Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Successful Promotion Ideas

I’ve published two books and, while I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, I’ve discovered several successful promotion ideas that have helped sell my books.

  • My mother in law: Seriously, that woman has generated more sales for me by talking to her friends, family and in some cases, complete strangers, than anyone I’ve ever met. Take advantage of your family and friends. Have them get the word out.
  • Magnets: I had business card-sized magnets made up when my first book was coming out. Because my book was being published in June, I tied it into the theme of a “beach read” and had a beach scene with my name, the title of my book, website and the release date. I mailed it to everyone I knew with a note announcing my book, giving a blurb, and providing purchase links. I hand out extras at book signings.
  • Bookmarks: For my second book, I did the same thing, but with tied it to the idea of curling up with a good book and drinking hot cocoa, since it was releasing in November. Again, I hand out extras at book signings.
  • Social media: I have an author page on Facebook, where I promote my books, post cute notes about topics related to writing, post links to my blogs when they relate to writing and generally use the page to keep people informed of my writing progress. I solicit “page likes” occasionally. I also belong to various book and writer groups on Facebook, where again, I promote my books and blogs. I use Twitter and follow editors, publishers and reviewers. I also periodically look for romance readers or chocolate or shoe lovers (since I’ve read there is a connection between liking chocolate, shoes and romance books). Once I tweet with them a few times, I usually end up with their following me as well. I tweet about my books, blogs and writing progress, as well as other things that interest me. I’ve just started using Triberr, which somehow links Twitter posts to other people and expands my reach to more than just my followers.
  • Book Signings: I participate in book festivals, library talks/shows and book signings whenever I have the chance. Check your local libraries to see if they offer author panels or local author signings. Purchase a booth at local craft fairs, country fairs, etc.
  • Gift Baskets: I contact my local PTO and other school organizations and offer to put together a book basket or two (with things such as candy, lotion, etc.) for their fundraisers, tricky trays, silent auctions and raffles. I add in my bookmarks and info about the book I DON’T include in the basket to encourage the reader to buy the other one.

What do you do?


  1. Thank you for sharing- I love book marks and think they are a fantastic way to get information out.

  2. Good suggestions, Jennifer. I've never tried the magnets, but I like the way you tied it (and the book marks) to the season.

  3. Can I borrow your mother-in-law please?? Seriously, though, I think the best advertising is 'word of mouth'.
    As you already know, I'm envious of your opportunities for book signings, author talks etc. My local bookshop does't want to know, the chain bookstore in the shoppping mall only has book signings sessions by 'celebrities' or at least well-known authors, the local libraries do very little (and have to order all their books centrally) and we don't seem to have book festivals like you do. There seem to be far fewer opportunities here for promotion and marketing.

  4. Great suggestions, Jen.

    When I am published, there will be opportunities locally for promotion : bookstore events and summer festivals. (We are a tourist area.) I have also seen self-published authors with booths at craft shows.
    I will have to tackle the "national" stage, too. Your experiences are a good help.

  5. Summer, I love bookmarks too!

    John, I originally picked magnets because I figured bookmarks weren't necessary with an e-book. I eventually caved, and now I like having a variety of goodies to hand out.

    Paula, sure! She actually just met someone on vacation who was reading. Asked what she was reading and started talking about books. The person likes romance, my mother-in-law mentioned me and supposedly she'd heard of me. I personally think the woman was just being polite, but my MIL plans to get her to buy my books by the end of the vacation. Not sure I shouldn't apologize to the woman! :)

  6. Oh, sorry Ana, I missed you there. Glad to provide you with ideas!

  7. Jennifer,

    Hands down my mom is my best promoter/sales rep. Other than books I've sold to friends and family, she's my top sales woman!

    I've done book marks and web-tours. I just wish there was a way to actually track sales based on these efforts.

    I've done book signings at local craft fairs, and these have not been successful for me. I guess that's just the way it goes.

  8. Just a postscript here - I've also printed postcards with the cover picture on the front, and the blurb on the back, followed by the download/buy links, and my website info.

  9. I love the web tours and guest blogs too, Debra.

    Paula, I haven't done postcards yet, maybe I'll try them next time.

  10. Thanks for sharing what works with you in promoting your books. you sure do have an 'ace' of a m-i-l. :-)

  11. You should try promoting on social media! Twitter is one of the most visited social media sites, and you can use it to promote your book. Keep your status updated regularly and do interact with other Twitter users. Establish your credibility and attract more followers.

    -Jean Bridges