Using your local community is a great way to promote your books! First, visit some of the local shops in your area. Ask to speak with the manager and explain that you’re a local author. Then, ask the manager if he or she would be willing to place a few copies of your books in their store to help you out. Most local shops will accommodate you, because you’re an author from the area. Although, some local shops may require you to place your books in their shop on consignment only. Consignment is where you buy a few copies of your books and take them to the shop owner. If any of your books sell, both you and the shop owner will spilt the profits. There can be an advantage to selling on consignment, too. If your book sells well, the shop owner may later decide to order your books directly through Ingram or another distributor instead of you providing them. The advantage: no more out-of-pocket expense!
Another way to promote your books locally is by renting a both space at local events such as festivals, carnivals and etc. You will have to purchase a large quantity of your books to display, but it could work out in your favor. You can also create a poster to display at your booth. In addition, to help build your mailing list, put a list on your table for readers to sign up on. Give them the option of signing up for e-mail or snail mail (which ever they prefer). When renting a booth space to promote your books, you may need to invest in a couple commercial folding tables to display your books, poster and mailing list on.
Go back to school to promote your books. Talk with the principle and let him or her know that you use to attend school there. Once you have their attention, ask him or her if the school would help support a former student by purchasing a few copies of your books for the school’s library. Alternatively, if the school has a book club, you can discuss your books with the book club’s president. Another option: maybe the English teacher would be interested in making your books an assignment for the class to read and do a book report on. If you’re promoting a non-fiction book that may fit in with some of the subjects the school teaches, then you may consider speaking with the teacher of that subject to volunteer your expertise on the subject to his or her class. Better yet, why not speak with the English teacher and offer to speak to his or her class about writing.
In an effort to promote your books to your community, send a press kit to libraries in and around your local area. Like the local shops, most libraries also enjoy helping local authors. Once you know which libraries has placed copies of your books on their shelves, you can run a small ad in the local newspaper letting that community know they can find your books at that library. Furthermore, if the local stores purchased copies of your books, you could also mention which stores in your area have copies of the books. Sometimes libraries will also help you promote your books by allowing you to do a book signing there. Therefore, when you promote your books to libraries in and around your area, speak with the librarian about arranging a book signing.
I sent a press kit to my local library as soon as my book (“Help From Above”) was published, and approximately one week later the librarian called me for information on where she could purchase a copy of my book. I directed her to the correct place and thanked her for supporting me.
If there’s a mall in your area, call to check the price on renting a booth space somewhere in the center of the mall. All you really need is your books, a commercial folding table and a couple chairs — a chair for you, and one for a friend who could go along to keep you company. Malls receive a lot of foot traffic, so if you pick the right spot to promote your books from, you could sell quite a few copies! Don’t forget to autograph them.
When you promote your books and yourself locally, you allow yourself to be recognized in your community, and it gives the locals a way to buy your books without having to search for them or wait on them to be shipped. Wishing you many book sales!