Ten Tips for New Authors

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by Suzanne Woods Fisher

So…you’ve got a book contract. Congratulations! But now it’s time to sell your book. Your publisher has a marketing plan, but the focus is on retail outlets. You want to try to help your book gain altitude. But how?

By thinking small – book by book, reader by reader. You can make a difference! You are able to reach pockets of readers that your publisher can’t.

Here are my ten best tips to help maximize exposure for your book:

• Consider hosting a “book launch party” to help kick off the buzz. Some authors do a local launch party with family and friends. Others do a virtual party, on-line, through Facebook. You might need to invest some of your advance money, but the pay-off is substantial.

• Ask your blog readers/friends/family to “suggest a purchase” of your book at their local library.

• Offer promotional postcards and bookmarks in your newsletter. (You have a newsletter, right?) Invite friends and readers to send out stamped postcards (you provide stamps and postcards) to their reader-friends.

• Call your local bookstores and ask if they might do a book signing for you. Then offer to help publicize on your blog/website/FB/Twitter by sending out info to your local following. Start a buzz to bring in customers for your event.

• How’s your website looking? Is it a little outdated? Amateurish? Here’s the litmus test: if you’re using your church directory photo, it’s time to upgrade. Consider spending some money for a polished, easy-to-navigate website and customized blog. This kind of “branding yourself” investment will pay off. I promise.

• On your website, offer to attend book clubs that read your book-in person, if local, via speaker phone or Skype if they’re not. A nice touch is to send bookmarks or gourmet chocolates or a cookbook-some kind of inexpensive prize to the hostess that she can provide to the club.

• Offer to send signed bookplates and bookmarks to interested fans. (It’s possible that you’ll need to order these yourself.)

• Contact local writers’ groups and introduce yourself. Offer to speak about your book or your journey to publication. Even if their calendar might be scheduled out for a while, at least you’re on their radar. Usually, you’ll be invited to sell your books at the event.

• Don’t underestimate consignment sales of your book in unexpected places (usually a 60/40 arrangement with books from your inventory). Consider retail shops or outlets that have some kind of connection to your book-a World War II museum shop for war novels, a gift shop for a gift book. It’s no risk to the owner and targets your readership.

• Anytime (anywhere-even on vacation) you pass a bookstore, stop in and introduce yourself. Offer to sign your in-stock books. The bookstore managers want you to do this! Often, they will put an “Autographed By” sticker on the cover. A little boost to draw attention to your book.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Book by book, reader by reader.

Feel free to contact me at suzanne@suzannewoodsfisher.com if you have questions about ways to help boost your book’s exposure. I’ll do all I can to help you.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. She hosts a weekly radio show, Amish Wisdom, and is a columnist for Christian Post. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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