Publishers give promotion to their A-List authors which is kind of ironic because those at the top of the heap usually sell without much promotion.
Indie authors of ebooks and print know they need to get eyes on their book pages, but they are stumped as to how to drive traffic there. What's a writer to do when all your friends and relatives have already been arm-twisted into buying your book and you find there's no sales growth?
Ideas Brainstormed For A Friend
A while back, an older friend who had published his memoirs through Lulu asked me how he could sell more books. In a perfect world, you'd retain a professional publicist to put together a national campaign using radio, cable, network TV, magazines and newspapers along with Internet to generate publicity for your work. Of course, in a perfect world you'd be rich so paying for all this wouldn't be a problem.
For all of us who inhabit the real world and don't have thousands to pay for a PR campaign, here are some ideas I came up with for my friend based on what I've done. Some you've already heard. Some are old school, but they still work. Some may surprise you, but the most surprising thing is that they can work as well for indie authors as for legacy-published authors. In no particular order, here they are.
6 Book Promotion Tips
1. Have a website and/or a blog that looks professionally done even it it isn't. In today's ebook world, I don't even think a domain-named website with its static pages is a necessity the way it once was when one can have a blog with a domain name attached.
Blogs are more dynamic and can be updated much easier than websites. Whichever you have, make sure you have buy links to make it easy for visitors to buy your books. You can create separate book pages with cover images and a small photo of you the author along with reviews if you wish.
2. Spread your URL. Make sure your URL is on your email signature as well as on all print materials you use: business cards, letterhead, postcards, flyers, or other material to be mailed to libraries, bookstores, and fans. I print adhesive labels with my book title, a buy URL, my blog URL, and a line from a review. Then I stick one of these on every envelope that leaves my office: bills, letters, cards, promotion materials, etc.
3. Purchase an up-to-date media guide either in hard copy or an online subscription. Use this to target print media as well as radio, television (traditional and Internet) shows that book authors. Media guides can be expensive so see if you can find like-minded individuals and make it a co-op purchase to share the expense and the resource.
4. Send press releases to your local newspapers, press kits to local radio and television, and email press releases online. (In the past, I've blogged about how to do this and will cover maintaining a digital press release in the near future.)
5. Send review copies to credible reviewers and ask readers who praise you in fan mail or in person or bloggers you know who review to post reviews online. Use these reviews in your print materials and in your online promotion.
6. Be a local author. Every book has a geographical setting whether New York, Houston, or Small Town USA? Brainstorm ideas that you can use to gain publicity based on the local author angle. Often, it's easier in small localities to gain publicity than in large cities.
Ideas used by the big guys can also be used by the little guys, and they're usually very effective.