If you’ve spent any time researching ways to market your book, you’ve likely found one common ingredient: cost. Marketing is expensive! And if you’ve just laid out money to self-publish or partner-publish, chances are that you don’t have lots of extra cash lying around to spend on promoting your book.
Fortunately, with a bit of creativity and ambition, there are plenty of out-of-the-box marketing ideas that are sure to increase your readership without significantly decreasing your bank account.
Check out these ideas:
Give your book away
Wait, what? Yes, that’s right. Give your book away. But to the right people. We loved this creative idea from emerging author Brent Jones:
I called and emailed local libraries and independent bookstores, offering them free print copies of my book. Most of them agreed to take it.
Getting my book in the hands of independent bookstores (two free copies each) and local libraries (one free copy per branch) — 26 copies in total — cost me about $195 CAD ($140 USD) for printing and shipping.
I also bought some plastic business card holders and asked each independent bookstore if I could leave a small stack of promotional cards by their cash register. Every one of them agreed.
In total, my book can be purchased locally at seven different bookstores and six different libraries.
I’ve also been booked for four author events at local libraries.
Brent noted that giving his book away to bookstores and libraries enabled him to use our next idea… Be news-worthy.
[Donating my book] gave me a new angle: Fort Erie author supports local arts and commerce by donating his debut novel to bookstores and libraries.
I positioned my pitch to local media outlets as an opportunity to discuss the importance of local arts and literacy. And it worked:
snapd Niagara Falls came out to cover my donation to the Niagara Falls Public Library. CogecoTV, the local television station, invited me to appear on their show, What’s New? to discuss my book. And I was also interviewed by Niagara This Week, for an article titled, “Fort Erie author pens debut novel.”
Local media can be an excellent marketing resource and it’s free! You may think that scoring a spot on your city’s morning talk show would be difficult, but keep in mind that the producers of those shows have to fill several hours of airtime every morning, so they are always on the lookout for good content. And what better content than a homegrown author who is donating his or her books?
Offer yourself as an expert
Is your book theology-based? Contact your local seminary and religious universities and offer yourself as a speaker in their weekly chapel or any upcoming seminars. More than likely you will be promoted in their on-campus literature and you will be able to set up a table for signing books. Be sure to donate few books to their library.
Is your book focused on a particular industry? Offer yourself as a free speaker at conferences and tradeshows. Even large companies may bring you in to speak at employee workshops and training sessions. Be sure to email them flyers with your info that they can use to promote your appearance.
Is your book inspirational in nature? Offer yourself to local counseling groups, such as grief and divorce support groups. Contact women’s clubs, retirement centers, and moms groups to see if they need speakers. Bring along a few copies of your book to give away.
You may not see yourself as an expert, but that fact that you’ve written a book on a particular subject offers you more credibility than you think. It means that you have put a great deal of time into researching, thinking and praying about your subject. Be confident in what you offer to others!
Support a charity
We all have charities that are near and dear to our heart. And don’t we wish we could give more to those amazing groups? Your book offers you a tool to do just that. Cathy Presland offers this creative idea in a post for Author Unlimited:
Run a big charity fundraiser so that for every book sold on a certain day or a certain week you give all or part of the profits to a charity of your choice (or better yet, run a fundraiser and then send everyone who donates a free pdf of your book…)
For example, if you have friends saving up for an international adoption, let your audience know that proceeds from your book sales will go towards that couple. Then ask your friends to share this information with their circle of friends.
Also, in times of national tragedy or disaster, such as a flood or hurricane, you can do the same, with proceeds going to the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, etc.
While these ideas may require a little legwork on your part, they can be highly effective, not only in their frugality, but also their marketing reach. At Certa Publishing, we have become an expert at helping emerging authors market their books. We would love to do some out-of-the-box brainstorming with you! Contact us today.