An earlier blog post covered some Effective Ways to Market Your Book Online. Now, we will be looking at some methods to market your book offline, whether it is fiction or non-fiction. As with online marketing, a lot of this should be planned and happening before you have released the book, or even finished writing it. The sooner the better with marketing! If no-one knows your book exists, they can’t buy it, even if they would enjoy it or find it very useful (or both!).
You should also have a marketing plan in place, for which there is some advice in the online marketing blog. This will let you organise your thoughts in one place to keep track of what you have done, what you are currently working on and new ideas. Don’t forget to also get the basics of your book down, such as genre and intended audience. This will allow you to focus and customise your marketing to your book much more effectively.
Obviously, one of the most effective ways you can market your book is by networking directly with people. It allows you to have a discussion about your book with just one or a small group of people, giving you much more ability to tailor your marketing to what you think will particularly catch their interest. It also gives potential readers a lot more chance to directly engage with you, asking questions and discussing the sort of direction your book is taking. Whilst social media will also allow you talk to fans and potential readers, some people will still connect more with you at a physical meeting.
The best way to build your network is to start early and keep track of all the people you meet researching your book or that have helped you with it in some way. In particular, note anyone who seems genuinely interested in your book and contact them again closer to publication time.
You should also have professionally printed business cards ready to hand out and flyers about your book, including the basic blurb, snippets of reviews, recommendations and an image of the book cover.
Prepare a Pitch
Once you are talking to someone about your book, you need to get and keep their interest in it. It is best to plan this out beforehand, with a pre-prepared “pitch” speech. It may even be a good idea to have a few of different lengths ready, according to how much time you have – ten seconds, one minute or maybe two. Whichever, it is important that you hold their attention and make your book sound attractive. You could possibly practice it in front of a friend or the mirror if you are nervous talking in front of people.
Consider how burbs are written and how they hook you in when you’re reading them. What is a particularly effective example from your own reading? Think about why this worked and try to do this in your conversation. Maybe it gave a sense of intrigue or seemed action-packed? Obviously, this should also be tailored to the genre – it’s no good trying to sell a historical romance with the pitch of a thriller!
You could also see if you can find videos or go to events where other authors are speaking about their books. Then consider what is working for them and how you could use a similar method to increase interest in (and awareness of) your book. Again, part of this is simply letting people know that your book exists, what it’s about and letting them make up their own mind whether they’re interested.
Also, remember that the advantage of an in-person discussion of your book is that the reader can interact with you and ask questions. Encourage this! If you have planned a pitch, it doesn’t need to be a rigid routine, it can and should change according to the listener.
One way to draw attention to your book is by getting noticed in your field. You could do this by considering what the relevant publications are and asking if you can write a guest article for them. You can then mention your book in a note at the end of the article or even make it about your book. Perhaps you could do a quick introduction to the world or write it from the point of view of one of your characters.
Of course, this method also works for online marketing and it may be easier to get accepted on an online magazine or blog. Just remember to do your due diligence and make sure the publication is a reputable one. It’s no good having your name appear in a poor-quality piece!
Perhaps the most obvious offline place, bookshops can be very supportive of a self-publishing author, especially if the bookshop is a local, independent one. You could ask them to put up a notice in their window, where passers-by can spot it or see if they would stock your book (once published) in an obvious place near the counter. In fact, simply stocking your book is more likely to get it noticed!
They might even let you do a promotional book-signing or talk in their shop, where customers can stop off to listen. If they run a book club, perhaps they could look at your book?
However, remember to only ask once, not pester, and make sure they seem to have time to talk. You need to make sure they like your book, so make it sound appealing. Also, support their business in return! Buy books there, tell your friends, join a book club if they run one.
There are many effective ways to connect with potential buyers both offline and online, so a lot of the choice revolves around what kind of strategy you prefer or what works for you. Explore a few avenues to find this out, then stick to your marketing plan. If you want more marketing tips there are some in my blog Cost-Effective Ways to Self-Publish Your Book. Good luck!
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