Author-driven marketing efforts are more accessible than ever – and you don’t even need to break the bank. The next few posts on marketing were taken from a marketing packet that fellow author Lara Zeises and I prepared for a conference.
See what you can do for free:
Design a free Web site. Try Google Pages or Yahoo! Pages for a sophisticated looking site that’s easy to produce (if you know how to type in Word, you can master this software). THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT MARKETING TOOL THAN A WEB SITE.
Learn to love social media. Whether you choose to establish yourself on Facebook, LiveJournal, Blogger, Twitter or all of the above, these social media sites are almost as important as web sites these days. Bonus points if your blog serves a function or has a distinct personality.
Post to listserves/message boards. It’s a great way to meet other authors and network outside of your local circle. Be sure to put your web and blog addresses, as well as info about your upcoming releases, in your e-mail ‘signature’.
Work the online bookstores. Create an Amazon.com “plog” (their version of a blog), or ask friends and fans to post positive reviews on BarnesandNoble.com. Don’t forget Booksense.com, the online presence for indie stores.
Create and send your own email newsletter. What better way to let everyone know what you’re up to?
Introduce yourself to booksellers and librarians. They can be your biggest advocates.
Sign stock. Don’t forget to do this when you travel as well.
Arrange readings/signings. Your publicist may be able to help with this, but if not, make an appointment to see a community relations rep or local owner where you’d like to do a reading/signing. Even if two people show up, you’ve forged a connection.
Attend free literary events. PEN New England’s Children’s Caucus offers awesome opportunities to hear other authors speak in my local area. Also, find out which authors are coming to your local libraries.
Volunteer at conferences. Often donating your time will grant you access to the conference at a reduced rate. So not only are you actively involved and meeting new people, you’re reaping the benefits of the conference itself.
Create reading/teacher guides for your book and offer them for download on your web site. Better yet, seek out a young librarian or new teacher to do the work for you as a portfolio builder.
Donate your goods/services for an auction or charity. Whether it’s a 10-page critique or signed copies of your book, you’re giving something back and getting your name out there at the same time.
Send a press release to local publications of interest – and don’t forget your alumni magazines. Often you can get your publicist to send you their version, which you can then tailor for each publication. Colleges especially love to brag about alumni accomplishments, and you never know who’ll be reading.
Open up an online store on CaféPress.com or Spreadshirt.com. It doesn’t take a lot of tech savvy to design these promo items. Get permission to use your book’s cover art, or have an artist pal whip up a logo for the fictional high school in your novel, or use royalty-free clip art.
Volunteer to speak at a school, library or conference. It’s a great way to try out new things.
Laurie Faria Stolarz’s author website: www.lauriestolarz.com
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