Here in Kentucky it is “Primary Election Day” and for the last several weeks we have been bombarded with ads and signs all over town to vote for this, that, or the other. It dawned on me as I filled out my ballot that promoting your book is much like campaigning for election. Why? Because as I looked down the list I realized that I knew a lot of the names because I saw them everywhere. Then there were some candidates that I had never heard of because they didn’t have any kind of sign posted nor did they mail out any advertisements. That’s kind of what it is like for me when I browse Amazon or Smashwords. I’m looking for the names I know.
You can have all the fabulous reviews you want, but if nobody sees your book out “there” the chances of someone stumbling upon you and deciding to buy your book are about a million to one. So, what’s an author to do? Advertise in some way in “real life”! I’m not talking about spamming your Twitter feed or buying campaign yard signs. Nope. I’m saying go places and post about your book. Join local groups with other authors. Advertise in your local community paper. Put your book in your local library. Ask if you can leave bookmarks or post cards around town in different shops. Have interesting character art from your books? Make t-shirts featuring the characters and wear them to your dreaded day job. Sign up to go to area events where you may be able to set up a booth and sell books or at least hand out freebies. Most towns around here have “local art days” and I bet your area does too.
I have tried most of these things and I really do think it helps gain exposure. I am at times painfully shy, but I have been trying to be at more public events and do things like radio interviews. In fact, at a live event this past weekend, somebody saw one of my various bookmarks and asked me if I had made them. I said yes and they in turn told me they had one of them on their desk at home from a local grab bag. I was excited to see that people held on to them!
So, get out there and start campaigning your book/name in your local area. Sure, if you’re not on the internet you don’t exist these days, but that can also be true when it comes to having a local presence.