It’s something I realized a little late. When my first two books were published, my publisher requested me to ask my family and close friends to visit bookshops to buy my books. When the staff in the book shops realize that the book is moving and selling well, they not only give it a prominent display but also recommend it to other customers. Unfortunately, I was too shy to ask anyone to do this and the 35% discount offered by my publisher to friends placing bulk orders enticed them away from the bookshops. They approached her office directly. Though my books sold well, most of the sales in the initial period were via my publisher and not the book-shops.
A lot can be done by the writers and the publishers to market the books.
1. Book posters can be put in schools, colleges and libraries and other frequently visited places to spread the word around. I saw a book poster outside a multiplex. My writing friend told me that she would put her book posters in department stores, just behind the billing counter so that it has better visibility.
2. Approaching schools with offers of huge discounts if bulk orders are placed is another great idea. Many schools distribute books as prizes.
3. Approaching librarians and talking with library owners about our books is another smart marketing strategy. Many prefer to borrow books from the library than buy books. But atleast the book is read.
4. Organizing book reading and signing sessions in bookshops is a wonderful idea. If this can be combined with a themed event ( like my publisher did for my books) its super.
5. Arranging for author interveiws with several newspapers does a lot in spreading the word for books.
6. Sending out free copies to newspapers for reviews. The books can also be given to columnists whose columns have a wide readership.
7. Nowadays with many writers blogging, other bloggers go a long way in spreading the word around.
8. An enterprising publisher indulged in a bit of radio marketing. Local channels like (FM, 94.3) have a fantastic reach. Radio contests with the book as a prize can work wonderfully well. People are listening to the radio all the time: while driving and at home. And who doesn't like a free book?
9. Organising readings and visits in schools and colleges is another great opportunity.
10. Blog posts about book releases and Tweets are effective Internet mediums to bring the book to the notice of people inhabiting the virtual world. As are like pages. Blog contests and giveaways are a great way of spreading the word around.
11. One Indian publisher put up ads about their forthcoming book on MTV.
12. The same publisher also placed newspaper ads.
13. Making an author do guest columns where he or she can talk about the book in newspapers.
14. Urging friends and family to buy the books from the bookshops or order online, is a great way to see the ratings soar. Buying them directly from the publisher should be a second option.
Do you believe in the adage that effective marketing sells more copies of books? What does good marketing mean to you? How would you market your books? Any ideas you would like to share about marketing your books?