5 Ways to Promote Your Book in March

March is National Reading Month and Small Press Month. This makes it the perfect month to focus on promoting your book. Here are five ways you can promote your self-published book in March.

1. Read Across America Day

March 3 is National Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day. This is the perfect opportunity for children’s authors to promote their book. Schedule a reading at a local school, library, or bookstore. You can also get creative and host a Read Across America event for adults.

2. St. Patrick’s Day

Holidays are always a great opportunity to promote your book. Even if your book has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day, you can get creative with your marketing plan. Perhaps, host a St. Patrick’s Day give away or schedule a St. Patrick’s Day event. For instance, you could schedule a book signing, wear your favorite green shirt, hand out some Irish potatoes to your guests, and promote your book while “celebrating.”

3. Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2014

Bologna Children’s Book Fair will be held March 24-27. It is the most important international event dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry. Last year, the event had about 1,200 exhibitors coming from 75 countries and 25,000 international professional trade representatives. To learn more, visit http://www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it/en/the-fair/895.html.

4. Book Expo America 2014

Book Expo America will take place May 19-31. It is the #1 book and author event  that offers the book industry access to new titles,  authors, and education about the publishing industry. BEA is the best place to  discover new titles and upcoming books and meet face to face with favorite and  up and coming authors. To learn more, visit http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/.

5. Schedule an interview or book signing event

People won’t buy your book if they don’t know it exist, so schedule an event  that will help you connect with readers and gain some press for your book. Two great options are a radio interview or book signing event. Start by contacting local radio stations or bookstore to set up the event.

I’d love to know, how do you plan to promote your book in March?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Scheduling Book Signings in your Area

Scheduling book readings and signings for your book is a great platform upon which to launch your marketing campaign. As with many things “self”, self-published book authors will need to do a bit of leg-work upfront organizing those efforts. The same is true for all authors, regardless of when or how you published.

It’s never too early to start. (Marketing for late American novelist’s new book, Pale King, has already begun, even though the release date isn’t scheduled until April 2011.)

Tip: Start Local and start independent. Check www.indiebound.org to locate stores in your area. Talk to store buyers about their general qualifications for stocking and scheduling, and then with your self-publishing service provider about lining those up during the pre-production phase of your book.

Here is a list of independent bookstores from http://www.indiebound.com in my neighborhood.

Indie Bound Store Locator Tool

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Setting up Book Signings as a Self Published Author

How would you like to sell more copies of your book? Would you like to read excerpts from your book to a captivated audience?

Book signings at local bookstores are one of the cornerstone of an author’s post-publication foundation. But how do you set them up?

Organizing book signings, readings, and public appearances is one of the most important parts of a successful marketing campaign.

A book signing or reading is a bookstore event that features you and your latest book. This is your opportunity to meet potential buyers face to face. Plus it adds a personal touch to your promotion efforts.

Many customers may feel more motivated to purchase a copy of your book if they hear it explained or read from your point of view. And the opportunity to get a copy signed by the author doesn’t hurt, either!

Independent book stores and larger chain retailers both organize book signings. Your chances for finalizing an appearance are greater with the local independent stores. They have to compete with larger chains and are therefore more willing to support local (and self-published) authors.

In order to pinpoint potential book stores, check your local newspapers or see if book retailers in your area offer a “calendar of events” or post upcoming events on a public bulletin board.

By asking around for the owner of the store or the communications manager you can typically find the appropriate person with whom to propose your book signing. In many cases, both the large and small retailers will have their events planned weeks or even months in advance. Plan early.

When you have a list of people and/or stores you plan on contacting, prepare your pitch. Have a small script that outlines what your book is about and why people would be interested in meeting you or reading the book. The store manager or PR person will most likely ask. After all, they are not there just to help you. They are there to make money selling books. Tell them why your book will make their store money.

If your subject matter is timely, all the better! Remember, this is the point during which the store manager or book buyer will be screening your presentation skills, either over the phone or in person. If they are not captivated by your presentation, they will have very little faith in your ability to captivate a crowd. Be extroverted and dynamic.

It also helps to be concise. Understand that these are busy people. You want to sell them on your event fast. Have your press release and/or sell sheet ready. It’s helpful in case they ask for a copy or if they ask about specific information about the book. They may want to know the retail price, the discount, and the ISBN number immediately so they can order a review copy themselves prior to deciding.

Provide them with your web site address. They might be impressed enough by your initial marketing initiatives to go forward with the book signing.

Offer to help them with promotion, especially if you’re targeting smaller book stores. They will be more interested in offering to host an event if they know you will be absorbing some of the burden of marketing it. Tell them all your friends and family will be attending the event (and then make sure to invite your friends and family!), and if it’s within the scope of your marketing budget, offer to advertise in the local paper at your expense. Remember, the easier you make it for the book store owner or manager, the more likely they will say yes.

Follow-up with prospective book stores who have not confirmed dates. Selling yourself and your book is a number’s game, and as any salesperson will tell you, the amount of contact is directly proportionate to the amount of sales. So be persistent without being annoying. If you experience three or four unsuccessful attempts with a particular store or person, move on to another prospect.

And don’t forget your signing pen…

Good luck and have fun!
Kelly Schuknecht