Here are some tips I've found useful for marketing my book in the Appalachian Region.
So, you’ve written a book about the Appalachian Region and had it published by a print-on-demand publisher. Now it’s time to get away from staring at your computer screen, put on some of those not-so-comfortable clothes hanging in your closet, and sell the product you’ve labored over for months— perhaps years— for others to enjoy. It won’t be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but with a bit of creativity and perseverance, you’ll be getting the hang of it in no time at all.
There are twenty-three million people in the 410 counties of the Appalachian Region. What other group in America has an audience that size? And millions of them are eager to hear stories about their own kind of people. So, here are a few tips to get you started.
First, there are thousands of public libraries within Appalachia. Find a list of them on the web at http://www.publiclibraries.com/. Contact their directors by email, and ask them to purchase your book. Not all of them will take the bait, but many will. I've even contacted library directors within my own state by phone. It's harder for them to say, "No," to a real person than it is to say it in an email or just delete it altogether.
Next, contact http://www.hcity.com/directory_of_library.html#AL for a listing of all the academic library directors in Appalachia. They are always looking for new books by Appalachian authors as well.
Contact the sociology and anthropology departments of colleges and universities in Appalachia, as well as the chairman of the Appalachian Studies Department to see if they are offering outside readings for their classes. They may be interested in yours for each of their students during a semester course.
A fourth method of finding potential buyers is by setting up a booth at state and county fairs and festivals. Thousands are held from late spring through early fall in the Appalachian Region. Those attending the fall festivities are beginning to look for Christmas gifts, and a signed book is the perfect present to open on Christmas morning.
The fifth and final method I have to offer is to research the web for a variety of other Appalachian sites. Most of them contain guest books to view and sign. Be sure to say something nice about their site, tell them about your book, and then sign their guest book and give your email and website addresses so others can contact you directly.
These are but a few ideas to get you started. I’ll be back for more tips at a later date.
© 2006 by David Lee Thompson