By Tracey Daniels
Media Master Publicity
The whole point of publicity is to create buzz about your book. There are quite a few inexpensive tricks and tools that anyone can use to help promote their books or their friends’ books. We are talking grassroots, basic stuff here. So extrapolate from these ideas and recruit your friends and family to be your personal team of promoters.
• Look for opportunities to work with your local library. For September’s “National Library Card Sign-Up Month,” talk with the community relations representative at the library and ask if you can help with promotion. Create a schoolwide contest and volunteer to give a free author visit to the classroom with the most “sign-ups” – buy pizza for the class and throw a party!
• An e-mail signature is a perfect opportunity to promote your book or soon-to-be-published book in all of your correspondence. Beneath my e-mail signature with my name and contact information, I list the current book that I am nose-deep in (not just what I am working on). For example, it currently says, “What I am reading now. . . Crissa-Jean Chappell’s Total Constant Order.” It creates another conversation piece with the people I am in contact with (media, publishers, authors, distant relatives, PTA members) and it also (in a small way) promotes literacy and the love of books. Get your family and friends to do the same.
• Give a few copies of your books (with a sticker listing your website and “donated by”) to local hospitals or doctor offices. This doesn’t create big buzz, but it’s a nice thing to do. You never know who will pick it up, and parents will appreciate a good book in the waiting room.
• Volunteer at local schools to do writing workshops or help teachers. Talk to your local paper about a story about what the kids are doing in your workshop or the angle of a local author who donates their time. Arrange for a photo to be taken and submit to your local press.
• Create and distribute bookmarks that promote your new book (and backlist). An additional good tip is to leave blank space on the back of the bookmark for bookstores or businesses to put their contact information and store hours. They are more likely to pass out a bookmark if they can promote themselves in the process.
Let’s brainstorm more ideas! Please send suggestions on inexpensive ways to spread word-of-mouth publicity to email@example.com. I will cover these ideas (and your name and book – hint hint: promoting YOU!) in an upcoming newsletter.
Tracey Daniels is the founder and senior partner of Media Masters Publicity. Daniels has been a literary publicist for more than 16 years and has worked with such authors as Holly Black, Kate DiCamillo, Chitra Divakaruni, Janette Rallison, Eric Rohmann, and Kevin Henkes. Currently, her company is publicizing Caldecott winner Simms Taback’s new picture book I Miss You Every Day (Penguin Putnam).