Before you can sell your book, you need to market it. Here are 10 tips:
- First, identify your book’s target audience. Many authors make the mistake of thinking everyone is a potential reader, when in reality, some people are more likely to purchase the book than others. Would your book appeal more to females or males? What age range best represents your readers? Where do they live? What kind of activities do they pursue? The more you can narrow your focus, the easier it will be to locate your audience and promote your book
- Market and promote your book locally, then gradually expand your efforts. Create advertisements, such as business cards, posters and fliers, that will catch your target audiences’ eye and that can be used on all levels. However, as a general rule, promoting your book locally is your best bet. Regional and national media will not be interested in you or your book until you have generated local attention. It is much easier for new authors to gain attention from local media outlets—such as newspapers, television and radio.
- Create an “elevator pitch” about your book. An “elevator pitch” is a brief, focused message aimed toward a particular person or group that summarizes why they should be interested in your book. Your elevator pitch should be no longer than two or three sentences and should focus on your book’s selling points—those qualities that make it unique and special.
- Network, network, network. Positive word-of-mouth publicity is an essential part of any book marketing plan. Start by telling your friends and family about your book. Then broaden your reach to include coworkers and professional acquaintances. The next step for promoting your book might be to inform local organizations such as clubs, churches, synagogues and book clubs. You can also network over the Internet by searching for organizations interested in your book’s topic.
- Create a professional looking media kit. This public relations tool will allow you to have your materials well organized. Before you can gain attention for your book, you should compile information about it that you can send out to the media. Your media kit should include a pitch letter introducing yourself and your book, an excerpt from your book or a copy of it, your author bio and photo, any positive endorsements or reviews you’ve received, sample interview questions and news articles or clippings related to your book’s topic. Your media kit will be the first impression that editors, producers, reviewers or reporters have of you and your book, so make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
- Utilize one of the most effective marketing vehicles, the World Wide Web. The growth of the Internet has been advantageous to authors and publishers as it has presented new forums to find targeted groups of people, build awareness of books, and make purchasing fast and easy. There are many Online Marketing tools available to you in order for you to best promote your book.
- When promoting your book to the media, pitch story ideas, not your book. Many authors make the mistake of merely telling the media that they’ve written a book, hoping for a book review or interview. Think about the types of interviews you hear on the radio or see on television and the articles you’ve read in newspaper and magazines. They are almost always centered on providing helpful information, and to a lesser degree, entertainment. If your book is nonfiction, think about the specialized information that it offers, then make a tip sheet that lists the top 10 ideas from your book. If your book is fiction, is there an interesting story behind why you wrote it? What makes you an expert on the subject?
- Always follow up. After you send out your media kits, don’t just wait for a response; following up with your recipients by phone is imperative. It’s much more difficult for someone to ignore you when you call them. Plus, contacting them more than once shows that you have persistence and drive. Don’t become a pest while promoting your book, though. If someone doesn’t respond after three contact attempts, it’s probably best to move on.
- Enter your book in competitions. Winning a competition is a major endorsement for your book; awards help with book publicity by verifying that your book is head and shoulders above many others. Start by looking for contests that don’t require steep entry fees or the submission of an inordinate number of books. There are also many contests related to specific genres like mystery or romance. It’s also best to find contests that are especially welcoming to independently published or print-on-demand books.
- Don’t give up. Promoting your book is not a task that you can do in a day, a week or even a month. Often, the fruits of your efforts won’t be immediately evident. It takes time and persistence to get your book noticed. Be prepared for some rejection, but remember to celebrate every achievement.
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