If you’re anything like most writers, you might be more of an introvert and that can be very difficult when it comes to promoting your own book. Talking to people and asking them to read your book is not only nerve wracking, but it’s incredibly…embarrassing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m PROUD to have a book out in the world, but asking someone to read it and have them provide an honest review is a bit like carving out half your heart and asking them not to crush it.
Nevertheless, we have to do what we must to get our book out there in front of people. Here are some helpful tips to maximizing your marketing efforts when it comes to media relations for your book:
1. Create an Email List
In my last post, I mentioned signing up for an email newsletter platform like MailChimp, but having all the beautiful, engaging emails in the world won’t count for anything if you don’t have an email list! So how do you begin to grow your email list? First, start small. Friends, family, colleagues you think won’t mind getting emails, then include emails from people you met at writers conferences or online (make sure you get their consent first! Privacy policies are a huge deal nowadays). Here’s a quick list of tactics to getting emails:
- From your website newsletter signup (seems obvious, but worth repeating since it’s so important)
- Emails gathered from meeting fellow writers at conferences or online as CPs or beta readers
- Emails gathered at book signing events – these are the best because these readers have met you and are giving away their emails because they want to
- Offer something they want and ask for an email address in return – offering a free query critique? Or an ebook?
2. Send Press Release to Local Media
Make sure you get your press release from your publisher/publicist to pass out to local media sources and schools. If they don’t provide you with a press release, writing one isn’t hard. You just need to provide what the book is about, when it’s coming out, a bit out about the author/publisher, and where the reader can find the book. Keep it fact-based, but official reviews are good to include. Then start looking at local news stations, magazines, and radio stations and contact them through their website. Next, look for local writing organizations–do they have blogs or magazines you can be featured in?
Also, it can’t hurt to stop by local bookstores and talk to them directly about your book to ask them if they’d like to read a copy to potentially share with their readers. Nothing sells a book better than recommendations from a trusted source.
3. Set up online tours (Instagram, Blog, Facebook takeovers)
Before you get super gung-ho about paying for blog tours, Instagram, Goodreads giveaways, or Facebook takeovers, do your research. First, find out where your audience is. Are they younger on Instagram or Snapchat? Or are they moms who like romance that spend their days on Facebook? Try and be as strategic as you can when planning these online tours. Look at the blog tours reach. Look at the followers of each blog and the likes on the Facebook page…how are the numbers? How many people would see the post? Is it worth the cost of the tour? Your budget probably isn’t unlimited so you need to be thoughtful of what you want to invest in.
Then, of course, the timing of the tour. First (and this is extremely important) talk to your publicist to see what the have planned before scheduling anything. Do they have a tour that could be happening at the same time? It might be a better idea to plan a tour the following week to help maximize reach and ensure that people are continuously seeing your name and book title.
4. Consider a Book Launch Party
Being a debut author you may not have a whole lot of recognition but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate with the people who love and support you! I recommend having it at your local library. It’s free and you can use the library events to help get the word out. Be sure to order books to sign and sell and plan a few fun activities. Maybe a reading, or a raffle, or just order some cute cupcakes that are created using the color palette of your book.
Remember, this day is about you, and your amazing achievement, so don’t stress yourself out planning some large event if you don’t want to. Celebrate this day for you and no one else. There are time for other signings and book promos later.
5. Look for book festivals, signing events, & writers conferences
One of coolest things about being an author is meeting your readers in person and discussing your book. It might be a little scary at first, but the more you’ll do it the easier it will be. So start Googling! Look for the following within driving distance:
- State book festivals (you will likely need to submit your book for consideration)
- Local book signing events (group signing events with other authors usually at hotels and solo signing events at bookstores)
- Writer conferences (excellent opportunity to network with other writers who can help promote your book as well. Cross promotion is an excellent marketing tactic!)
No matter where you go, make sure you have business cards and other promo materials that I mentioned in a previous blog post — don’t let them forget you!