Experimenting with local marketing tips for authors can go a long way toward getting your books noticed. As the saying goes, start where you are. Making use of the power of a community that knows you can yield faster and greater results than diving into the choppy waters of the internet. As an author, it can be tempting to try to harness the power of social media to sell more copies of your book. Often, this can lead to spreading yourself too thin by trying to establish a presence on too many platforms. Even when focusing on one platform such as Facebook, there is no definitive correlation between using a social media platform and influencing followers to buy a book. Social media is primarily for engaging, not selling.
Local Marketing Tips for Authors
The key here is focusing on local and regional opportunities, not just family and friends. We all know getting those closest to us to post a review can be like pulling teeth. Don’t take offense by this, simply move on to bigger fish. In this case, that means focusing on local marketing tips for authors to grow your reader base. Meeting lots of new people may not be your idea of fun times if you’re on the shy or introverted side, but doing so certainly isn’t going to kill you, and such mingling does get better with time. Personal connection can go a long way to generating word-of-mouth.
Promotion on a national level may be a possibility for you, but never ignore the power of going local in your marketing efforts. Priority number one is to always grow your email list, so either have a clipboard or iPad handy to encourage people to join your list. Be clear on how often newsletters and/or blog posts will be sent. If you’re sporadic, state that. It’s always best to direct potential readers to your website, which should contain the most up-to-date information about your books. Once at your website, visitors can then decide which of your social media sites to follow.
Determine Where Your Ideal Reader Hangs Out
If you haven’t taken the time to develop a reader persona, do so now. For your online audience, this can help with targeted ads or knowing which online group discussions to participate in. In the real world, identifying where your target reader likes to spend time opens up all sorts of retail possibilities. This task is somewhat easier if you are writing nonfiction, but it’s not impossible for those who focus on fiction. Does the protagonist of your mystery meditate or go to yoga classes? Try the YMCA. Perhaps your thriller hero is into guns and hunting. Hit up sporting goods stores. Maybe sexy nightgowns, bubble baths, or candlelit ambiance factor into your romances. Pitch a fitting local retail venue. You get the idea.
Also, while it may be quite time consuming to place and track sales of a print version of your book into local drugstores,museums, and gift shops, doing so might make sense if your book has a decidedly local focus as such as being a hiking guide or book on sourcing regional ingredients for recipes. If you are going to sell print versions of your book at local merchants, you’ll want to make sure you are set up to keep track of sales tax.
Host Events at Venues Other Than Bookstores
It’s a no-brainer to hold readings or to give a book-related top on a fitting topic at bookstores and libraries. Beyond that crucial starting point, use your imagination to branch out to reach potential readers. As noted above, once you pinpoint various places potential readers may be hanging out, you can contact the manager at each one to pitch the idea of your event. So many possibilities exist for planning author events in a variety of places.
Even if you will be setting up a table somewhere, be prepared to make conversation with those who approach to check out your books. Even if they don’t buy, have some book-related swag that can be given away. To simply read from you book will verge on boring. At the very least, be prepared to give an introductory talk of how the book came into being and what factors compelled you to write it. Even better, prepare a talk related to one of the main topics of your nonfiction book or one of the main themes in your novel.
Events and Activities
Beyond solo events, consider teaming up with a group of authors in your genre. Even better, reserve yourself a spot at an event that is going to attract an array of potential readers. This may include writing conferences, comic cons, farmers markets, arts and crafts festivals, pride gatherings, home and garden shows, etc. The list goes on and on.
So many possibilities exist for attending events tied into the subject matter of your book. If your book might appeal to drinkers, consider setting up a table at a bar or winery. If running factors in somehow, set up shop at this or that race taking place in your area. If your book is a mystery or a thriller, October is always a great month to get mileage out of the crowds that flock to haunted entertainment attractions. It never hurts to offer some enticing and cool swag items.
Make a list of local media outlets that you could approach. This is more cut-and-dry for nonfiction books, but various levels of research also go into writing works of fiction. First, decide which outlets feature book reviews or author interviews. As with writing guest posts for blogs, get creative in this area as well. If a certain cuisine or location factors into your book, you could do a spot in relation to regional cooking or the like. What quirks define your character? If a character loves a certain kind of car and it factors into the plot in a significant way, try to contribute or be featured in a fitting media outlet.
Know Your Competition
As always, know your competition. What are other successful authors in your genre up to? Sometimes it seems like we try to reinvent the wheel with trying creative ways to get our books into readers’ hands. There’s nothing wrong with trying new tactics on a consistent basis, but don’t underestimate the power of emulating what is already working for others.
This local marketing tips for authors should boost your efforts in the best of ways with consistent effort. Pick one to focus on and get started today.
What local marketing tips for authors would you add? What has and hasn’t worked for you?
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2018. Image Credit: Graduation Caps.