14 Tips to Promote Your Book
If you've written a great book and gotten it published, congratulations! But, wait, there's more to be done. Did you create a launch team before you published your book? Did you have multiple preorder sales of your book? If you are like me when I published my books Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles and Jobs of a Preschooler last year, you are shaking your head no and wondering what to do now to promote your book. Well, I have 14 tips to help. Of course, you have to pick what tips will work best for you in your situation.
Have a Website
Basic websites are fairly easy and inexpensive to set up. They allow you to have an online presence, offer some credibility, and interact with readers. You can use your website to show your works, provide contact information, and blog about topics that interest you and your audience. My website isn't that glamorous since I am not very tech-savvy and I have done all of the work myself, but it is still available for others to find. My website address is listed on my books and information I hand out.
On your website, you could include the option to sign up for your e-mail list. I have heard e-mail lists are crucial since those on your e-mail list are potential buyers for any of your future projects. I know this, and yet I currently do not have an e-mail list sign up on my website. Maybe I will someday soon. As a side note, if you do create an e-mail list, please make sure you are complying with all of the necessary requirements.
Use social media
There are many social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest to choose from. Social media may be beneficial, but it could also be a huge time drain if you are not careful. Each platform has its own pros and cons for authors.
I currently use Pinterest to promote my books on separate boards. Author's boards can be used to showcase characters or settings from within books. I have a board with various crafts and activities that teachers and parents can do along with the book Jobs of a Preschooler, and I have a board with all things pickles for my book Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles.
Offer free materials
People love free things! Offer free materials such as coloring pages, bookmarks, or any other small item that fits the theme of your book. Make sure to include your website for further information on the free materials.
I offer free coloring pages and activity ideas to go along with each of my picture books. I had coloring pages out to children at events (even if they don't purchase my books), and I let the adults know more coloring pages for the books are available on my website to print for free.
I also hand out free bookmarks sometimes. I created my own bookmarks, and I print them on card stock. Each bookmark includes a picture of my books, the words "free coloring pages and activities available on www.brigittebrulz.com", and information on where my books can be purchased. The bookmarks aren't fancy, but they provide the information I want to share with others. What better way to promote a book than with a bookmark?
Find a themed day that corresponds with your book
Did you know there are special days celebrating penguins, dinosaurs, best friends, bacon, and more? There are many interesting national days (and months) throughout the year to use to your advantage. Think of a topic from within your book and do a quick search to see what special day(s) you could celebrate.
November 14th is National Pickle Day. Since I wrote a book entitled Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles, I contacted a local grocery store that does community events and asked if they would be interested in celebrating National Pickle Day with me. They agreed, and I had a lot of fun celebrating National Pickle Day with multiple students from a local school. The children had the opportunity to listen to me read my book, taste test pickled foods, make quick pickles, and tour the store to find pickled items.
Contact a TV station, newspaper, and/or radio station
Some newspapers may be interested in your story, so it may be worth contacting to see if they would be interested in writing an article (or even if you could write something) to add to the paper especially if you have an upcoming event.
When I did the National Pickle Day celebration, I was invited to do a live interview (thanks to the lady who works at the store I was visiting) on a local news station to share information about the upcoming event and my book. I also contacted a local paper to include a couple of my upcoming events.
Find a location to sell
Again, going along with the theme of the book, see if there are places that fit your niche that could sell your book. I contacted a few pickle stores to see if they would be interested in selling Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles. As a result, I now have two stores that have purchased multiple copies from me to sell at their locations.
Since my books are for younger children, I have had a lot of fun leading preschool story times. I also did an adult presentation at a library talking about how I created the books. At the end of the presentations, I was able to sell my books to the attendees. Children's books may be written for children, but it is the adults who buy the books!
Write guest posts
Write guest posts on websites that have your book's intended audience and allow you to include a link to your website. For Jobs of a Preschooler, I contacted a preschool website to see if I could do a guest post. I didn't get paid anything for my initial post, but I was able to get a link to my website. As an added bonus, they offered me a monthly paid contributor position, which I was honored to accept.
Keep a book with you
You never know when the opportunity will arise to share your book with others. I was once at a camp with my daughter when someone asked what I enjoy doing. I mentioned I had recently published a book, and she was excited to purchase a signed copy for her grandchildren when I showed a copy to her.
Ask for reviews
This is definitely something I struggle with! Besides asking others to leave you honest reviews (if they like your book, of course), you may include something at the end of your book about leaving a review. Buyers often read reviews before deciding on a purchase, so it is beneficial to have as many positive reviews possible of your book.
Provide a Goodreads giveaway
If you have a Goodreads' account, you can offer a giveaway of your book. If you don't have an account, you can set one up for free. I offered a Goodreads giveaway for both of my books last year without any additional charge other than the cost of the books and postage. Unfortunately, Goodreads is now charging a fee to offer giveaways, so this may not be as good of an option anymore. Maybe you could offer a giveaway on some other platform.
Sign up for HARO
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. Once you sign up for free, you will receive e-mails about topics that bloggers, reporters, or authors are seeking more information about. If you have experience or knowledge on particular topics, you can e-mail the contact person and give your input. If your information is used, your name and website information may also be listed. HARO is where I find out about writing this article.
Try to get awards for your book
There are many book awards you can find online. Many of them require a fee to enter. I have never paid for a review or an award for my books. I did enter them on Readers' Favorite for free, and both of my books received a Readers' Favorite Five Stars Review.
If you win awards, you can put the seals on your book. I'm not sure if this helps much, but some people may look at it more seriously if they see it has an award. I still haven't placed the seal on my Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles book, yet I seem to sell more of those than my other book (which has the seal). Although, that may not be fair because my book with the seal on the cover is only for preschool age, whereas Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles is for a wider age group - I've had people buy this book for the pickle-loving adults in their lives.
Offer a discount (or charity donation) if sell in person
If it is an option, you could offer a discount to people for buying your book in person. When I sell at a local Farmer's Market, I offer a copy of my book for $2 less than what it is available for online. In addition to a discount, they are able to receive an autographed copy, which they don't have the option of purchasing on online stores.
When I did the National Pickle Day celebration and the library presentations, I sold the books at full price, but $2 of each book was donated to a charity or to the library. It makes me feel good to be able to donate the money, and people seem to also be more willing to pay full price knowing that they are also helping a charity with their purchase.
Contribution by Brigitte Brulz
I am a homeschooling mom and author of the books Jobs of a Preschooler and Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles. My writings have appeared or are forthcoming in The Practical Homeschooling magazine, The Old Schoolhouse magazine, on Money Saving Mom, A Fine Parent, and Hands On As We Grow, where I am currently a monthly contributor. I offer free coloring pages and activity ideas on my website at http://www.brigittebrulz.com/