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A Crash Course in Shameless Book Promotion

  • A book does as well as the energy the author gives it. The birth of a book, like the birth of a child, is the beginning of an amazing journey.
  • "Finding Diane's class was the best thing that ever happened to me."As soon as you have copies of your book, send review copies to magazines and journals you respect, along with your press release and publicity packet.
  • Set up readings in 20 to 40 bookstores and poetry reading venues. You do this by asking to speak with the person in charge of events and readings. As soon as you have a date for your reading, provide the events coordinator with a press release and ask if there is anything he/she would like you to do to help publicize the reading. Ask him/her for their media list. Several weeks before your reading, send your press release to the local newspapers and magazines on the media list. Call the radio hosts on the media list and ask if they would like to interview you.
  • A sample script for calling a radio host or magazine: “Hi, I’m Diane Frank, author of Blackberries in the Dream House. I’ll be reading at Books, Inc. on February 16, and I’d love to do an interview on your program. Blackberries is the forbidden love story of a geisha and a Buddhist monk, in Kyoto, 150 years ago. It’s a higher love story, erotic and metaphysical. Does this interest you?”
  • Celebrate your book with publication parties in the homes of friends and family. Ask them to invite their friends.
  • Offer to visit or call any book club that reads your book. So many readers would love the opportunity to ask the author questions. You’ll also enjoy hearing how readers respond to your book.
  • Go to open mics with copies of your book. Be a regular reader at open readings in your area.
  • Talk about your book to everyone you can, but don't be pushy and obnoxious. There's a fine line you don't want to cross.
  • Have an “elevator speech” ready to share. Imagine that you are in an elevator, riding with a stranger up to the 18th floor. You have 2 or 3 sentences to let this person know that you are an author, that you’ve just had a book published, and what your book is about. You’ll see my elevator speech within the sample script to radio hosts.
  • Develop a web site to promote your book. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, you’re welcome to contact the web designer for Blue Light Press. He has developed web sites for several poets published by Blue Light Press and is available to work with other writers as well.
  • Work with a publicist, even if it’s you or your significant other. If you don’t have a professional publicist, be your own publicist. Here are your opening lines: “Hi, I’m [your name], author of [your book]. I’d love to do a reading at your bookstore. May I speak with the Events Coordinator?”
  • Say yes to every possibility! When you read at a book store, reading series or anywhere else, you are often invited to read at another venue or come to a book club. Say yes!
  • Whether the bookstore has every seat full, with people standing in the aisles, or only a few people show up, read with warmth and enthusiasm. Give it 100%. Talk to everyone during the book signing, whether they buy your book or not. As a special touch, bring a small gift for the person who set up the reading. It’s a sweet thing to do and they will remember you.
  • Always have your own stash of extra books and take them with you when you travel. If the bookstore has every seat full with people standing in the aisles, you may need extra books from your personal supply. If the reading has a smaller crowd, maybe someone there belongs to a book club. Someone may love your book so much they want to buy 10 or 12 copies to give your book to their friends. Yes, this happens.
  • Have a bookmark printed with the name of the book, your name, your E-mail, and your web site. Make sure your bookmark is beautifully designed and give it to everyone who buys your book – or may want to buy your book. Leave room on the bookmark to write in your phone number, if you want to share it. Contact us if you want our graphic designer to help you design your bookmark.
  • Design a publicity packet. Ideally, this will be in a folder with a postcard of the cover of your book on the cover. Inside, you should have your bookmark, your press release, the quotes praising your book from the back cover and from any reviews of your books, copies of favorable reviews of your book, and a copy of your book.
  • Start your book tour in your local area. Then expand your circle to areas further from home and in other cities and states you want to visit. Always combine business with pleasure. Go out with friends after your reading. If you’re traveling, go dancing and enjoy the local culture and special places of that area.
  • 2-3 weeks before your reading, send invitations by email to everyone you know in the area. Ask them to invite their friends.
  • Always have an E-mail list to sign for people to stay in touch with you and hear about future books. Answer all of the fan mail you receive. If someone has taken the time to write to you, it means a lot to them to hear back from the author. You can meet some amazing friends this way.
  • If you give your book a lot of energy, do readings in bookstores, writer’s groups, and living rooms of friends and family, your book will do well.

A Word on Prosperity Consciousness:

Buy books from the writers who inspire you. If you want people to buy your book, think affluently and support the writers you care about. It gives the right signal to the universe.


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