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9 Book Marketing Shots In The Dark

9 Book Marketing Shots in the Dark

Debbie Young wearing festival badge

Festival badges can be useful long after the event is over

To round off the month, here's a fun list of top tips from successful self-published authors on surprising ways they've raised their profile before target readers – quite apart from all the usual round of activities that we all know we could be doing.

    1. Debbie Young: I pinned my Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival Author badge on my handbag strap and keeping it there after the festival is over
    2. Sue Johnson: I've sold books in supermarket queues while waiting to be served
    3. Debbie Young again: I keep a copy of one or two of my books in my handbag even when I'm not sure there'll be a marketing opportunity. I just gave a copy to a fellow guest touring the Ingram plant when we got chatting about what we write, and another to a famous author who was by chance sitting next to me by chance at a story night. I know that was giving rather than selling, but I count it as cheap and useful marketing, as each book only costs a couple of pounds to me.
    4. Russ Phillips:  My wife got her children's book mentioned in her employer's internal newsletter. They're always looking for stories, and were very happy to give her a mention.
    5. Wendy Jones: I approached my local paper to ask if they would like to do a story on me and my unique angle: ex-Army officer turns to a life of crime. They loved the hook, interviewed me and sent a photographer round leading to a full page feature. Sometimes crime does pay. It's worth thinking outside the box for an angle.
    6. Wendy Percival: My second Esme mystery is set in a fictional location but based heavily on a real place on the North Devon coast with a hotel which features in the book. The hotel keeps copies in their reception and people on holiday buy the book and enjoy reading a mystery set in the location where they're staying.
    7. Julie Day:  My author client has two granddaughters, and the eldest at 10 is a fan of my writing and wants to read the first of mine.
    8. Julie Day again: When I went to my dietician the other day, he asked me what I was doing for the rest of the day, and I said writing. He asked me what I wrote, and I gave him one of my postcards I had in my bag, which he said he would show his niece who was 11.
    9. Cover of Bodrum Peninsula travel guide

      Virtual travel by Facebook for Jay Artale's guides

      Jay Artale: When I launched my travel guides, I did a mock virtual day trip via Facebook to the locations, sights etc. that are mentioned in the book. I posted images of my day's events, and mentioned the Guide Book I was using, and tagged each image with the location (using the Facebook Check-In tag) so that the images showed up on the relevant public Facebook location pages, which greatly broadened my reach. The same location tagging approach would work for fiction books.


OVER TO YOU Like to add a tenth tip? We'd love to know your off-the-wall marketing tactics!

9 unusual #bookmarketing tips you might like to try suggested by successful indie #authors Click To Tweet


This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. I leave bookmarks at places like the doctor’s office, dentist’s office, etc. Since this has resulted in more sales than my Twitter efforts, I’m thinking of just leaving bookmarks at the mall food court.

  2. We had a staff exhibition at work to show off what we all do outside of the college, and while I teach graphic design and advertising, I put up prints of my book covers, along with the first couple of pages of each book! I don’t know if it led to sales or not but a lot of people showed interest in what I’d been doing!

  3. When I snail-mail copies of my books (ARCs or winner books or whatever), I create a mailing label with the cover of the book. Everyone who handles that packages sees the book cover. And my postal people at the local desk have become fans and always ask me to autograph copies for them.

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