Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reasons your book isn't selling: Ignoring Local Marketing

 Welcome back to Reasons your book isn't selling, where every Wednesday I discuss common mistakes I see authors make that are hurting their book sales. Last time I talked about targeting the wrong audience.

Today's reason your book isn't selling: Ignoring local marketing

I feel like this is a dead horse that I've beaten, set on fire and then dragged behind a car. But here I am again, talking about local marketing, because it's still not happening for most authors. Which, I gotta tell you, makes zero sense. Not only is local marketing much more likely to have immediate results, it also tends to be free (or very cheap) and easier to implement. I've talked about using your local media, so let's branch out a bit today and discuss other local options.

Another word on media
Never underestimate the power of local celebrity. Before you start thinking about going big, look at the resources right where you are. Local media (radio, tv, newspaper) can be a lot easier to get access to than the national outlets. If you think a spot on the local media is useless, think again. Our local bookstore buyer said that every week when the paper does a book review, she has people coming in to ask if they carry that book. And I was able to book a paying speaking gig after a professor saw me on the local tv station.

Media doesn't have the only voice
There are plenty of other outlets right where you live that can help you find readers for your book. I suggest you make your first stop the chamber or commerce or visitor's bureau. These resources are there the highlight local business (hint: you are now a local business). Talk to them about ways to advertise or opportunities to get your books exposure. Don't stop there, talk to schools and other small business.

And whatever you do, don't forget the library. Not just to get your book on their shelves. Think about reading groups and club meetings. If they don't have one for you, ask to host your own or offer a workshop.

Go where the people are
No matter where you live, there are likely to be at least a few festivals or vendor events you can be a part of.  You can usually get a table at events like this for free or a very low cost.  A note on local events: You are always going to have dud events. I went to two events back to back recently and sold a grand total of four books. Not even close to being worth the gas money to get there. But who knows how many people saw my book and went home to buy it. I've also attended quite a few successful events, so you never know.

People shop in stores
Start with your local bookstore, be it a big chain or a small indie. You can ask them to keep a few copies in inventory or even offer to sell them on consignment. Just make sure you go in with your information in hand and know what you can afford to sell your books for. But don't stop with book stores. Are there other stores that would make sense for your book? A cooking supply store for your baking themed mystery? A western wear store for your cowboy romance? What about tourist stores where shoppers are on the lookout for local purchases? They might say no, but you'll never know if you don't ask.

No matter how big or small, the place you call home can have a lot to offer a local offer. Of course,  you'll need to take off your sweatpants and leave your house.

1 comment:

  1. I'm considering tech conventions for my dystopian Uploaded Fairy. (It's near future magical realism bordering on heroic fantasy, with a near future technology bent.)

    In this way I'm not trying to market to--I don't know a random example--a book club for unwed mothers. (Well that's becoming less true for Book II.)

    How long do you market a book that you feel less passion about than other target audiences? (Like increasingly I prefer writing novels for the 6th to 8th grade Honors English classroom--though certainly a dark fantasy bent.)

    ReplyDelete

Share the love, man...