One of the best ways to promote your book is to hold a book-signing event. A little preparation will ensure that you maximize the event on a variety of levels.
Here is a book event by author Sam Bleakley with his first book, Surfing Brilliant Corners (Alison Hodge Publishers Penzance). It details a decade of extreme global surf travel and research in cultural tourism and geography, illustrated by John Callahan. His marketing savvy posted this image online where we found it through the SEO keywords "book signings" and were able to contact him to promote it in our own blog post.
Catapult your media by planning well in advance
Choose an interesting venue. Take time to find something that is unusual. Bookstores, libraries, churches or universities are obvious choices, but try to select novel venues. If your book is about nutrition, consider asking a local health food store if they can host you. If it's a baking book, ask a bakery to make some of the items to hand out for free while you are there. It will be a win-win, as it creates a fun event for the media to cover and you will generate more foot traffic for the venue. Just imagine the great photo op when a toddler bites into an amazing cupcake! Opportunities like this don't just happen, they are well planned in advance.
Pitch to the right people
Put together a PRESS KIT and approach someone at the venue to discuss your ideas. Make sure you have worked with a marketing specialist to create a compelling pitch. Unless you are a seasoned marketer, you will miss opportunities. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so invest in yourself and make that part count. Once there's an agreement, you are ready to begin promoting your event. The venue you choose will want to attract traffic to their business as well. Work together with the venue admins to design collateral materials. Ask if they have a newsletter that can carry the story. They know their own event calendars and print cut-off dates. They can present your promo items ahead of time to their customers and ship to any related locations. You also don’t want to be eclipsed by another event they are having. Ask what usually works best for them and get permission to use their logos and images in writing. Provide digital images and content of your own for them to post on their social media. They usually won't have time or extra staff to do this themselves.
Here are just some ideas to begin promoting your event:
- Contact the local newspaper and radio station to offer an interview. Producers and editors are always looking for the stories where local residents shine. For radio, try to suggest a call-in session where you answer listener questions on a book-related topic. Save something special that you will reveal or give away at the book signing to get people to come. You can also have a book launch party that you count down to on your social media. Invite all the local media people to the party with tickets to the VIP hour just for them. Have goody bags and lots of information in there that will promote your book. It's also okay to have non-compete item giveaways donated to your goody bag. If your book is historical in nature, it's fine to include items such as the local museum calendar in there. It's all about networking and maximizing your efforts. Have photographers handy to videotape you for YouTube, your website and future auditions.
- Promote your book signing through top social media vendors. Facebook andTwitter sell targeted ads. Their staff is always ready to help you find your target market even if you have no marketing experience. They will tell you how to create a local campaign that promotes your event. Make sure you create a special hashtag or image online that is tagged with an SEO keyword for your event. It will lead followers back to information on how to buy your book well after your book-signing event is over.
- Create a large poster with an image of you and your book, to hang on walls, doors, bulletin boards, etc. Places like Fiverr.com and 99designs.com are inexpensive for this. Add a poster to some foam backing and use a tripod to display at a location for added impact. Recycle your poster as a banner. Companies online like bannersonthecheap.com do this. A banner acts as a billboard and gets the attention of shoppers walking by. It is easy to roll up and take from place to place, or hang in the background of a media photo shoot or a retail store window. You can glue 3D items to it to make it stand out even more, like ribbons or balloons.
- Mail out postcards to everyone you know with a personal touch to invite them. You may want to offer invites who RSVP a free first chapter download as a teaser. Staples.com does postcard marketing in three easy steps. You can also achieve this online from postcard campaign vendors.
- Hold a raffle of the book on Twitter or Facebook as a promotion to announce the book launching or signing date. Make entrants eligible if they Tweet or post about the event. Companies like Rafflecopter.com do this for small or large giveaways.
- Social media is tough but it is necessary for book promotion. Work on your social media at least 6 months in advance. Try to find people and groups that would enjoy your book. For example, if your book is poetry related, follow poetry groups. If your book is about the paranormal, follow paranormal discussion groups. When people like the information you post on your bio, they usually follow back. Build a relationship with them months in advance by responding and sharing their posts. You will have accumulated potential customers who are already interested in what you do. They will be waiting to see what you have to offer them. The best part is that they have already given you permission to post in their stream. A regular email campaign requires permission to send information. Be savvy and strategic by trying to follow people in your area so they can come to your book signings.
"Tell a story that isn’t in your book to give the audience something extra. "Media Coach and Publicity Expert - Susan Harrow
For the past 25 years, Susan has been the brains and heart behind Harrow Communications, a media coaching and marketing agency based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also the author of the best-selling book, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul®: A Woman’s Guide to Promoting Herself, Her Business, Her Product or Her Cause with Integrity & Spirit (HarperCollins) and a regular contributor to the The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.
Watch the video below as Susan shares secrets of what to do ahead of engaging with any media. Follow Susan Harrow on LinkedIn
There are many more ways to prepare for a profitable book signing. Remember you are in charge of your event. You don’t want to be shy. Talk about it to everyone you meet. On the day of, be a big personality. Never just sit still. Roam around, greet people and introduce yourself. Handing out business cards or signed bookmarkers with your contact information also helps break the ice and make new friends.
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