Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marketing Your Book or Shameless Self-Promotion

I had a book signing this past weekend at Amicalola Falls State Lodge. It was the first time I'd been at a book signing other than my book launches that I was the only author present. I have to tell you that it was a new experience for me. I had my table set up with my big sign of the cover of my book and had a nice display. Not many people were coming to the table so I finally decided to get up and go around introducing myself to tourists in the lobby. I would introduce myself, hand them a card and tell them what I wrote. I was amazed at the difference that made. People began coming over to the table and buying books. Some said they didn't know what I had and others said they thought I was with the lodge selling something.

It was a lesson I learned well and the next day I made a poster to announcing "Meet the Author" and taped it to the front of the table. I didn't waste time I started off by going around and introducing myself. It was a much better day. As one of my friends said in a post he wrote that you must shamelessly self-promote. How true that is. At the lodge they gave wildlife talks and one day it was about snakes. Here is a picture of me with one of the snakes. Also, I've posted the article on marketing by my friend Bryan Powell.

Photo: What some people will do to sell a book. Me holding black snake at Amicalola falls book signing.
So, you've written a book. Congratulations!book promo
Putting in the time and effort to write your thoughts is a great accomplishment. Greater still is publication.  Now you can sit back and watch the dollars come rolling in, right?
Besides the hard work of writing and editing, there is, The Business Side of Writing.
If you plan on selling your book there are several important aspects that must be taken into consideration: promotion, compensation and negotiation.
The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion
How do you get to be a New York best seller?
In a word—promotion; shameless, relentless, white-knuckled promotion.
It is a necessary part of the writing process. No matter how much you may hate public speaking, it is a necessary evil.
While much of today's focus is on cyber marketing, good old-fashioned public appearances are another important part of the mix.
Why do some writers succeed at this and some fail? The better question is; why do some of us persevere, and others give up? The answer is simple, there are those of us who will give anything to achieve our dreams, and there are others who will give anything to stay on the couch. Okay, so I’ve convinced you. Where do you begin?
Start With a Smart Strategy
The phone can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When I was in real-estate, my broker challenged me to make 100 calls a day and ask two simple questions: “Do you want to sell your house?” and “Do you know someone who wants to sell a house?”
I was chasing customers I know, but it worked. The last house I sold was a $400,000 home to a woman from Brazil.
I learned to get tough skin and make the calls, but in the book business, who do you call?
Reach Out
1. Start with your niche market. If your book is about gardening – call stores that deal with gardening. If it’s a cookbook  – call restaurants and sandwich shops. Ask if you could set up a display and talk to the customers about your book.
  • Know your market – learn where your book sells best. Christian books sell better in Christian environments.
  • Talk to people – when you are at an event. Don’t just sit behind the table. Stand as much as possible, greet the customers and talk about your books.
  • Link up with a local pregnancy crisis center, or the local chapter of a Cancer Society and have an event together. This will take planning and advertising.
  • Use your social media connections to promote your event. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter,,,,,,, to name a few.
2. Independent bookstores
  • Have a nice display and buy push-cards. Vista Print and are two places where you can get quality promotional material.
  • Have a poster displaying your book cover and hook.
3. Libraries. They love authors. Ask about literary or local author events.
4. Christian book stores and big-box book stores are the last targeted phone calls for retail stores. Invariably, they will charge 40% to sell your books on consignment. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in my next blog.
5. Fairs, Festival and Literary Events.
  • There may be a cost involved in this, but it will be worth it. Try sharing the cost with other authors.
  • Have plenty of cash on hand and learn to make changes.
  • Also, you will need to have a way to process credit card payments. I use Square, but Pay-pal also has a card reader.
6. For the fun of it, call independent living facilities. (Those are the ones where the residents control their own money). Have the activities coordinator to promote you as a local author coming to do a reading.
7. Call schools and ask to speak with the English/Language Arts teacher and see if you could be scheduled to come and speak to their class.
8. Become your own competition.
  • You may even post your book on Ebay and Craig’s List in order to boost your sales on a national scale.
  • When your book is listed with Amazon, they will under-cut your price by a sizable percentage. I went to Amazon and found how much they were selling my book for and under cut them
The take away of this is simple. If you want more than the satisfaction of having your book published, and I hope you do, then you must establish goals and a marketing plan. Work within your time and finances. Step out of your comfort zone and let’s sell some books.
Our contributor, Novelist Bryan M. Powell is also a composer/arranger with over eighty choral works to his credit. He now enjoys pursuing a career as a full-time writer. Some of his fifteen Faith-based “G” rated mystery novels have found their way into publication by Tate Publishing, Kindle Direct and Vabella Publishing. His website is


  1. Promoting for any product or service in a market is a form of art. If the promotion is done in a right way then lot of profit can be earned with any kind of business.
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