Christine Hohlbaum

Article Summary:

Free book marketing ideas for authors.

Free Book Marketing Ideas

You have a great story idea you're sure everyone will want to read. You manage to put it down on paper, pass it around various places, and get it published. Congratulations! Now the fun begins.

To be a great writer is an innate gift. To be a great writer whose work people actually read, you have to have yet another talent: marketing. Someone once said selling a book involves 5% really great writing and 95% even better marketing. Look at any bestseller list, and you will see what I say is true: unless your last name is Grisham, you'll need to do a lot of footwork first.

The good news is you can do a lot of marketing on a shoestring budget. With the advent of the Internet, reaching your target audience has never been easier. Think you can't spread the word about your great new release cheaply and fast? Think again!

The most important thing is to know your target audience. It wouldn't make sense to pitch your book to an auto mechanic's magazine editor if you've written a book about quilting. Once you have determined your readership, it's time to get creative.

Book signings at local bookstores can add to your profile as a local author. Contact the store manager with a press release and a copy of your book in hand. If you are marketing a children's book, make certain that there is a children's section in the bookstore in which you are doing the book signing. Again, knowing the target audience of the bookstore can assist you in getting a "yes" from the store owner versus a "rather not". Once the book signing date is secured, tell the world about it!

Internet radio is a relatively new medium. Do an internet search to determine which programs suit you. Ask around or notice other people's message posts. When they announce an upcoming radio interview that addresses your target audience, check out the station's Web site. I have secured many interviews by watching others succeed first.

Networking is an important factor in making yourself and your work known. There are many social networking sites which are generous and helpful, that allow you to network with all kinds of people for free.

There are also several free press release services which get your news on the web fast and free. Most offer the option to pay for additional exposure: The more you pay, obviously, the more you will be exposed to the right eyes. I actually opted for the free service on one major site, and got my very first fan e-mail that way. A side benefit is that your release will then appear on the major search engines which is more free exposure.

Providing webmasters and ezine publishers with free, well-written articles can be an extremely powerful marketing tool. Within four months, I have been published in over one-hundred twenty publications both on- and off-line due to this method of marketing. In addition, it is a great way to reach your target audience because your Web link and bio are included with every article.

An added benefit to the ezine approach is the network that you are able to create. I have two regular columns at women's Web sites because they used one of my free articles, and I offered to provide them with more. In addition, after using my articles, several Web sites have placed my book in their bookstores or on their recommended reading lists simply because I asked!

Author interviews are a great way to get exposure. Unfortunately, much like book reviews, they can be hard to get. I created a simple Q&A; about my book which I would attach to follow-up e-mails to reviewers and the like. On several occasions, webmasters were grateful that I saved them the time of "having to interview me". They would simply post my Q&A; on their sites. Viola! An instant author interview was born.

Contacting your local paper for a feature article about your accomplishments will often lead to great publicity. After landing a page-length article in my hometown paper, I managed to receive e-mails from old high school friends that I hadn't seen in ten years. People tend to buy your book if they know a bit about you, the author.

The short of it is this: set a goal, write it down, and put it where you can see it. You can achieve your dreams if you have it in front of you at all times. If there is a will, there truly is a way.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is the author of several books, including a turn-key marketing program, The Author's Companion: A Self-Guided Course on Book Promotion. She has been published in over 120 publications and offers affordable PR consulting for authors. www.authors

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