Friday, June 24, 2011

How's the Book Doing?

Nearly every day someone asks me, "How's the book doing?" I usually reply "it's a slow process," then tell them about my next plan for selling a few more. Since I published Brute Heart almost one year ago (the official date of publication is actually August 1, 2010), I thought this might be a good time to give everybody a progress report. I plan to cover this information in separate blog posts, concentrating on one marketing strategy at a time.

The 500 books I brought home last August is now down to approximately 120 copies. Of the 380 no longer stacked in my garage, roughly sixty were given to prospective agents, distributors, the media, book stores, libraries or charitable events, and members of my family. Many of the remaining 320 copies were sold to people who knew me or had some connection to my family or my husband's family or people who lived in Klamath Falls or Prineville; although I did sell over forty copies at the Bend Costco.

Based on my own experience, the home town advantage should be the #1 priority when it comes to a self-published author's marketing plans. This is even more important if the book is also set in the author's home town or someplace he or she has lived long enough to have established connections. Many people from Klamath Falls, where I grew up and where the story in Brute Heart takes place, have told me how much they enjoyed reading about places, streets, businesses, etc. they were familiar with or could visualize. I often share this with potential buyers who ask about my book at Third Thursday street fairs or book signings that take place in Klamath Falls.

So, if the home town is that important, other than banking on people from your past or present lives remembering or knowing who you are, how can the self-published author take advantage of this geographical opportunity? Below are the top five strategies I consider to be the most important.
(1) Become involved in your community--join civic groups, writing groups, reading groups, volunteer, write letters to the editor--to allow people to know and appreciate your personality and talent.
(2) Get your book into the hands of people in your community who have large followings, people who you can count on to help you spread the word.
(3) Attend as many social or business-related gatherings as you can fit into your schedule, and don't be shy while you are there. Talk about your work and hand out business cards or book marks that include the title of your book and where it is being sold.
(4) Utilize whatever home town connections your parents or other members of your family may have.
(5) Don't be a stranger to your former classmates. Make the effort to go to your grade school, high school, or college reunions.

If you follow this advice, you will be surprised at how many books you will sell.

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