Buzz Your Book
by Shelby Patrick
I spent a week in New York City recently attending ThrillerFest 2011. While there, I went to several workshops and my favorite was on "Buzzing Your Book". The presenters were very professional and full of knowledge. After providing an introduction, they asked for volunteers to stand up and tell everyone what their book was about in one sentence, then the presenter was asked a few questions, and afterward the workshop instructors brainstormed FREE ideas to market their book. I'd like to share a few with you here now.
M.J. Rose, one of the instructors, told us of how she got a new puppy and started frequenting an online forum for the breed of dog she had. At the end of every post, she would put in a simple tag line (M.J. Rose, author of Lip Service). She posted a lot and after about six months time, someone on the board finally asked her what Lip Service was. When she responded, 400 books were sold overnight. Wow! That would be nice, wouldn't it? Posting to forums is a tried and true method of getting the word out; however, don't go in there with the intent to advertise straight out. Do it subtly, in a small signature line.
Another idea, as pertains to fiction, is to create short stories centered around each of your characters. People will get more involved with the overall book if other stories use those characters. Popular books and movies do it all the time with their fan fiction. Readers love to see their favorite characters in other settings outside the original one.
Once you have tried that, or even if you prefer not to, then let's move on. Try picking five things from your book that catch your eye. For example, in my upcoming novel Behind the Masque, I might choose the following: University of Michigan, The Whitney Restaurant, Society of Former Special Agents of the F.B.I., Alcoholics Anonymous, art history majors. Then do a search online using those terms. Find places, organizations, forums, etc. where interest might lie in those subjects and get involved, once again subtly advertising your book.
Books don't get sold by themselves and most of us probably can't afford an expensive advertising budget or to hire a PR firm, so we have to find easy and cheap ways of getting the word out ourselves. It's not as hard as one would think. If you can write, you can come up with new and exciting ways to market yourself. Good luck!
Shelby Patrick, author of When Angels Sing and The Fear Within.
Follow me on FaceBook and Twitter (@shelbypatrick)