Remember the good old days before the internet made everything so gosh-darned easy? Remember driving around with boxes of books in the back of your car, hawking to bookstores and selling at festivals and pretty much pounding the pavement to drum up ALL your sales? No? Well, to be fair, neither do I since I began my writing career online, but I have a point to make, so let me get there. When marketing your book, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world that exists offline. Online marketing can be the easiest, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just marketing online. Get out into the ‘real world’ with these offline marketing tips to sell more books.
When marketing your book, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world that exists offline. Online marketing can be the easiest, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just marketing online. I know several authors who really get out into the community and get engaged with people about their books. Rebecca Patrick-Howard is AH-MAZING at this. So is Tonya Kappes. Both write in extremely different genres, but both know how to make the most of their offline market. Get out into the ‘real world’ with these offline tips to sell more books.
Trust me when I say that it takes more than just ebooks and online marketing to really sell books and grow a fanbase. It also takes a little stepping out into the real world in order to spread the word about your books.
Give stuff away
The best way to get people to read your book is to get it into their hands, so if you have your book in paperback form, buy several copies to give away to potential readers. Give them away to people who are likely to leave you a review on Amazon or Goodreads, and don’t forget to ask if they want their copy signed by the author.
If your book is a children’s book, gift a copy to your local school, your public library, or one of your local daycare centers. Be sure to include information on where parents, teachers, and caregivers can get additional copies. You may want to inquire about doing a ‘free’ reading for one of these places in exchange for allowing the children to take home order forms for your book.
If your book is non-fiction, see if you can find a group or business that deals with the niche you have written about. Look for events that relate to the subject matter of your book and see if you can get involved in some way.
Print up business cards or bookmarks featuring your book. Give these out wherever you go, when appropriate. Make sure your contact information and information on how to order the book is printed on the cards and bookmarks. Whether you just have an ebook or both print and digital copies, get your book’s info into people’s hands and in front of their eyes offline to see more sales online.
Ask your library and local bookstores if you can do a free reading or give a presentation about getting your book published. As a local author with experience, you’ll be a welcome authority for many creative writing groups and other people in the community who want to learn how to get their own books published.
Show potential readers why they should buy your books. Let them know you’re not all about “buy my book”, that you actually give a hoot about the community you live in. Get involved in community events like festivals and fairs. Set up a booth so you can sell your books and sign autographs. You may find yourself becoming a local celebrity if you do it often enough.
A word of warning: If you don’t actually care about your community/charity/other great thing and you are in this just to make money, stop reading this and sod off. You’re in it for the wrong reasons, and that never equates to great success.
Always carry copies of your book with you
Even if you never planned on selling print books, have some made up via Createspace. It’s free to set it up, you can grab copies cheaply when you buy directly through CS, and it looks great to have a copy of your book lying around. Besides, some people (like my mom, my aunt, and my friend, children’s book author Elle Alexander) still hate ebooks. Those people (I’m talking to you, Elle!) are diehard hardcopy book fanatics, and they will never, ever read your book.
Here’s one more tip that’s great if you want an instant conversation starter or just a reminder of why you’re writing your books. Save a copy of your book’s cover to your cell phone, then set it as your wallpaper/screensaver. I change mine whenever I release a new book. If I get tired of looking at the same cover, it’s a great reminder that it’s time to release the next book!
(Here’s mine…that’s one of my pen name books, and my fat writer’s fingers!)
You never know when you’ll be able to spark up a conversation about your book. Be proud of being a published author; it’s not easy writing an entire book and learning how to format it for print. Be ready to answer questions about your book and the process you used to get it finished. You never know who you’ll run into throughout your day to day life. You might be surprised to find that there are lots of people out there ‘in the real world’ that would love to know more about you and your books, they just have to know where to find them.
What are your personal favorite ways to market your books offline? Please share with the rest of the class in the comments section down below!