So you have your new book, (mine’s right over, uh, down there–yeah, there it is—it’s called And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete) and you know it’s a best seller because your mother raved about it and told you to get it published. What’s next?
Like the first little piggy, you take it to market. But where, you ask? To me, that is anywhere my book can find a reader. Since this is my first book, I am focused on maximum exposure. Sales are a consideration, but word-of-mouth does the best promoting, so getting mine ‘out there’ is my first consideration.
We all know about social media and its potential, so I won’t talk about those. Here are a few other avenues I’ve explored. Not all have proven successful, but maybe a similar situation may pan out for you, which keeps you from panhandling later.
- Trade Associations: As a member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, I reached out to their online store, which serves nearly 15,000 members. Unfortunately, they took a pass, but it was worth a shot. What group do you belong to?
- Books on the Underground: Located in the UK, they accept book donations and place the books on “The Tube,” as they call their subway system. Each book is affixed with a sticker with their name and instructions to enjoy the book and leave it back on the subway when the reader is done. A similar program exists for the subway system in New York. Imagine that: my books in England and New York within days of being released (February 19th, by the way.)
- Vacation Rental Properties: I have friends who own homes that they rent out through VRBO and other organizations. They have agreed to place “house copies” of my book (you saw the pretty cover down there, right?) in their homes and I’m pitching them to buy some to include with each rental. This will place books in Puerto Rico, Oregon, and Washington, so far.
- Your Favorite Coffee Shop/Hang Out: Sometimes a tough one, but I’ve been blessed to make an agreement with Fort Collins Coffee Shop to be the exclusive seller of my book (isn’t that cover awesome?!) I will be placing two “customer shop copies” and displaying one copy. FTC Coffee will keep extras in stock. It looks as if book buyers at FTC Coffee will get a free, small sized coffee with the purchase of the book. I am working a similar agreement at the hair salon as well: a couple of customer house copies and then a display and stock to sell.
- Vacation destinations/Resorts: Many destination hotels and resorts have libraries of movies and books they allow their patrons to borrow. A donated copy or two might find a home somewhere fancy.
- Friends: Two of my high school classmates are DJ’s in the Portland, OR area. I am contacting them see if any of their station, or a sister station has programming that would lend itself to an interview, mention or other possible exposure.
- Local Sites in the Book: Ocean/beach essays are prevalent in my book. As such I’ve contacted the bakery in Cannon Beach, OR to see if they will accept a copy and possibly sell them. Through this research I have landed an ARC read with a reviewer at the Cannon Beach Bookstore, which could lead to her writing a review in the Daily Astorian Newspaper.
- Other Businesses: Doctor and dentist offices, bed and breakfasts, and any other establishment where customers loiter or have to wait are fair game (Airports, bus stations, etc.).
I’m interested in how this will play out. But I never dreamed that within 10 days of its release, copies of my book will be in ten states and six countries.
This is a small sampling of alternate marketing venues for your book. Many others exist, which means there is more work to do. I’m off to explore those, because this book is gonna be hot. Just ask my mom.
What other ideas or markets have you considered or found successful in marketing your book?
Dean is giving away one copy of his book And Then I Smiled to a U.S. or Canada resident who leaves a comment on this post before midnight Mountain Time Tuesday, February 25th. The winner will be posted here on Wednesday, Feb. 26th.
Dean is a freelance writer and professional member of Northern Colorado Writers. His work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, TROUT magazine, Torrid Literature Journal and other literary magazines. His essays won three separate contests at www.midlifecollage.com. For 26 years, Miller has kept the skies safe as an air traffic controller for the FAA In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing and volunteers for the veteran’s support group Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their two dogs, Bear and Snickers.