These days, the burden of book promotion rests squarely on the author, especially indie authors, but even traditionally published authors have to pull their weight to sell books.
Well—they don’t. You’ll need to be the one to step up your book promotion game.
I’m afraid that once a bookstore stocks your book on their shelves that is about it. Then it is up to us authors and publishers to drive readers INTO the store, UP TO the shelf, OVER to the cash register, and OUT the door.
But don’t despair (you’ve managed to get your book onto that competitive real estate, so the battle is half-won). There are lots of ways you can work with bookstores and bookstore employees to promote your book while it is there.
For most stores, shelf space is expensive and every inch has to be used for books that sell and make the store money. That is the shelf’s job. So if your book can help make money for the store, they will keep ordering it and sending YOU those lovely checks.
So what do you say? Are you ready to PARTNER with your bookstores to help everyone make money? If the book sells, the store makes money and you do as well. It is time to work together to make your book a success.
Book Promotion Ideas That Work
1. Children’s Book Authors – Offer your book as a suggestion for the store’s STORY TIME. You can send coloring sheets, word searches, and stickers in a kit to the store. If your book is chosen, the store will order a few copies and an employee or volunteer will read the book to a captive group of kids. Free display, great promotion and you don’t even have to be there!
2. How-To Authors – Do a workshop. Signings are boring. Authors end up sitting behind a card table for hours while shoppers desperately avoid eye contact. You can do better… Come up with a workshop idea, create a few worksheets and start promoting the event on community calendars and in the local press. Tell the store that you will have an assistant (daughter, friend, etc.) help you so that they know that they don’t have to add staff for the event. Your book will be on display for weeks before hand and after and will most likely end up in their newsletter and online. This is HUGE promotion for one evening's work. And the workshop might get you clients and some much-needed press!
3. Always Have a Case of Books in Your Trunk. - Every bookstore you drive by deserves a stop. Walk in with your book, ask for the book department supervisor, introduce yourself and hand over the book. (Yes, free) Explain that you are an author and you wanted your book to go to a bookstore employee who might enjoy it. Would they be willing to share it with their fellow employees? Quite often, this simple act turns into a book being featured on a “Staff Recommends” shelf or table.
4. Fiction Authors – Run a contest with a store to give away books on the radio. Call up a local radio station and ask if they would like to participate in a giveaway such as “Be the 9th caller…” Partnering with a store to give away books and mentioning the contest is sponsored by the store and the author is GREAT PR and a way to drive sales for very little money.
5. Cookbook & Health Authors - Do a tasting at the store. Bring in a treat from your book and host a party with food. (Who doesn’t love food?) You can work in a brief talk about your topic that is repeated every 15 minutes. Share your tidbits of wisdom while you share your tidbits of food.
6. Book Club Events - Start hosting a book club mixer. Invite book clubs from all over the city/region to stop by at a particular time and place for a glass of wine and cheese and to meet new people. Book club members are usually fun, friendly, and outgoing. Use their love of books (and their notorious love of wine) to attract readers to your event each month. Give the book club leader of each group a wrapped book as a thank you for attending.
These ideas have been tested by my clients over the last few months and they all reported that they resulted in sales for the authors. What book promotion ideas do YOU have to attract readers to the store where they can buy your book?
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