We have collated ideas emailed to us by a large number of authors. Most of them are practical and affordable. We have one thing to add: make sure your content is as good as you can make it. Edit, proofread, then edit and proofread again. Have other people read your work and at least consider their criticisms and suggestions. The job of selling your book will be made much easier if contains good, clean prose and solid, well-researched content. If you expect people to pay money for your book, put in the work and make them happy with their purchase.
The reality is that it is up to you to promote your own work. After all, no one cares more about it than you. How well it sells will depend on how hard you're willing to work at promoting it. The first couple of months are the most crucial before the buzz inevitably wears out. I think you should try anything you can think of (within reason and with respect for your integrity as a writer in mind).
Steve Jovanoski, author of The Brotherhood
- A book launch – potential to hold one in more than one state.
- Many authors expressed a degree of skepticism regarding book launches, but if you can keep your costs down and know your audience are book-buying types, then have at it.
- Business cards – business business cards with the jacket design and blurb on the back (including website and email contacts). ‘Hand out like chocolates.’
- Send promotional copies out to media, newspapers and bookstores.
- Send an email to local and major newspapers such as The Age with a Media Release.
- Create a media release – email out to newspaper editors.
- Create a Sell Sheet and pass it on to bookstores.
- Hand out the jacket as ads (the ones printed with the books)
- Give something extra for free – a bookmark, for example and give one with each book.
- Organise people to review your book and put reviews online to access online traffic. Use any reviews from the publisher.
- Use Facebook as a promotional tool (create a ‘page’).
- Create a website dedicated to your book (refer readers to this in your book. Also make sure you include an electronic signature with a link to your website at the bottom of every email you send out).
- Try to get your book reviewed on online sites
- http://www.authorsden.com/ a website uniting authors and readers is good way to get your book out there.
- Promote your book via free ebooks at:
- travel magazines
- Blogging – Go to a workshop on blogging to familiarise yourself and learn more. Have a niche and promote the blog with an appropriate name that describes the niche – necessary in promotional connections and ideas for private and small-run authors. A somewhat comparable idea is in the blog www.ebookish.com.au
- Approach libraries, promote the book to them and line up author talks – always produce some A5 flyers to advertise the event before hand and to give to people who show interest but don’t purchase at that time. They will come back later.
- Offer to do single session activities at local libraries with relevant audience.
- Some libraries display copies for sale – ask about this.
- Donate copies to your work library.
- Create a postcard using the adhesive addresses of public libraries from state and local libraries. But if you use the whole cover, the Post office will charge you $1.20 per postcard. If you cut the card in half, to use the front cover illustration, you can get away with 60 c per card. And it is still a big card.
- I found that librarians rarely responded to the written word. It seems that those doing the ordering are young, and live on the email, so once I began to email the librarian responsible for the ordering at libraries all over Australia, I got very positive responses. It also helps to stress if a bit of Australian history is involved, as that is seen as desirable.
- Walk around the city/country promoting book. The shop managers are sometimes surprisingly receptive.
- Have meetings with bookstore managers and organise presentations.
Television, Radio and Newspapers
- Write to all major newspapers/magazines requesting reviews, including Children’s Book Council magazine if it’s a children’s book.
- Issue press releases to local papers (with a photo) for every event you attend.
- Invest in an advertising banner for any ‘in-person’ event. You need to stand out in the crowd.
- Try to organise radio station interviews.
- Send radio copies for possible review.
- Try to arrange articles with newspapers specific to your book.
- Donate books for competition prizes specificly orientated towards literary style articles in magazines or newspapers.
- Offer your novel as a prize in local newspaper competitions.
- Contact TV shows like channel 31’s TV show “Shelf Life”
- Write a short sentence describing your book and memorise this. It is helpful if you can confidently explain the book, when asked.
- Know who your target market is and devise a marketing plan to capture that market. For example the target market for Australian Historical fiction (1938-1942) would generally be readers 50 and over. These readers identify with the period in which the book is set and it evokes memories. They will buy a copy for their parents but will read it themselves as well. To a certain extent the genre of the book dictates suitability of market targets.
- If you are comfortable with public speaking, write to Lions, Rotary, Probus and any other groups that might be interested in hearing about your book. You will sell copies at these events.
- Try to have a corporate journalist interview you for an article – Intranets at workplaces could be possible avenue – large user coverage.
- Interact with other authors – cross promotion – interview the authors and link on your website.
- Meet with literacy groups and promote it to the audience.
- Display ads in city coffee shops or on information boards.
- Enter all major competitions e.g. premier awards and awards fitting that genre. This is a longshot but provides free publicity for your book.
- Offer to be a guest speaker at local clubs and distribute your covers.