Back when I was an indie author, I conducted what I called a “holiday reading campaign” to promote my debut novel, Perfect on Paper, and it worked extremely well. (In fact, it helped me land a book contract!) You might be able to do something similar for your books or at least get inspired to think of out-of-the-box marketing ideas. Here’s what I did:
- I looked up the contact information for 15 current presidents of my sorority at large universities across the country.
- I sent each a personalized signed copy of Perfect on Paper, along with a letter explaining that I was an alum and that my novel was a romantic comedy I thought they might enjoy reading over the holidays.
- I included my contact information and a request for them to please get in touch if they enjoyed the book. I made it clear that because I was self-published, I was doing all the marketing on my own and could really use their help to spread the word. I also promised to follow up via email after the holidays.
I sent the books in early December, and in early January I got an email from the sorority president at Harvard asking me to come speak to their chapter. She said she loved my book AND found me to be an inspiration for pursuing my dream of making a living as an author. I accepted the unexpected invitation, and that event led to an invitation to speak to a bigger audience at the Harvard Women’s Leadership conference that summer, which led to an invitation to speak to an audience of 2,500 at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Those engagements were unpaid, but they gave me experience and credibility, and eventually I was signed by a professional speaking agent. Now I get paid to give keynote addresses on following your passion in life – events at which I also sell my books.
You might not have been a member of the Greek system in college, but that doesn’t mean you can’t conduct a similar campaign with a society or organization that is comprised of your target readership. The lesson is that if you’re creative, organized, and persistent, it will open doors for you and your book.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.