Publicizing Your Book
Do it yourself, using:
Many authors are hiring a publicist to increase exposure for their books to major media. Since even trade publishers are delegating promotion to authors, with minimal assistance from the publisher's publicity department, it's not just self-publishers who have to figure out how to get the book noticed. Before you hire a publicist, make sure you understand how much this will cost, with details on exactly what the publicist will do and what you're expected to do to cooperate with his/her efforts. Some p.r. firms handle publicity on a "per placement" basis. Read this article by Joan Stewart (The Publicity Hound, www.PublicityHound.com) to understand some of the problems this might entail: http://tinyurl.com/2w5mfh.
A publicist I can recommend:
Randy Ray is a colleague who helps authors, publishers, businesses,
associations and charities in Ottawa and across Canada secure interviews,
feature stories, and reviews in some of the most important broadcast and
print media in Canada, including CBC Radio, The Globe & Mail, The Toronto
Star, and CTV News.
Your project, whether it's a new book, or the launch of an innovative
product or service, could be the next to appear in these and other media outlets.
And the cost of getting your name into the public eye will be very affordable.
Visit Randy's Web site www.randyray.ca or contact him at (613) 731-3873
CREATE EFFECTIVE PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS
Have bookmarks printed with your book covers. Be sure to include your website on the front, and print adhesive labels to stick on the back with full contact information.
Postcards of various sizes can be effective marketing tools. Hand them out at meetings, mail them to your target market, use them as greeting cards. Divide the postcard in half, using your book cover on half of the front, with the other half free for the recipient's address and a stamp. On the back, put your book blurb and contact information, leaving a space for a personal message.
When I had Mewsings/Musings printed, I had bookmarks and greeting cards printed while the color cover was on the press. Then they were all laminated for durability. The greeting card looks like a mini version of the book, but inside there is a description and ordering info behind the front of the card, and the space where one would normally have a message has just "Best wishes" and "Love & purrs, Simon Teakettle" with a space between them for a Christmas seal, birthday sticker, or hand-written message. I have used these as Christmas cards, birthday cards to media contacts, thank-you notes, and enclosures in gift books.
PREPARE FOR A SUCCESSFUL BOOK LAUNCH OR SIGNING
Although any store, library, or other venue that is willing to have you use their space for a book launch or signing will provide a table and chairs, these are often neither attractive nor comfortable. Bring along a large vinyl tablecloth (a solid color is always best) and a chair cushion which will not only provide comfort but also keep your good clothing from being snagged on the edge of chair seat in poor condition.
Buy a stand for your book. There are nice acrylic holders that will keep the book standing at an angle, protect the cover and support the back. But you can improvise with a wire stand. Make sure that if it tends to collapse or tip, you bring along something to brace the edges. Votive candle holders weighted with sand (topped with a candle, decorative pebbles, or shells) work well. Experiment at home and see what works best.
If you have an extra cover for your book (I always make sure the printer gives me several of these) you can insert it into an inexpensive standing photo frame. Again, you can improvise by backing the cover with heavy cardboard and putting it on a wire stand.
Buy an attractive notebook that opens flat to use as a guest book. This is a great way to obtain names and e-mail addresses from those who stop by the table, whether or not they purchase a book. You should use a red pen to place a mark beside the name of anyone who buys one or more books. I use a check mark for one book, the actual number for multiple copies.
Keep a careful log of purchases on a clipboard facing you (the guest book should face your visitors).
Bring promotional materials to give everyone who walks by. Bookmarks or postcards with your book cover, a short blurb and your web page are inexpensive and work well. You might also have brochures or flyers on hand, as well as business cards.
You don't need an actual cash box. A cigar box or similar container works just fine. Obtain small bills and change as a "floater" and keep the box closed between transactions.
Make sure you have a couple of nice pens to sign books. Select pens with ink that dries quickly and doesn't smear. Decide in advance how you're going to sign. It's much too time-consuming to personalize every book with a long message. Do ask if the book is a gift, and have a scratch pad handy so the purchaser can write the name for you, to eliminate misspellings. I sign most books "B.F. Graham," but if I know the person they receive a book signed "Bobbi" and I vary my signature from "Best wishes" to "Fondly" depending on how well I know the buyer.
If this is a book launch, prepare a very short speech and a short reading. Rehearse, speak clearly and loud enough to be heard from the back (it helps to ask a friend to stand at the very back and give you a hand signal if your voice is too faint). Stand when you speak, and have your reading printed on cards in an extra large font to make it easier. Select what you plan to wear with TV coverage in mind. ( Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity has a section on this) and give a friend your digital camera so you'll have your own photos from the event, even if someone else is taking pictures for you.
Instead of a bottle of water, bring an attractive thermal mug you can refill as necessary. Make sure you arrange for someone to relieve you at the table if you need to leave to go to the washroom. Even if you take the cash box with you, books left unattended tend to "walk" when there's no one watching!
Don't forget to write a thank-you note to whoever has hosted your launch or signing.
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