her tips for book promotion! Be sure to follow the link below for her latest book, Finger Lickin' Dead.
Book Promo—Both Traditional and 21st Century Methods-- by Elizabeth S. Craig
But there’s really a marketing approach for everyone. And there’s both a traditional way to promote a book, and a more modern approach via social media.
Traditional Book Marketing:
Postcards: I know several authors who really use postcards to their advantage. They do an amazing job sending postcards to book clubs in the area (this is a list built up over years), a reader mailing list (readers who, obviously, asked to receive promo material for new releases), and independent bookstores. I’ve sent them, myself, to libraries’acquisitions departments to ask if they could order my books.
If you’re sending your postcards to bookstores and libraries, be sure to mail out early. Most places do their ordering months ahead of a release. Postcards should have your name, the book’s name, the publisher’s name, the ISBN number, the price of the book, the release date, book cover, and—if possible—a short review snippet if you’ve gotten one.
For a listing of libraries, go to WorldCat.org, which searches libraries for content worldwide. You just plug in your book’s name, hit the search button, and find the results. For a listing of public libraries, go to Public Libraries.com. You’ll get physical addresses, phone numbers, and websites (from which you can get the library’s email address).
Bookmarks: Bookmarks are very useful promotional tools for handing out at signings or leaving at bookstores or libraries (ask first). You can either design your own on Microsoft Publisher (which comes with Microsoft Office) and have a copy shop print and laminate them, or you can use an online printer like Iconix or Print Place.
Signings: Signings are my least-favorite way to promote my book, I’ll admit. But you can definitely increase your sales during signings by a few different approaches. First, you shouldn’t sit at the little table that the store provides you—stand next to it, instead. Next, don’t wait for folks to approach you (that could take a while.) Ask the store’s patrons if they’d like a bookmark and hand them out as they come in the store. Most of them will ask, “Is this your book?” You should also consider having a bowl of candy on your table to entice people closer to your table.
Panels/Lectures: Talking on a panel or being a guest lecturer at a library is an easy way to promote your book. Usually I try not to travel too far for these events, or else the costs outweigh the benefits. After your talk, the event hosts will usually have a table set up where you can sell books. Shy about speaking or not sure how to prepare? Diane had some fabulous tips about preparing for a speaking engagement recently on the Marketing Tips for Authors blog.
21st Century Book Marketing:
Twitter: I’m definitely a fan of Twitter. Not only are there a lot of writers there, there are booksellers, librarians, and book bloggers who tweet. It’s a great place to make connections…and no, it’s really not about what you ate for breakfast that morning. You could start out by just tweeting three times a day—once to tweet an industry-related news story (like a GalleyCat post), once to re-tweet a friend’s blog post or tweet, and once to call attention to your last blog post.
Facebook/Goodreads: Facebook is a great way to make connections. Not only is it a good place to engage casually with other writers, readers have lately seemed to really flock to the application. It’s the best tool for interacting and developing a relationship with your readers. If you’re interested in posting a giveaway for your new release (which is a great way to get the word out), you should think about using Goodreads as a host, since Facebook’s new rules ban mentioning contests on the site.
Blogging/Blog Tours: Book tours are expensive, but other than the cost of your internet connection, blog tours are free! I love blog tours. You get a chance to interact with a different group of readers, the blog host gets a chance to take a short break, and your book’s hits on Google go up. It’s important to be organized with blog tours—know where you’re supposed to be and confirm it with the host a couple of times. Be sure to check in with comments during the day. You’ll want the tour to be long enough to be noticed, but not so long that blog tour fatigue sets in (for you and your readers.)
Book Trailers: This is an area that I haven’t explored personally, but I know several people who have gotten a lot of extra exposure through their book trailers. Jane Friedman hosted Darcy Pattison on her blog and Darcy had some fantastic tips about using trailers effectively.
Have you launched a book? What worked for you? Or, what have you seen other writers do with promo that you thought worked well?
Bio: Elizabeth’s latest book Finger Lickin’ Dead released June 7th. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.
Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers
Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers