Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ten Ways to Gain Exposure Offline

Facebook. It's probably the number one social media site we (we = authors) turn to when we want to advertise our books. Twitter is a close second. However, there's more than Facebook and Twitter. Here's ten ways to gain exposure for your book that doesn't involve sitting in front of your computer.

1. Advertise. Newspapers, television commercials, and radio spots. Those are the traditional and more expensive routes, but the fun in advertising resides in creativity. How many ways can you get your book/work in front of your intended audience?

2. Talk about your work. A lot of people have trouble with this one. How do you bring it up? "Hi, I'm Tabitha, I'm an author." That's a bit awkward. Whether it's someone you've known for years, or someone you've only just met, a simple, "Do you like to read?" will do the trick. Follow it up with, "What do you like to read?" or perhaps, "What was the last book you read?" If the answer to the first question is no, don't write it off so soon. Keep digging to find what they like and relate it to your work somehow. Even if you don't make a sale or generate interest in your work, there's something in that soul that has something for you. What do they do? Can they help with marketing? Can they offer advice in some other realm of the book world? If nothing else, what's their personal story?

3. Book signings and author meet n' greets. They require some time, effort and money to put together, but your return on investment (if you've priced your book appropriately) will pay off. You get what you put in, and that's referring to money!

4. Convince your family and friends to talk about your work. Convince is probably the wrong word. Your family and friends are already going to be rooting for you, so you probably won't even have to ask.

5. Donate your books. Targeted giveaways are a good way to get your name out online, but they're also a great way to do it offline, too. Donate to libraries or schools (if your target market is in that age group). Donate a copy of your book as part of a prize basket for various events. This closely relates to # 6.

6. Participate in festivals, fairs, and the like. Purchase a booth or space and sell your books. It's nice to have bookmarks and other items to sell as well. If you know of any other authors in your area, split the cost and sell together. I wouldn't recommend selling the same genre at the same table, however.

7. Target those big chain stores! Barnes and Noble is readily accepting self-published authors these days. There's a few hoops to jump through, some financial investment to make, and you're subjected to being "approved," but if you earn it, you're in and your sales will increase dramatically.

8. Target independent bookstores, too! It's another investment that can run deep into your pockets if you're supplying several bookstores, but the profits aren't bad. Independent bookstores will most often want to sell your books on consignment, so you'll foot the bill until a sale is made. Be sure to price your books so that you make a profit even after giving the bookstore their consignment percentage.

9. Public Relations. If you can tie your book into something, do it. Is your story about a man with a mental illness? Does a character in the book have cancer? Is the book's man message religion or spiritual related? Find groups that support that type of thing and come up with a way to include it. Perhaps a percentage of sales can be donated to their group in exchange for space in their newsletters to advertise the book.

10. Offline book party. This is a great way to have fun with your friends, meet new bookish people, and get the word out about your book. It's the perfect time to give away copies of the book or any merchandise.