Three ways for authors to promote their new book

This is obvious, but essential. Connecting with a local bookseller is vital to promoting your book. Most booksellers see your book title listed in their wholesale catalogs. All you need to do is remind them it’s there and then see if they’ll host an event. Be sure to contact the bookstore’s event coordinator, not the store’s book buyer. The PR  & Events Coordinator schedules store events like readings and book signings and is the best point of contact for a newly published author.

Consider non-bookstore venues. Schools, public libraries, or other venues may have suitable audiences for your book title. Don’t just assume that your audience only buys books at Barnes & Noble. Libraries are great places to read. I’ve read in various locations including a tavern, café, ballroom, art studio, church and several other places. One author I know had a reading at a chocolate shop. Be creative with your events.

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are great tools to promote your book. If you don’t have an account, you’re already behind. Be authentic and approachable on these sites. If you sound like you’re a pushy salesperson, you’ll lose your audience. Share with your social media audience the same way you approach your book reading audience. Make converts from social media followers to book buyers.

Advice to authors regarding indie bookstores and Amazon.com

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) offers advice to authors seeking to work with indie books stores:

  • Know the Marketplace
  • Know Who And How To Contact
  • Know the Terms (i.e. your business arrangement with the bookstore)
  • Don’t shoot yourself in the foot (avoid mentioning that you book is available on Amazon.com)

This is good advice for authors when working with indie booksellers. The operative words are “with indie booksellers.” Truth be told, the majority of the sales for books I’ve helped publish come from Amazon.com. The reason for this, I suspect, is that Amazon.com is where the masses go to buy books.

Know that I am a big supporter of indie bookstores. But I’m also practical and know that indie bookstores attract a niche audience of readers. Some book titles do better at indie bookstores than others. For example, if you’re a local writer with a book on regional hiking trails or you’re a local poet with a book, you may do better at an indie store than on Amazon.com. That being said, Amazon offers a 45/55 terms of sale (a smidge better than indie stores offering a 40/60 terms of sales). That may not seem like much, but if you’re a small publisher, that 5% difference may cover cost of shipping products to bookstores which directly impacts breakeven numbers for book titles.

As an author (or small press publisher), know that you have sales options. And avoid mentioning Amazon.com when working with indie booksellers — it gives them ulcers.

Link: How To Market Your Book to Independent Bookstores