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10 Ways to Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard

Online marketing is a wonderful way to reach a worldwide audience, but sometimes authors overlook book marketing opportunities in their own backyard.

In your local area and region, you have the opportunity to stand out as a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Here are ten tips for promoting locally:

1.    Always carry books and literature with you. Keep a case of books and some flyers in the trunk of your car, and business cards in your wallet. You never know when you will run across a potential customer or marketing contact.

2.    Look for opportunities across your area. Headed out for a weekend getaway or off to visit grandma? Do a little research ahead of time to identify bookstores, retailers and libraries in the area that you can call on. Or plan your own book tour, staying with friends and relatives along the way.

3.    Promote yourself as a local author to bookstores and libraries. Many bookstores and libraries have a special section where they showcase the books of local or regional authors.

4.    Look for other retailers that are a good fit. Think about what type of retailers relate to the topic of your book, and promote yourself as a local author.

5.    Put “local author” stickers on the books that you sell in your area.

6.    Speak at libraries. Contact libraries about doing a presentation on your book’s topic. This can be especially effective for children’s books and for nonfiction titles that have a broad appeal (such as travel, business, or fitness).  Many libraries will let you sell your books at your presentation, and some have a budget for paying speakers.

7.    Find other speaking opportunities. Speaking is a great way to sell books, and you may even get paid to speak once you get some experience. There are lots of organizations looking for interesting speakers for their meetings, including business and civic organizations, church groups, schools and universities, trade associations, and more.

8.    Seek publicity through local and regional media. Send a book announcement press release to media in the town where you grew up and where you live now.  The “local girl makes good” angle works especially well in smaller towns. Create press releases based on local tie-ins, such as a novel set in the region, and on current news events. Don’t forget your college alumni newsletter and any civic or professional associations you belong to. Nonfiction authors should consider radio and television talk shows.

9.    Exhibit at book fairs and festivals. These usually work best if your book is related to the theme of the event, or if the book has appeal to a broad audience.

10.    Market children’s book through schools and youth organizations. School visits are a great way to reach kids. For tips, see this article by Melissa Williams.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more book marketing tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana’s free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit her book marketing blog.

  • http://queenoffiftycents.blogspot.com/ Queen of Fifty Cents

    Thanks for some good suggestions! As a librarian, may I add a bit to number 6? We’d love to be able to accommodate every local author who wants to promote their books, but often it’s just not possible. A library’s responsibility is to serve the public with the best collection we can. Your book may or may not fill a collection need. And because we are government agencies, we often have rules we must follow about allowing people to sell things at our programs. In the county I work in that is absolutely not allowed. Please don’t be disappointed or harbor bad feelings if you ask to do a program at a library and they say no. We get dozens of these requests. Good reviews will get you in the door faster than just being local.

  • http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/members/bookmarketer/ Dana Lynn Smith

    How nice to hear from a librarian – thank you! It’s important to note that policies regarding collection development, speaking and book sales vary by library, but authors need to contact their libraries to find out what those policies are. I know in some areas events are sponsored by the “Friends of the Library” organization and authors are allowed to sell their books (and sometimes they donate a portion of the proceeds to the Friends organization). I just returned from my local library, by the way, and the Friends were selling all the old VHS and books on cassette from the library’s collection for 25 cents each. I bought every travel video they had!

  • http://www.tierraallen.com Tierra Allen

    very good info!