Seeking good marketing ideas, but don’t know where to start? Living on a fixed income or shoestring budget? The recent recession has knocked many authors on their butt, so to speak. However, in these tough economic times there is still hope for the little known author. Even if you are self-published, there are various methods you can use to get your book into the hands of a waiting audience.
The actual marketing process begins when you are writing the book, first in your head, then on paper. As an author, you must have a target audience. Think about who you are writing the book for, men or women or both, youth, or children. Depending on the book’s subject matter, it may appeal to a multiple group. For example, relationship books and romance novels, cookbooks and romantic short story collections would most likely appeal to both men and women, as well as young adults. Whereas, color illustrated fairy tale books would be more suitable for young children.
Following are some of the methods authors can use to make the public aware of your published book. As a self-published author, one of the first steps I took was to prepare descriptive fliers. I would then distribute these fliers to various locations such as libraries, bookstores, restaurants and coffeehouses, in short, any location that attracts readers. Most recently, I have found descriptive post cards to be even more effective. Distributing your ads in the right locations is very important, taking advantage of any and all networking opportunities.
Authors must keep in mind that these days, everyone is a writer (actors and actresses, politicians, teachers, and social activists, to name a very few), so there is keen competition. So, as an author, you must be able to rise above this competition by being as creative with your ads as possible. In order to appeal to the average reader, you must put your best foot forward.
The next step involves sending a proposal letter or request to Library Directors or Bookstore Managers regarding an Author signing at their location. Once your proposal is accepted, invite friends, family members and associates to the event. Plan your event well, starting with a welcome address, then a short intro and bio, distributing ad fliers or cards, providing a short discussion, offering discounts and freebies, and of course don’t forget the Autograph. Authors should always maintain a Guests list with contact information, so you can get in touch with your guests at a later date. You might also offer your guests free gift wrapping. (I know an Author who has done this). Author Signings or Booksignings provide a great networking opportunity. If your event sales do not reflect the effort you put forth, you can always request a consignment agreement with the Bookstore. And, sometimes libraries and bookstores will buy your books directly.
There are also many less affordable options, including, paying for television and radio spots, and bus ads. Or authors can have a video ad taken of them and their book. While these options may work for some authors, as I said they are less affordable. However, if authors are able to come up with the necessary funds, these ads are excellent marketing tools.
Last, but definitely not least, the Internet can prove to be an invaluable resource. Use of the internet allows you to reach a larger audience with just one single message. By all means send ad attachments, if necessary along with your message to your intended buyers. And, in most recent years, blogs have become increasingly more popular. Blogging allows authors so many marketing options, including reaching a much wider audience, as well as being able to interact with them.
It has been my experience that ad distribution and signings are much less expensive than blogging. However, many authors would beg to differ with me. My take on blogging is, if you can find a friend who will offer a low set-up rate, as well as low cost maintenance, then blogging may be the way to go.