How to Market Your Book Without Paying a Penny!

by | Aug 22, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics

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When I worked with a pharmaceutical company last year, I noticed that one of the ways they generated positive PR was to donate products and basic necessities to struggling community health centers and clinics. The company even sponsored its own clinics and would perform routine check-ups for children at schools in impoverished neighborhoods.

Library at the De La Salle College of Saint Be...

Image via Wikipedia

The story would get picked up by a local newspaper or news station and helped to spread the message that our company cared about the surrounding community. It was a great marketing strategy since people appreciate companies that give back to the community. When they see companies donating their time and products to help their children and neighbors, they are more inclined to purchase from the company.

This strategy worked for a large pharmaceutical company, but it also works for authors who are trying to market a new book. Here are two simple ways that authors can give back to the community without making monetary donations:

Kids at the library

Image by mamamusings via Flickr

1. Donating product – In this case, the product is the new book that the author is promoting. Offer to donate a few copies of the book to help build a new public library or build up the collection in a struggling library. If applicable, offer to donate the book to a school library if the school is having trouble affording books. This will show the community that you care about others strengthening their reading skills and are donating materials to help them accomplish their reading goals. Parents and adults who have reading problems will be very appreciative of the new material to help them learn a vital skill.

Volunteer reading to kids in the library room

Image via Wikipedia

2. Donating time by offering a free reading – Offer to read the book at a local library and then sign copies of it at the end. People appreciate it when authors take time out of their busy schedules to read their books to the audience. If it is a great book, people will be inclined to purchase a copy to re-read and share with friends who will also go out and buy the book. If applicable, offer to read the book to a classroom. If the children like it, they will ask their parents to buy the book. Parents are more likely to go ahead and purchase the book because you showed that you care about the children developing their reading skills.


Image by HatM via Flickr

When you follow any of these two tips, it is possible that a local newspaper or news station will pick up the story. You could be interviewed afterwards and given the opportunity to give a brief synopsis of the book along with a cliffhanger which will entice others to purchase the book and read it for themselves. It will also show the community that you care about the importance of literature and they will be more inclined to support those that support their kids, friends, and neighbors. Philanthropy is a great way to generate positive PR while giving back to the community: a true win-win situation!

Guest post by Adam Bruk, who is a marketing specialist for an online sunglasses company, When he isn’t busy analyzing retail trends in men’s sunglasses, he enjoys golfing, playing football, and reading case studies about successful advertising campaigns.



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