After months or years of painstaking work writing, editing, and crafting your book, it’s finally ready for the world. But how do you get people to read it?
But if you’re looking to reach a broader audience, consider a few of these promotional techniques to expand your reach and get your shiny new book in the hands of new and eager readers.
1. Promote your book on local radio
Seek out your local community radio stations and see if they’re up for a Q-and-A session with a local author. Put together a press release about your book, send it out to stations, and use your sleuthing skills (and contacts if you have them) to find the right person at the station.
If you live in a smaller community, it will likely be easier to get some airtime than if you’re in a big city. However, it’s always worth a try, and community radio stations are often eager to discuss books and authors, especially if they correlate with current hot topics in the news.
2. Get your book launch on the local news station
Local news stations are always in need of fresh content, and a local author’s book release can often make for a great story, especially if you’re located in a smaller market.
Stations, especially smaller ones, are often seeking feel-good local news stories, and your launch can sometimes fit the bill. Local morning news and talk shows are often especially interested in this type of story. Reach out to explain your book and what you can share with viewers.
It will likely take some persistence get on air, but let them know you’re available as a last minute fill-in in case one of their scheduled guests cancels.
If you’re in a major metropolitan area, it might be tricky to get a placement, but you can also consider contacting other markets (such as the town you grew up in or the city your book is set in) to increase your odds of getting on the air.
3. Become a local expert
Is your book about an unusual topic like deep-sea gold mining or the personal lives of clowns? How about something less esoteric, like parenting?
Whatever your book is about, authors who have done a ton of research on a subject are great de-facto experts for TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. Promoting a book for your launch is a great one-time boost, but building a relationship to become a local expert can offer long-range publicity.
Send press releases to media and work to make contacts and build relationships with media representatives so you’re someone they think of when they need an expert on a topic.
4. Promote yourself as a national expert
When reporters are writing a story, they often need to track down experts, and experienced reporters always have a number of tricks up their sleeves to find great sources.
One of these is Help a Reporter Out, commonly known as “HARO.” This service allows journalists to send out a query to a wide selection of potential experts, who then respond in hopes of being selected for an interview. You can sign up for the service and become one of these experts.
The downside is that you may receive a lot of emails for other topics, but if you’re willing to wade through the queries and respond quickly for the best shot at being selected for an interview, this is a valuable tool for promoting your book.
5. Offer free giveaways
Sometimes giving your book away for free is a great way to build buzz.
This doesn’t mean you have to offer it as a “permafree” book always available for free download. You can simply give away a certain number of free copies. A popular way to do this is to have people sign up for your newsletter or mailing list and enter them in a competition for a free copy.
Facebook and Twitter are also good ways to give away your book. You could even have people comment on a post about a giveaway and then use a random number generator to select the commenter that wins the free book (for example, if the generator selects 12, the person with the 12th comment wins). If people are interested enough to enter a competition to win a copy, they just might buy a copy to read or pass along to a friend even if they aren’t the winner.
6. Donate your book as a charity raffle item
Nonprofits love receiving prizes they can give away as raffle items or sell at auctions—such as an autographed copy of a local author’s book.
Reach out to local nonprofits to see if they would like to receive a few copies of your book. Consider especially reaching out to nonprofits with related missions. If your book is about dogs, donate a few copies to a local animal rescue organization. If you wrote a children’s novel, consider donating a few copies to a local kids’ organization or school.
In addition to getting your book in fresh hands, you’ll also receive free promotion when they announce the prize. You’ll also know you’re helping the community, and potentially even receiving a tax write-off (but check with your accountant or tax preparer to be sure).
7. Offer free sample chapters
Ice cream shops know that if you’re not sure about the new caramel sea salt ice cream flavor, offering a free sample is a great way to get people to try it out and fall in love with it.
The same applies to books. While people may not want to spend money on a book they’re not sure if they’ll like, many are happy to spend some time checking out a free chapter on your website or as a free ebook giveaway.
If they can’t put your book down, they’ll likely buy the complete book to find out what happens next. It’s hard to put down a page turner!
Sure, not everyone who reads a free sample chapter will purchase the book, but some will. And these people may just turn into devoted fans eagerly awaiting your next release.
What methods have helped you promote your book?