Stepping Out of Your Book Marketing Comfort Zone

I loved being a Girl Scout, but I didn't love selling Scout cookies. Although I sold some boxes to neighbors and church friends, my total sales weren't impressive. Selling wasn't my strong suit. Memories of Girl Scout cookies came to mind while I was writing a marketing plan for my new book series. Before I started the plan, I researched sales techniques.

Some techniques were familiar to me, and others were way out of my comfort zone.

A hybrid publisher is putting out my series. Under the terms of my contract, I'm supposed to write a marketing plan, help create a press kit, pay for the kits, and other necessary supplies. All of this sounded good, and I was willing to do the work, but I was on a tight budget, a couple of hundred bucks at most.

I tried to spend my money wisely. The steps I took may help you with book marketing.

Update your business card. Your card should include a photo, your publisher's website address, your email address, and social media icons. If you haven't joined any social media, do it right away. Check the Internet for business card deals.

Get bookmarks made. This is an old idea, yet it's still a good one. A surprising amount of information fits on a bookmark. Again, include your publisher's website address, your email address, and social media icons. Your bookmark may include copy from the publisher's press release.

Create a book flyer. You could do this yourself, or hire a professional designer. My flyer was designed by a professional and it was worth the money. He sent me two files, one for the flyer, and one for a large display. Your flyer should have a photo of your book cover, your photo, and explanatory words, such as "An historical mystery."

Create a display. I took the flyer file to a local office supply store, and asked the printing folks to create a huge poster. The poster is on foam board, a mistake, because the corners bend easily. Next time I'll ask for the display to be on heavy cardboard. I bought a $25 folding easel for the poster.

Participate in book blogs. Several days ago I joined a blog for authors and bloggers who review books. Seconds after I posted my first blog, I received an email from another author. Blogs are a way for authors and readers to connect with each other. My publisher uploaded my books to a reviewers' website. Reviews are forwarded to me and I email a thank-you to every person.

Tap the power of the Net. I never thought I'd join social media networks, but I have, and it's been a learning experience. After giving it some thought, I subscribed to a service that posts information about me on social networks. The results were instantaneous and I'm hearing from people in different parts of the world. Time will tell if this exposure sells books.

Plan a book launch. The county history center is going to host a Book Launch for the first two books in my series. I think the center is willing to do this because I'm giving a free talk at the center two weeks after the launch. Hosting the Book Launch is good for the center and good for me. I'm providing coffee, cookies and handouts.

Stepping out of my book marketing comfort zone has given me the confidence to try new marketing ideas. Even if you couldn't sell Girl Scout cookies, or were good at school fundraisers, don't underestimate yourself. You've worked hard, are proud of your book, and be proud to let others know about it.