How To Promote Your Book
So you, as an author, have a new book, just published? Since you live in a forest near the Canadian border, you are going to have to hitch up the mule and come down to civilization to promote your book at the book shops of America. Your publisher arranges a tour schedule, 47 cities in 3 days. Whew! You’re tired before you start, and your hand will be aching from signing all those books. Or, if nobody shows up for the signing, from carrying your luggage around. Either way, it’s a tough 3 days!
Most of the book shops would like you to have some kind of a presentation, a talk, some slides, illustrations, video, something to get the audience excited so that they will want to buy your book and take this rare opportunity to have you inscribe it before you disappear back into the forest to continue your romp with bigfoot.
Now, anyone who has worked at a book shop will tell you that new books are arriving every day. In fact, they pour in like a tidal wave. In other words, you have fierce competition. The Events Manager at the store will plug you into the book signing schedule, send out emails to their list, put some posters around the shop announcing your impending arrival, run ads in local newspapers, anything they can think of. When you show up for your moment in the sun, you can only hope that the shop has done a great job in roping in some potential customers.
Sometimes, though, only a few folks show up (why, why, why did that Events Manager schedule you the same night as the Oscars?). If you were Ray Bradbury or Charles Bukowski, there would be hundreds, or even thousands of folks lined up around the block to get books signed. (Since they have both passed, the lines would really be long if they showed up!!) But for you, Mr. or Ms. Unknown, there’s 4 people hanging around. The main thing to remember is that after you do your presentation and signing, the book shop focuses on the next guy coming in. Your posters come down seconds after you have left the premises, the schedule moves on, the nice stack of your books on display will soon be shelved and within a certain time shipped back to the publisher. So how do you keep your name, your presentation, your book in front of the public?
Often the Book Shop will offer to record your talk and podcast it out through their website. The podcast will link to an order form so the book can be purchased. Some shops will have a video crew to tape the presentation and post it up to the world wide web on youtube. If you have this opportunity, take it. Your presentation will be available for a long time, and could lead to a lot of continuous sales through the mail. Also, if the shop will allow it, sign a few copies for future buyers, it is a big plus for the shop to offer “signed copies” for some time after your appearance. This could be a big boon to the book shop if you met an untimely death on the way back to the forest. Besides, in many cases the publishers usually won’t “take back” returns if they are signed, so the book shop may keep your book on hand a little longer and then discount it out in the future. Either way, more display time is quality time for you. (Hint: sign big and bold with a fat marker).
If you don’t promote your book, or have a professional book promotion company to do it for you, then all your work, research, months and years of writing, stress, anguish, could be for nothing. Your book might be good and have great sales potential, but getting it in front of a potential buyer can take some work. Anything you can do to create a “buzz” must be done. Remember, a tidal wave of books is washing up on the shore right behind you, and they all want to be sold. It’s like an animal shelter, a lot of cute pooches and kitties want to find an owner!
A good promotional campaign could lead to big sales which means you might be asked by the publisher to write another book!
posted by: Uncle Paulie