Every year during the month of March, Outskirts Press joins indie companies all across the United States in celebrating independent publishers and the talented self-publishing authors we serve. As a self-published author, you’re a pioneer at the cusp of a new era in literature. In fact, nowhere will you find a more eclectic, determined, creative and talented population of artists.
So, claim your rightful recognition! This month of celebration is your opportunity to promote your own self-published book with 31 effective marketing and promotion tactics. Believe it or not, high-quality self-publishing is the easy part; effectively marketing your book once it’s published is the real mark of success as an author.
Throughout the month of March, take a moment each day to make an important step toward successfully marketing your self-published book. Here, we offer one simple tip for each day of the month that will help you advance your book through book marketing efforts:
March 1 – Start up. If you have another manuscript in the works, Small Press Month is the perfect time to take the plunge (again). As you know, Outskirts Press has several convenient, high-quality, full-service publishing packages, one of which is bound to be perfect for your next publishing endeavor.
March 2 – Stock up. Order hard copies of your book today. You’ll need them as you pursue the following 29 marketing and promotion tips.
March 3 – Bone up. Become the local authority on Small Press Month. Do a little research about the history of independent publishing, your publisher (Outskirts Press) and what Small Press Month is all about, then offer yourself as a resource to local media. This will help you build your platform as a local writer and self-publishing author.
March 4 – Connect. Meet with other independent published authors in your area, either in person with a local writers’ guild or online via social media. Hooking up with other authors can enhance marketing results, because you can pool resources and share advice. For example, Outskirts Press already has a growing community of active and passionate fans/followers on Facebook and Twitter, with whom you can connect at any time. There’s a lot to do, and many minds are a better than one.
March 5 – Alert the media. Send a press release to the local media (newspapers, radio, television) mentioning Small Press Month, your knowledge of the industry, your connection to the community and your independently published book(s). If you’ve planned book signings and other events, mention them in the release as well. Your press release should explain what Small Press Month is, why it’s important, what local organizations are doing to celebrate, and how the media can contact you for additional information. Supplement the press release with your sales sheet and/or positive book reviews you have received.
March 6 – Dig up bookworms. Contact local libraries and suggest they feature Small Press titles, including yours. Offer to leave them a free copy, along with your sales sheet, and offer to speak about Small Press Month at a library event. If you’re an Outskirts Press author, your sales sheet can be generated automatically from within your Author Center, and you can update it at any time through your Author Toolkit.
March 7 – Offer a discount. Contact your local bookstores and suggest they offer discounts on Small Press books. Bring discounted copies of your own book to get the ball rolling. Offer to leave them a free copy along with your sales sheet, press release and any promotional materials you have. Ask if you can host an event at their establishment for local independent authors, citing your expertise on the topic of small press.
March 8 – Get schooled. Contact schools in your area and tell them about Small Press Month. Mention that you are a local published author and offer to speak to their students and staff about Small Press Month, self-publishing, and how they can realize their own publishing dreams. This is particularly effective if you have a children’s book you can autograph and sell after the assembly.
March 9 – Get reviewed. Send out review copies of your book to get some good buzz. The free Book Review Starter Kit from Outskirts Press includes tips for sending books to reviewers, as well as a list of reviewers with contact information to get you started. If you’re pressed for time, don’t worry – Outskirts Press can take the task off your hands with the Book Review Submission Service.
March 10 – Go to college. Contact local universities and colleges and offer to share your self-publishing story, as well as your knowledge about Small Press Month. You can even sell copies of your book after your presentation.
March 11 – Follow up. Touch base with the bookstores and local media outlets you contacted earlier to see if you can offer any additional assistance or information. Reiterate the importance of Small Press Month, your planned events in the community and your Small Press book.
March 12 – Think outside the books. Contact sales channels outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores that may be likely to sell your book. This may include websites related to your book’s topic, gift stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, boutiques and specialty stores. Ask yourself where you like to shop when you’re not reading, and where your readers may be shopping, then make contact with those retailers. Even a little shelf space can make a big difference.
March 13 – Unite with artists. Contact local art studios, design boutiques or other small independent businesses in your area. Work with them to forge co-op advertising initiatives and other promotional partnerships. You can even trade services. For example, you could offer to write promotional materials for an artist in exchange for cover art for promotional materials or your next book. If applicable, offer to conduct some events in their venues. Show them how sharing your promotional efforts helps everyone gain greater visibility.
March 14 – Share your experiences. Schedule a seminar or tele-seminar on “How to Write and Publish a Book” and offer a Small Press Month discount on the registration fee. Send local news outlets a press release about your event.
March 15 – Co-op. Connect with other independently published authors and arrange co-op advertisement in the local media. In addition to promoting your books, promote your upcoming events. Encourage other authors to join in the events, which may generate more interest about future events among bookstores.
March 16 – Get talking. Small, local radio stations – particularly news/talk formats – are constantly on the lookout for interesting guests. Contact local radio producers in your area and pitch them on your book, tying it into Small Press Month. Not sure where to start? Outskirts Press offers a Top 10 Radio Interview & Media Training option to get you started.
March 17 – Think green. St. Patrick’s Day green, that is. Take the day to get started on electronic editions of your book, which save trees and open you up to huge audiences of ebook consumers. Outskirts Press can set up a Kindle, NOOK or Apple iPad edition of your book in no time at all.
March 18 – Think big. Local is a great starting point, but don’t forget to contact the major newspapers about Small Press Month, too. They’re more likely to cover something if they are contacted by authors, so reach out in person. Be ready to tell your press contact what sets your book apart from others (unusual topic, great reviews, a sudden spike in sales, past media attention, etc.):
- THE NEW YORK TIMES: 229 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 10036-3959 (212) 556-1234
- USA TODAY: 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209-3901 (703) 276-3400; and 535 Madison Ave., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10022-4212 (212) 715-5410
- WALL STREET JOURNAL: 200 Liberty St., New York, NY 10281-1003 (212) 416-2000
- WASHINGTON POST: 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071-0002 (202) 334-6000
March 19 – Center yourself. Contact local community centers and inform them of Small Press Month; post information on their community bulletin board, if one is available. Gather the local authors with whom you’ve teamed up and schedule an impromptu event, celebrating Small Press books.
March 20 – Make a leap. If you published elsewhere, this may be the month to switch to Outskirts Press. If things have stagnated with your current publisher, a fresh start may be just what you need to get sales moving again. Even if you’re not ready to switch, Outskirts Press can still help. We offer a variety of marketing products and services for authors, regardless of where they published. Browse those marketing products today.
March 21 – Don’t neglect the other 11 months. Small Press Month is just one month out of 12. While you can’t do it all in 31 days, you can lay the groundwork for the rest of the year. Schedule other book events throughout the year, like London Book Fair, BookExpo America, Beijing Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair. Or do it all with the Global Book Tour marketing package from Outskirts Press, which includes all four book fairs with a 25% discount.
March 22 – Socialize. Open social networking accounts and set up your author platform on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can easily reach out to readers and other authors all around the world. Outskirts Press makes it easy with a social media platform set-up service that gets you started toward promoting and marketing your book through social media.
March 23 – Promote through learning. While you’re making the rounds at educational institutions in your community, don’t forget about the local Learning Annex or adult education programs in your area. They’re often cash-strapped and eager to welcome guest speakers. Offer to teach a class on the subject of your book, or about self-publishing. As a published author, you are an expert on these topics. Your book may even become required reading for each student!
March 24 – Name drop. Start writing online reviews through Amazon. Write reviews for books you’ve read recently. Mention that you are the author of a book at the bottom of each posted review, and include the book title and a link (if allowed). If people like the writing style of your review, they may investigate your book, especially if you write reviews for books within the same genre as your own.
March 25 – Go public. Local libraries are a great place to get the word out about your book, but branch out too. Contact the public libraries in each state and mention your involvement with Small Press Month. Send them information about your book and offer to donate a copy for their shelves. Here’s a link that will get you started: http://www.publiclibraries.com/.
March 26 – Get well-versed. If you’re a poet, start preparing for National Poetry Month in April. Outskirts Press offers a Poetry Formatting Kit that helps authors a high-quality, professionally-formatted volume of poetry with a custom-designed layout (including graphics) – but without the custom-designed price!
March 27 – Be a “commissioner.” Help other writers you know get published and earn a 10% commission for the referral after their book is published. Register for the Outskirts Press affiliate program today at http://outskirtspress.com/affiliates.php and start spreading the word to all of the writers in your life.
March 28 – Blog, blog, blog. Start a blog and keep it active and up-to-date with blog posts about you, your book, possible future projects and other things that interest you. Take every opportunity you can to engage readers through polls and other methods that elicit feedback and build relationships. Register your blog with blog directories to gain more readership and participation.
March 29 – Be a merchant. Google Merchant Center is a great place to make your book available to Google Shopping and other Google services, so readers can buy directly from you. You can enter your product description, price and even book cover art on the product listing ad, and inclusion in the Merchant Center helps get your book in the Google search engine results when someone searches topics or items similar to your book. Signing up is easy: http://www.google.com/merchants/signup
March 30 – Think big (print). Expand your market by publishing a large-print edition of your book. With the world’s population growing older, easy-to-read editions in 14- and 16-point fonts are becoming more and more popular. It’s easy to re-release your already published book in large print to expand your readership with Outskirts Press.
March 31 – Kick back, at last. It’s been a busy, productive month. Take a couple hours to yourself today to recharge and gear up for all the events, promotion and marketing opportunities you created for yourself in 2015! If you’re feeling energetic, get in touch with an Outskirts Press Personal Marketing Assistant to help you organize all of those opportunities and create a detailed marketing calendar just for you.