I usually talk about promoting your book online but today I thought you might appreciate a few ‘offline’ ideas. I have one caveat when it comes to offline marketing; avoid any advertising, i.e. direct mail, newspaper ads. Remember the difference between marketing and advertising is money and direct mail and print advertising are generally expensive and ineffectual. You’ll also want to bear in mind that when you market offline you need to build relationships just like when you market online.
Try out a few of these suggestions:
1. Business Cards – Create a tagline; mine is only three words long ‘Boost Book Sales’ include, the also name of your book, your website or blog URL, email address, etc.
2. Book Marks – A book mark is like your book having it’s own business card. Include the ‘Elevator Pitch’ version of your book synopsis, a picture of the cover of your book, the ISBN, the publisher’s name and where to purchase your book. Leave some with the library, the bookstore, book clubs and writer groups; basically wherever readers gather.
3. Indie Bookstores – Visit a bookstore near you, introduce yourself as an author from the area and make friends. You might even want to stop by with a gift [maybe cookies, muffins or something to commemorate the season] on occasion just to say ‘Hi’ (http://www.indiebound.org/).
4. Libraries – I have a friend who advocates hugging a librarian today. It’s not that librarians don’t deserve it but I’m afraid they might call the police. Seriously, libraries and librarians are so generous with their multitude of knowledge and resources that you should take advantage of what they have to offer, like, perhaps volunteer opportunities. You could volunteer to read at the childrens’ or families’ storytime events, do a live reading of an excerpt of your book or help organize a fundraiser. Don’t forget to issue a press release!
6. Book Signings – Be creative about where you plan a book signing, for instance, have you written a graphic novel, gardeners how-to guide or self‑help book? How about a signing at a comic book store, the gardening department at the local warehouse store?
7. Meet & Greets – Get some bibliophiles, a few fruit, cheese and veggie platters together and just spend an hour or two getting to know each other.
8. Interviews – Radio Locator is great for helping you put together a local or regional media list; when I entered my zip code it listed 74 stations! Make contact (via phone or in person; email is too easy to delete or ignore) explain why you’re calling, do a quick pitch [You have developed your ‘elevator pitch’ haven’t you?] and ask if they’d be interested in an interview. RadioGuestList.com is another source to help you find the booking agents interested in finding radio and TV show and podcast interview guests.
9. Schools and Colleges – These institutions are not only possibilities for live readings and speaking engagements but consider college writing classes to assist you when looking for critique readers or when trying to find a low-cost graphic designer who might be interested in adding to his portfolio with a publishing project.
10. Sponsor a Contest or Giveaway at a Local Event – Is there a flea market or farmer’s market in your area?
11. Create a Media Kit – Include a synopsis of your book (with a picture of the cover), a sample Q&A, your bio (include your picture), an author’s statement (why you love writing, what you’ve written, your inspiration, etc.) and a Q&A. Assemble it in a two pocket folder and make use of the media list you created after reading #8.
12. You not only want to target your readers but also target your market places; make a list of bookstores and their buyers, newspapers their appropriate columnists and journalists, radio stations, events, etc. where you’ll market your book.
13. Public Service Announcement – This is a shorter version of a press release delivered to radio stations or community news departments in TV stations so that you may be listed on community calendars. Tips for PSAs: · It should be a one paragraph write-up · Answer Who, what, when where, why and how · Use the first paragraph of your press release to create your PSA · Include your contact information · Print it out on your letterhead
14. Invite media to your event – Another reason to have a media kit and media resource list.
15. Mail thank you notes or cards – remember all marketing is relationship oriented Either offline or on, the best marketing tactic is to combine your methods. Join your online and offline tactics.