A treature of success tips on selling your book.
Uncommon Book Promotion Tips
by Brenda Nixon
Getting your book published is only half the battle. Promoting and selling it is the other half. Even if a major publishing house publishes it, you’re still expected to promote, promote, promote. I’ve heard horror stories from authors who’ve discovered their precious “baby” was stockpiled in a distributor’s warehouse or the in-house publicist did little or nothing to schedule book signings. Whether you self-publish or go the traditional route, you must campaign for your book. A.A. Milne wisely observed, “Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.” Here are some maverick tips that have helped me on my first book, and ones I'll use with my upcoming title, The Birth to Five Book.
- Rubber Stamp. As soon as my book was published, I purchased a rubber stamp promoting it. Actually, I have two. One says, "New book takes terror out of raising tots; Parenting Power in The Early Years by Brenda Nixon, order toll free 877-421-7323." I brand every envelope that leaves my home or office with this stamp. Who knows who might read my book information while it’s passing through the postal system?
- E-mail Signature Line. At the end of your e-mail you can promote your book. It’s simple to go into your e-mail options and add a standard line – the signature – that will be attached to all outgoing messages. My signature line changes frequently, at present are these words: "Brenda Nixon, speaker, author of Parenting Power in the Early Years available on Amazon." Don’t let any daily opportunity to promote your book pass.
- Join Associations. Writer’s associations are mutually beneficial: you can learn to hone your craft plus network and promote your book. One that particularly applies to me is the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. There is also the National Association of Women Writers, rated as one of Writer’s Digest Top Ten "Best Sites." I’m a member of other professional associations and while it’s not my primary goal to promote my book, it happens and I’ve sold some through this venue.
- Marketing Sites. Scour the web for sites that give book promotion tips. One of my favorites is www.bookmarket.com - website of the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Here I can read success stories from other authors promoting their books and get new ideas for mine. Obviously AuthorsDen.com is another way to promote your book and learn about other authors and their works.
- Independent Reading. Authors are on a vertical learning curve about publicity. I recommend writers get Sally Stuart’s Guide to Getting Published. There’s some information on marketing in her book but, in my opinion, the bible of marketing is Carmen Leal’s You Can Market Your Book: All the Tools You Need to Sell your Published Book (2003, Write Now Publications). Carolyn HowardJohnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter, has practical promotional articles on AuthorsDen.com.
- Website Promotion. Publicize your book through your own website. Not only do I have a picture and order information on my book, but my website gives testimonials and a brief description. If you don’t have a website you can design one and register it at a reasonable price with www.GoDaddy.com. Because of deregulation you can register your domain name with any company now even if you previously registered with a particular provider. So shop around for the best service and price bargain. Also, promote your book through AuthorsDen.com.
- Chains Stores. If you’re self-published, you must have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Since most stores are computerized, an ISBN helps them order books and track sales. A self-published book without this number, is suicide. For books published through a traditional house where the ISBN is provided, there should be no trouble getting your book into the ordering system.
Now, getting the store manager or acquisitions person to order it is another challenge. My book, Parenting Power in The Early Years is on bn.com, the Barnes & Noble website. It can be in any Barnes & Noble store around the country. But walk into a store today, and you probably won’t find my book. I, or another customer, must personally request that it be ordered because Barnes & Noble doesn’t routinely stock it. I have the same experience at WalMart.com. Just remember, the almighty ISBN still does not guarantee stores will carry your book.
- Independent Stores. “One worthwhile publicity avenue that most authors and publishers miss is the world of independent bookstores,” says Fern Reiss. There are thousands of independent stores around the country, and it’s often easy to get them to buy your book. For example, one summer while on vacation, I walked into a pharmacy in a small Utah town. After visiting with the cashier (whose husband owned the store) about my book, she promptly purchased five copies. Although it is available through major distributors, such as Baker & Taylor and Spring Arbor, I always carry books in my car. In this instance, I was able to immediately fulfill her request.
Think of independent, uncommon locations where your book will be a good fit. My book is for parents-to-be and those with toddlers so I try to get hospital gift shops to carry it, along with daycares and churches. Recently, I was a counselor for my daughter’s youth camp. The camp offers a tiny gift shop, which serves all age camp programs. After describing my book’s topic to the gift shop manager she ordered some to sell during Family Camp. Do schools, non-profit associations, museums, health departments, travel agencies, or coffee shops need to know about your book too?
- Remainder Dealers. There are companies that purchase out-of-print books and overruns. They'll also buy high quality, self-published books from the author. One dealer is Ideal Books, 5670 Oaktree Ave., Hollywood, FL 33019; www.idealbks.com. Beware: you may only receive $.65 per book; so before you go this route, make sure you've expired all your promotional options.
I hope some of these tips are new to you. Perhaps some you know, but forgot or are not using. A virtue I practice in book promotion is persistence. Success is not a respecter of intelligence but of diligence.
Copyright©2003, rev. 2008, Brenda Nixon
Brenda Nixon ~ www.BrendaNixon.com, Speaker, Educator, Author of The Birth to Five Book, Parenting Power in the Early Years and Writers Who Speak, and media personality.