Hello Authors and welcome to another Writer Wednesday where we talk shop, craft, and industry. Today I am going to touch on the old Marketing topic. Marketing your book as an author, whether you are self, small press, or traditional can be tricky, but one of the great underrated marketing tools is 'Word of Mouth'. Word of mouth can take several forms. BookTok and the wild success many books have found through user promotion is a prime example, though not every book cracks the BookTok formula. So what are some ways you as the author can foster opportunities for word of mouth success?
Ways to Tackle Word of Mouth Marketing
Reach Out to Reviewers
Seems like a straight forward task, but it can be an anxiety inducing. Putting yourself out there and reaching out to dedicated book reviewers is a great way to push your book into the hands of people who could potentially spread the word. There are so many bloggers, book-tokkers, and bookstagrammers that are usually open to receiving a book from an author for review. Find ones that love to read in the genre you write. Offering an e-arc book and giving them a lax or flexible time line goes a long way to establishing good relations and if you are fortunate, you could have a new fan to shout about your books in the future. Not every reviewer will love your book but finding a couple to shout about your stories can make a huge difference.
The Old Hand Sell
Don't knock the power of hand selling. There are several well known big book events such as Imaginarium, Jordancon, and Apollycon, but there are dozens more out there. Some events don't specifically cater to books alone, but welcome authors to vendor their books at a booth. Depending on budget and location, you can generally find a couple venues to fit just about any marketing budget. There are some events, such as those hosted by local libraries, which are extremely affordable for authors to vendor at or even have free both slots. Landing an author booth at an event, any event, is a genuinely unique experience. Hand selling your book forces you to perfect your elevator pitch, a skill that will come in handy if you apply to local bookstores to carry or consign your titles. Whether you are traveling multiple states away from home or selling at the local book fair, these events help you find new readers and gain skills in marketing yourself.
Requesting and Donating through Libraries & Schools
Libraries are a such a great resource! I will always shout about libraries. There are several methods you can utilize to help push your book into libraries. One is through local donations. A library might have a tight budget but they are absolutely open to donations. Donating your book to nearby libraries gives you an opportunity to find new readers and establishes a relationship with the library, who are often open to hosting free author events and signings. There are also programs like the Indie Author project which provide a free resource for authors to submit their books for country wide e-circulation as well as a shot of winning a prize through participating states and territories. You can also encourage readers to request your book for their local library. Some libraries do have the budget and space to order requests and it is always worth trying.
Some review sites also have classroom donation request programs. An example of this is actually Readers' Favorite, which does have a free review request option but also has an opt in for authors to be contacted by teachers to request donated copies of their books. Not all review sites offer this but it is always a good idea to look for such an option and it gives you the opportunity to put your books in classrooms they might not normally have access to.