The process of becoming a published book author doesn’t end when your title reaches bookstore shelves. Seasoned writers know that book marketing and publicity are just as important to success as the quality of the writing. Marketing a book is the key to achieving sales and income from your work. The upshot? Authors don’t have to hire a pricey publicist or shell out for expensive printed materials. You can assemble effective press materials and make contact with editors yourself by following a few industry-recognized pointers.
Create a Sell Sheet
Sell sheets are one-page summaries that contain all of the details about your book prior to its publication, so retailers can compare your title to others on the book market. Include the basics: title, author, name, publisher and a photo of the book jacket. Then add the book’s retailing details, including publication date, format (softcover or hardcover), number if pages, price, ISBN number and where the books will be sold. Consider adding a summary of your book, marketing and publicity plans, blurbs from your peers and an author bio.
Design Promotional Postcards
A promo postcard acts as a reminder to a potential reader containing essential pieces of information about the book: the who, what, when, where and why. Always include an image of your book’s jacket or your author portrait. Include the title and your name, along with blurbs or a tagline. Don’t forget to include information about the book’s publication date, or if the book is already published, mention where consumers can find it. Finish with your web site URL or email address.
Meet the Public
Book fairs and literary events are increasingly popular forums for authors to meet readers, publicize their books and network with other writers. Bring a stack of postcards or flyers with you, and choose a spot at the festival that sees high traffic. Offer your hand-outs to passing attendees, and don’t be discouraged if people don’t take them–just keep smiling. Have copies of your book on hand to sell too.
Contact Reviewers and Editors
Once you have your sell sheet written, find the names of magazine and newspaper editors you want to contact for reviews in a current edition of the Writer’s Market (a book of listings available at most public libraries). Writer’s Market offers information about thousands of publications and tips on how to contact specific editors. Once you’ve compiled a list, send your sell sheet with an introductory letter suggesting your book for review.
Use Social Networking
Online marketing is the newest and fastest way to get the word out. Set up accounts at Facebook.com and Twitter.com, or start your own blog, to connect with potential readers. Let your friends know when you’ll be reading at a local bookstore or if your book got a starred review. Send tweets regularly to keep your title in people’s minds. If your book is reviewed online, use social bookmark tools (such as Digg or Reddit) to post the story on their sites. The best part: usually, online marketing is free.