Publicity is crucial to book sales. Unfortunately, many publishers are cutting back on marketing. Your book may be the best thing since sliced bread, but I guarantee that sliced bread will get more publicity. What can you do if you don't have the money to hire a marking firm? Here are some ideas to get your book and name noticed.
GO THE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ROUTE. Colleges and universities are always looking for speakers. It there is a college or university in your town contact the Library Director and offer to speak. Follow-up by delivering an information packet about your book to the library.
CONTACT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. Public libraries offer free presentations and seminars to the public. Call the Program Director and offer to speak about your book. Be precise. "I will speak for a half hour, answer questions, and provide handouts." The library schedule may already be full and, if this is the case, ask the library to put your name on next year's list.
TAP SERVICE CLUBS. Every community has service groups and you should find a list of them in the phone book. Select a few groups, contact them, and offer to speak at early morning, noon time, and evening meetings. Before you call, make sure your presentation has a snappy title and broad appeal.
THINK SEASONAL. Most communities have seasonal events, starting with Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas. Ask around and you may be able to get early information about these events. There may be a Calendar of Events in your phone book. Contact the event chairperson and ask if you can speak at the event and autograph books.
CONTACT LOCAL CHURCHES. You will find a list of churches in the phone book. Large churches tend to have their own educators/speakers, but smaller churches may welcome a free speaker. Offer to speak at book clubs, luncheon meetings, and study groups.
SEND OUT A MEDIA RELEASE. Write a concise release and send it to the Book Editor and Lifestyle Editor of your local newspaper. Enclose a copy of your book and any favorable reviews your book has received.
WRITE SMALL NEWSPAPERS. Small town newspapers are always looking for stories. Look on the internet for a list of newspapers in your state. This list contains the names of the newspapers, the towns they serve, and the circulation. Choose selected newspapers, such as those with a circulation of 5,000-20,000, and send them a letter. Enclose a media release with your letter.
PARTICIPATE IN BLOGS. Surf the internet and you will find a variety of blogs. Choose a few blogs and email a few short paragraphs about your book to them. Blog postings will get your name and book circulating on the internet.
Keep track of your marketing and publicity efforts, especially the dates. Six months from now recontact these organizations and groups. One well-received talk can spark sales and lead to word-of-mouth publicity - the best publicity for any author. Good luck!
Copyright 2006 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Jounrlists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. Another review is posted on the American Hospice Foundation website under the "School Corner" heading.