Last week I posted pictures and a description of the party I threw to celebrate the release of my latest picture book, A SISTER MORE LIKE ME (Disney Press, October 2013). Every author knows a book launch party isn't just for fun--although that would be good enough reason for throwing one! It's also a great way to promote a new book.
Having a book that you've worked long and hard to see in print is celebration-worthy--and exciting! Don't be shy about your "baby." As you talk about it, your excitement will be contagious, and you'll find that many people will want to celebrate with you. Have a party. Invite everyone you know--old friends, new friends, people you do business with. Even those who are far away and can't be with you physically will want to be with you in spirit. Tell far-flung friends and family what time you'll be raising your glass and ask them to lift their glasses with you wherever they are.
Throw yourself a fabulous party--but don't stop there! Here's a list of my top fifteen tips for promoting and celebrating a new book.
So take what you can use from this list, and from the posts I'll be sharing in the next few weeks about how I've exercised these ideas to promote my latest book. And please share your own creative ideas, too! What has worked for you to promote interest in and sales of your books? What hasn't worked? What have you seen other authors do that seemed inspired? What would you like to try but haven't got around to?
FIFTEEN WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK
1. Use Facebook and other social media to build anticipation for your book. Document your progress, from the sale of your manuscript to the release of your published book. Express your excitement!
2. Throw yourself a party! (See above.) People love to celebrate. Let them do it with you.
3. When your book is released, send out email announcements. Include an image of your book cover and a link to your website.
4. Make sure to say thank you to your contacts for their social media and email congratulations. Comment on posts; answer emails; make phone calls.
5. Follow up immediately when booksellers and school contacts respond to your announcement. Are they interested in book signings or school visits? Better yet, when would they like you to come for book signings and school visits?
6. Contact your local booksellers. Introduce yourself and your work. Ask if they will be carrying your book or are willing to carry it. Offer to do a book signing or several book signings. Tell them you will be inviting friends and family to their store. Ask what else you can do to help them sell books.
7. Take center stage at your book signings. Request that your book table, if possible, be placed just inside the front door. Place your chair in front of the table instead of behind it. When you're not signing, get out of your chair! Greet people as they come in the door. Ask if they have any kids in their lives. Ask a question to help create common ground between you, your potential reader and your book.
8. Display business cards and postcards at your book signings. Include information about other books and services you provide.
9. Wear a costume that relates to your book. This is especially great for picture book authors--kids LOVE it!
10. Provide inexpensive give-aways. Google "promotional items" and see what you can find that relates directly to your book.
11. Multiply your social media exposure by encouraging book buyers to post pictures of and comments about you and your book. Offer a prize of some substance to the person who gets the most comments/shares of their post featuring you and your book.
12. Partner with local businesses that sell products related to your book.
13. Volunteer to read your book and talk about writing at your local library or a local non-profit that serves children and families. Focus on family literacy.
14. Create and sign bookplates to hand out to people who might buy your book.
15. Show genuine interest in people. Listen to their stories. Accept their invitations to lunch. Share your journey. Acknowledge theirs. Make new friends. Your friends will be your biggest promoters!
Over the next few weeks I'll write in more detail about some of these tips--what I've been doing to promote A SISTER MORE LIKE ME and what you might do for your own book to introduce it to a wider market--and perhaps to make it a local best seller and yourself a local celebrity.
Barbara Jean Hicks is a regular guest contributor to Tales From the Rushmore Kid. She is a credentialed teacher in K-12 English/Language Arts and the award-winning author of seven picture books for children, including AN AMAZING SNOWMAN (February 18, 2014, Disney Press), which along with A SISTER MORE LIKE ME is based on characters from the 2013 Disney animated feature film FROZEN.