Treasure Fest

Treasure Fest on Treasure Island

Whether you have a traditional publisher or are an indie author, you need to market your books. Unless you’re a celebrity, publishers don’t have much, if any, marketing budget. Indie authors need to do everything themselves unless they hire someone to do it for them. Many authors struggle with how to find buyers for their books, and with good reason.

There are thousands of books in bookstores, and even more on Amazon. Your book–if you’re lucky enough to get it on the bookstore shelves–will be lost in a sea of tomes. How do you get your book noticed when there is so much competition? Book signings help, but most authors report few sales at these events. If this is your experience, maybe it’s time to get creative and start thinking outside the bookstore.

Depending on the genre of your book, there could be dozens of ways for you to find potential readers of your book. If you’ve already published a book, you should know your target audience, so the first step to finding readers is already done. The next step is to figure out where your readers are, and then go hang out there. If you can’t hang out there, find a way to establish a presence by leaving flyers, bookmarks, or business cards.

For example, if you write fantasy books, you might try promoting your book at renaissance festivals. If chick lit is your thing, you might try getting the word out at spas or salons. If you have established a relationship with the business, they might let you post a flyer or leave some bookmarks, or even a copy of the book.

Magazines are a good avenue for introducing your book, either with an article, advertising, or a book review. I know someone who has published several books about model fire engines. He advertises in a model fire engines magazine and has seen the advertising boost his sales.

Since my book is a life transformation story wrapped in an RV travel adventure, I queried Escapees magazine to see if they were interested in publishing an excerpt from my book. They declined the excerpt, but offered to have their book reviewer read the book. Her review will be published in the September issue and she said she loved the book, so I’m hoping to see an uptick in sales next month.

Farmers markets, craft and street fairs, and art and music festivals are another way to sell books. Usually there is charge for the booth space, and you may need to buy a canopy, but sometimes you can use a community service booth at your local market. Next Sunday I’ll be doing that at the Martinez farmer’s market, where they support members of the community such as local authors like me by providing a booth free of charge.

Here are some additional venues for marketing your books:

  • Book clubs
  • Gift shops, including museums
  • Airports
  • Libraries
  • Medical and dental offices
  • Podcasts
  • Radio Shows
  • Businesses that serve your target audience

If you have any other ideas for promoting books, please post them in the comments. See you at the farmer’s market!

6 thoughts on “Authors, Think Outside the Bookstore

  1. Another great article, Heidi! I love learning about your experience as a writer and publisher, and I really appreciate how you share your knowledge with the rest of us. I’m very excited about your book review coming out in September, and think having a table at the farmers market will be a great experience for you. I hope you have a lot of people who will come by to talk to you and buy your book. I’ll look forward to your next blog about your experience there. In the meantime, best of luck with your sales, and finding new venues to promote your book. I thought your five years on the road with Rylie was an adventure, but see that this is too! Enjoy the trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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