Guest Post: Brent Sampson from Outskirts Press

Brent Sampson is the president and CEO of Outskirts Press, offering self-publishing, marketing, and distribution services.  He’s also the best-selling author of Sell Your Book on Amazon (to be reviewed here soon), Self-Publishing Simplified, and Adventures in Publishing.  Brent says, “Outskirts Press has helped thousands of authors realize their dreams of publishing profitably and is the third fastest growing privately-held company in Colorado.”

31 Self Publishing Tips for Small Press Month

Since March is Small Press Month, this is the month to promote your self-published book! With that in mind, here are 31 ways you can market & promote your book during Small Press Month, one for each day of March. Time to get started!

Mar 1 – If you do not have enough author’s copies on hand, contact your publisher and order more so they arrive in enough time to pursue these other tips throughout the month. Every day represents a new opportunity and you always want to have books on-hand.

Mar 2 – Contact other independent published authors in your area (through local associations you may belong to) and combine your resources to fully exploit the opportunities during this month. There’s a lot to do, and four hands are better than two. The Internet is full of sites, forums, and chat rooms where authors congregate.

Mar 3 – Contact your local bookstores and suggest they offer discounts on Small Press books. Bring in your book and offer it to them at a higher discount than usual to get them started. Show them the rest of this calendar as a way of indicating your commitment to making Small Press Month successful for them.  Remember, always pitch with WIIFM in mind.  “What’s in it for me?”  That’s what the bookstore retailer is thinking. Answer that question for him, then offer to leave a free copy of your book along with a sales sheet.

Mar 4 – Contact your local newspapers and inform them of Small Press Month (in case they don’t know about it). Suggest they write a small article or events calendar for Small Press events in the area. Tell them you will be sending them a press release on the 5th.

Mar 5 – Send a press release to the local media (newspapers, radio, television) mentioning Small Press Month and your independently published book. (If you secured some events, mention them in the release. This also demonstrates to the media that you can commit to a delivery and follow-thru, which will increase their confidence in relying upon you in the future.

Mar 6 – Follow-up on your press release from yesterday with the local media via telephone. Reiterate Small Press Month, your planned events in the community, and your book. Offer to compose a review that they can use as a foundation. (Less work for them).

Mar 7 – If you haven’t yet published your book, today is the day to start. “Top 10 Self Publishing Firms” by Stacie Vander Pol is a good resource to start with.

Mar 8 – Contact your local libraries and suggest they feature Small Press titles, including yours. Offer to leave a free copy with them, along with a sales sheet.

Mar 9 – If you haven’t yet sent out review copies for book, now is the time. Do a search on Google for “book reviewers.”

Mar 10 – Contact local schools in your area and tell them about Small Press Month. Mention that you are a local published author and offer to speak to their assembly about how to accomplish their dreams of being published. This is particularly effective if you have a children’s book you can then sell after the assembly.

Mar 11 – Contact local universities and colleges. Same concept as yesterday — promote yourself and your book by sharing your knowledge of how to write a book and get it published. Sell copies of your book in the back of the room.

Mar 12 – Schedule a seminar or tele-seminar on “How to Write and Publish a Book” and offer a “Small Press Month” discount on the registration fee. Send out a local news release about your class.

Mar 13 – Contact other sales channels outside of the bookstore that may be likely to sell your book. This may include websites related to your book’s topic, gift stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, boutiques, etc. Look at your book and ask yourself where your readers may be shopping.

Mar 14 – Contact local art studios, design boutiques, or other small independent businesses in your area. Give them the opportunity to share in co-op on some advertising initiatives (plus, if applicable, offer to conduct some events in their venues).

Mar 15 – Join with other independently published authors and arrange a co-op advertisement in the local media, using any dollars secured from local businesses you spoke with on the 14th. In addition to simply promoting your book, promote your upcoming events, so people show up at them. The other authors can join in the events, which may lead the bookstores to be more interested in scheduling it (even on such short notice).

Mar 16 – Contact all the local radio producers in your area.

Mar 17 – Think St. Paddy’s day thoughts. Then make sure your online Amazon.com listing is all it can be.

Mar 18 – Contact the major newspapers about Small Press Month. They’re likely to write up something if enough authors contact them (or they may already have articles/calendars planned) and you will want to be among the piles of information they have received:

THE NEW YORK TIMES: 229 W 43rd Street, New York NY 10036-3959 (212) 556-1234

USA TODAY: 1000 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22209-3901 (703) 276-3400 and 535
Madison Avenue, 20th Fl, New York NY 10022-4212 (212) 715-5410

WALL STREET JOURNAL: 200 Liberty Street, New York NY 10281-1003 (212)

WASHINGTON POST: 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071-0002 (202)

Mar 19 – Contact your local community center and inform them of Small Press Month. If you have gathered a band of local authors, this will be more effective. Schedule an impromptu event, celebrating Small Press books.

Mar 20 – This may be the month to switch independent publishers if you have published elsewhere. Is your retail price too high? Is your profit too low? Is your author’s copy price too high? Compare and save.

Mar 21 – Join a Yahoo Group or Google group devoted to small press publishing. Find groups on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, too.

Mar 22 – Sign-up for your own account on MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote your book.

Mar 23 – Contact the Learning Annex (or similarly themed Adult Education Program) in your area and offer to teach a class on the subject of your book. As a published author, you are qualified to teach on your subject since you are an expert. Your book may even be required reading for each student!

Mar 24 – Start writing online reviews on Amazon. Write reviews for every book you have ever read. Mention that you are the author of your book at the bottom of each posted review. If people like the writing style of your review, they may investigate your book, especially if you write reviews for books within the same genre as yours.

Mar 25 – Contact the public libraries in each state and mention your involvement with Small Press Month. Send them information about your book. Here’s a link that will get you started: http://www.publiclibraries.com/

Mar 26 – Start preparing for April (National Poetry Month), especially if you have a volume of poetry you have published.

Mar 27 – Help other writers you know get published. Share the positive experiences you had with your publisher.

Mar 28 – Start a blog and keep it active and up-to-date. Register it with blog directories so others start reading it and participating. There are many blog programs to help you get started. Conduct a search on Google for the one that works for you.

Mar 29 – Submit your published book to the Google Base listings. It’s free.

Mar 30 – Publish a “Large Print” edition of your book. With the world’s demographics growing older, “large print” editions are becoming more and more popular. Featuring 14 or 16 point fonts, these editions appeal to the aging community because they are easier to read. You’ve already written the book, now re-publish a new “Large Print” edition to increase your revenue and double the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives.

Mar 31 – Take a breath. It’s been a busy, productive month.

  • I interviewed Brent Sampson for an article I wrote for the Journal Inquirer on self-publishing and found him to be friendly, helpful, and accessible. He would have to be, to have done all the work it would take to put together this comprehensive list.

    Thanks, Brent!