When a lot of authors start brainstorming book promotion ideas, they find themselves thinking about professional reviews or securing interviews with big media outlets, and they think this is the way to sell more books.
That’s because most authors either don’t realize, or lose sight of the fact, that 95% of books are bought based on personal recommendations.
That’s staggering, isn’t it? It also means you’re better off focusing more on creative book promotion ideas that get books in real readers’ hands – and less on the idea of what could happen with a long-shot magazine feature.
So with real readers in mind, I think it’s time for more authors to get savvy about putting themselves out there.
Collaborating with Book Clubs
If your book is in a genre that’s typically popular with book clubs, it’s possible that some in your area will find and contact you. However, this is more likely if you’ve had local publicity, which I’ve written about a lot and encourage you to revisit using the Resources section at the end of this piece!
But if book clubs aren’t already knocking down your door, it’s time to get more proactive. And if I’m being honest, nearly all the book promotion ideas worth their salt require you to be proactive – and then some.
Start with Your Inner Circle
Ideally one of your friends or acquaintances belongs to a book club. Start there. It’s a common hurdle I see with authors I work with, many are timid about tapping into their own networks, but you really have to get over that. Send an email out, ask who is in a book club or has a close friend who is active in a book club, and ask if they’d be willing to feature your book. I’ll share more tips on how to sweeten the deal and be prepared in just a moment.
Check Out Where Book Clubs Meet
Visit your local library, coffee shops, breweries or wine bars – modern places where book clubs often meet and ask the owner or manager if they can give you the contact information for the club’s organizer.
If they’re not comfortable doing so, leave your name, contact info, and book materials, like a one-sheet, with the owner to share with the organizer.
If you live in an area that has other popular venues where crowds gather, check them out too. When you’re coming up with local book promotion ideas, there’s no such thing as being too creative.
Get Personal with Locally-Owned Bookstores
Bookstores often host book club meetings, and if not, I assure you they’re in touch with more than a few organizers and members. Stop in just like you would for other venues, talk to the owner or manager, and see what you can do about getting introduced to some of the right people.
Find Book Clubs Through Online Reading Communities
Goodreads, Online Book Club and Librarything are all platforms solely dedicated to book lovers and authors, and shouldn’t be ignored. Yes, these likely won’t be local to you, but at least you know you’re pitching a captive audience – which means your chances for success increase dramatically.
Remember, these sites cater to different genres and niches, so get as specific as you can about who you plan to reach out to. You’ll likely have a better shot pitching a group with a few dozen members than you will one with hundreds of members.
Browse Genre Specific Resources
Some genres go out of their way to highlight book clubs that are on their radar. Examples include the African American Literature Book Club, which lists clubs across the country by name with contact information. Do some searching online to see what comes up for your genre. Hint: this is where digging into your subgenre or niche themes will really serve you well.
Source Help Through Social Media
This is an extension of your personal network, but social media gives you a much farther reach. Design a really compelling post with the cover of your book included and whatever deal or bonus you can offer book clubs (yes, your book promotion ideas should always include a bank of special offers) and ask friends and family to share it or tag their friends.
MeetUp Might Be Your Gold Mine
Check out www.meetup.com/topics/bookclub to see a full list of MeetUps that have categorized themselves as book clubs. You might even find a few in your geographical area that you missed in all your other local searching.
Book Promotion Ideas for Pitching Book Clubs
You need to have a book club guide ready to go. If you have a website, keep it there as a standard download offer – consider making it part of the bonus for signing up for your newsletter! Of course not everyone who signs up will be a part of a book club, but they might know someone who is, so encourage sharing!
A book club guide is essential because it tells the clubs you’re pitching that you’ve thought things through, that you’ve put their experience to heart and want to make it as rewarding as you can.
I’d also encourage you to brainstorm a few book promotion ideas that focus on a special offer. Perhaps you have print copies on hand that you can sell the club at a great discount. Even better if you let them know you’re happy to personalize and sign them if they send you the names of members! Maybe you have a new book coming out and you’re willing to send their members a sneak preview after their meeting!
When you connect with a group that’s local to you, or within reasonable driving distance, offer to show up for part of the meeting, or at a future meeting. Some may not feel comfortable discussing the book with you there and some will, keep your offer to meet in person flexible.
Last but not least, if you want to pull in more book club interest, work that angle into more of your book promotion ideas. Meaning, post about your guide on social, mention it in your newsletter, work it into your Amazon Author Central account in some way. It takes multiple impressions to convince consumers to take action, so when you start to worry about repeating yourself – stop that – and share it again.
Resources and Free Downloads
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