In Your Corner : Celebrate National Reading Month With These Marketing Tips! (part one)

March is National Reading Awareness Month!  Here at Self-Publishing Advisor, we love the fact that there’s an entire month devoted to celebrating the written word–as well as the ways in which we can spread the joy of literacy–and I would like to invite you to join me in making reading a focus all month long, here in our Thursday blog post slot.  

As writers, we’re not just people who produce stories; we also consume them, share them, and advocate on their behalf.  As writers, March of 2016 is the ideal time for you to not only finish your book and start publishing it, but also to promote yourself and your book while encouraging everyone to read.  

Think this sounds like a challenge?  Maybe it is.  But I have some pointed ideas to get you started.  This is doable.  I promise you!  All you need to do is dedicate some time each day this month to pursuing the marketing and promotion tips I’ll be posting here for the next four weeks.

GETTING STARTED : Become the local expert.  

If you haven’t heard of National Reading Awareness Month or know the details of its longstanding connection to Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the history of the National Education Association, and how you can participate … well, it’s time to you pay a visit to the NEA’s website and browse through the plentiful promotional materials, media tips, press release tips and fact sheets the NEA has posted there in order to introduce you and other acolytes to the Read Across America celebration.  

Another tip?  It’s well worth offering to speak at local schools and NEA events, or to local organizations on the importance of childhood reading skills.  Many schools, libraries, bookstores, and other organizations welcome the outside help in putting on events of this kind, and yes–there’s something in it for you, too.  The more you make yourself indispensable to your local literary and literacy-building community, the more likely you are to be called on again in the future, and to get word of your own work before fresh eyes.  Best of all, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in knowing you’re helping to foster the next generation of readers–some of whom may go on to read your book!  Which leads me to ….

First Lady Michelle Obama takes part in Read Across America 2012

TIP TWO: GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE YOUNG 

Yesterday was Read Across America Day!  Writers are some of the biggest supporters of this day and event.  While you may have missed the boat for 2016, there’s no better time to prepare for the next year than now, when the opportunities (even the missed ones) are fresh on parents’ and teachers’ minds.  Contact local schools, libraries, and nonprofits to find out how you can help promote reading, writing, and kindergarten readiness in general–not just today, but throughout the entire month of March.  Ask if you might partner with some of them in throwing an event next year, in 2017, and start lining up the logistics.  When it comes to scheduling things in March, which is testing season for many American schools, the earlier you get started the better an outcome you can expect.

Read Across America 2007

TIP THREE: CONSIDER ONLINE ADVERTISING  

The last two tips built upon a foundation of interpersonal networking–that is, meeting people face to face and using this method to benefit everyone.  But what about those readers beyond your immediate sphere of influence?  How can you get them reading–and reading your book in particular?  Here’s a thought: Once your book is published, consider whether it might benefit from any online advertising.  You can set up ads on sites like Facebook, Google and Goodreads easily, or with some assistance from your self-publishing company and the marketing consultants they likely keep on staff.  If you’ve published through a company like Outskirts Press (my own stomping grounds), you can count on their staff to help you make your book more discoverable on Google with something like the Google Books Preview Program.

Reading in Madrid

TIP FOUR: INTRODUCE NEW FORMATS OF YOUR BOOK 

You know how it goes: The more easy a thing is to buy, and the more accessible it is to a large number of people, the more sales of that thing will jump.  It’s a well-demonstrated fact that self-publishing authors can reach a larger audience of readers by offering additional formats such as Kindle, Apple iPad or NOOK editions of your book.  And if you’ve only ever published your book digitally, perhaps it’s time you branched out into Print on Demand (POD) copies of your masterpiece!  Consider which formats you want to offer and add them before or after your hardcover format hits the virtual shelves.  If you feel inexpert in how to make the most of a multiplatform, multiedition publication, don’t hesitate to turn to those with the most wisdom to share: your fellow self-publishing authors!  We’re here for you.

Always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.