31 Ways to Promote Your Book during National Reading Month

National Reading Month is an opportunity for authors everywhere to benefit themselves and others at the same time. Outskirts Press has created a list of 31 ways you can promote yourself and your work during the month of March. Truly successful authors market their books on an ongoing basis, and participating in National Reading Month will give you a chance to share your love of reading with others as well.

  1. Develop a marketing plan. A book marketing plan is as vital to the marketing of a book as an outline is to the writing of it. And a marketing plan must be continuously tweaked to stay aligned with your goals. If you’re unsure of how to develop a marketing plan, you may consider hiring a Personal Marketing Assistant to assist you. Your Assistant can do all of the planning for you.
  2. Contact local schools. Find out how you can help promote reading all throughout the month of March. If you’re a children’s author, volunteer to read your book at the local library or offer a free copy as a giveaway promotion. And if you show up in the signature Cat in the Hat stovepipe hat, your enthusiasm will be contagious!
  3. Increase online sales through retargeting. If you advertise on Facebook or Google, look into retargeting. Your ads will appear on websites your visitors land on after they’ve been to your website, and research shows that people who left an item in your cart will spend 55 percent more if you retarget them.
  4. Go digital! If you’ve been thinking about a Kindle, Apple iPad, or NOOK edition of your book, Outskirts Press can help you tap into this huge audience by creating new versions of your print book in no time. And multiple formats equal more exposure…
  5. Ask for book reviews. Research shows that positive reviews sell books. Ask for reviews all the time: face-to-face, on your website, on your social media sites, at readings — everywhere. Include excerpts of positive reviews on all your social media and promotional materials (with permission, of course).
  6. Cross-promote with other indie authors. Consider offering to review their books in exchange for their reviews of your book. Or invite other authors to write a guest blog post for your website, and you do the same — with a link back to your site.
  7. Create a mailing list. Actively seek out readers who might like your books at both personal and professional meetings, conferences, your kids’ Little League games and so on. Ask if you can send information about your book, then add them to your mailing list, but make sure there’s an easy way for people to unsubscribe. Use an incentive on your author website to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list — they can be entered into a drawing for a free copy of your book, for example.
  8. Make a “keep in touch” plan. Once you have an active mailing list, establish a schedule for keeping in touch. You don’t want to overshare, so find a reasonable frequency, for example, a monthly newsletter or email blast. If you’re publishing books on a regular basis, provide updates on the status of your next book — the research you’re doing and the interesting things you’ve discovered. Or, write about topics related to the genre of books you publish, or share other titles you think your readers would enjoy.
  9. Alert the media. Send a press release to the local media (newspapers, radio, television) mentioning National Reading 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 National Reading 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.
  10. Give your website a facelift. Is your site visually appealing and inviting? Does it reflect who you are as a writer? Is it easy to navigate? Ask others to give you their first impressions of your site, and make improvements as needed. And don’t forget to make it easy for visitors to purchase your book with a well-designed shopping cart!
  11. Blog about it! Or let others do it for you… Visit websites such as BookBloggerList.com to find bloggers interested in the genre of books you publish who would be open to reviewing your book. You might even get a link to your website or your Amazon book page out of it! This is a great way to increase exposure for your work.
  12. Become a local expert. Visit the National Education Association’s website to find promotional materials, media tips, press release tips, and fact sheets about NEA’s Read Across America celebration. Offer to speak at local schools and NEA events or to local organizations on the importance of childhood literacy.
  13. Share advertising and promotional events with other indie authors whose work complements yours, and split the cost of advertising in your local media to promote your books and events. Or set up a book signing/reading with other indie authors and take advantage of each other’s contacts and readership. Sharing an event with another writer is an excellent way to generate more interest among venues and readers.
  14. Take advantage of book fairs and reading events to promote your book all year long! Some prime opportunities include the London Book Fair, BookExpo America, the Beijing Book Fair, and the Frankfurt Book Fair. You can really make a global splash with the Global Book Tour marketing package from Outskirts Press, which includes a 25% discount for all four book fairs.
  15. Consider a Co-Op ad in a major writing or publishing magazine. Co-Op ads are an economical way to get a full-color ad of your book into a national publication, while sharing that cost with other authors.
  16. Establish a National Reading Month discount. Or contact local bookstores and offer a special reading. Don’t forget to bring extra copies of your book!
  17. Help writers in training. Contact the English departments at local colleges and universities and offer your services as a guest speaker to discuss your experience as an author and the importance of National Reading Month.
  18. Garner book reviews from publications. Start by going to our free Book Review Starter Kit for tips and lists of reviewers. If you’re short on time, Outskirts Press can help with our Book Review Submission service.
  19. Lay the groundwork for your next book by reading the top books in your genre and their reviews on sites like Amazon. Make note of what people like and dislike, and then write an outline that will set your book apart and attract the most readers.
  20. Share the indie-publishing experience. If you know other writers who are ready to publish, help them get started with a referral to Outskirts Press. When you join the Outskirts Press affiliate program, you receive a 10% referral fee after their book is published.
  21. Expand your network. Look for other writers in your area who share your interests. A good place to start is on a site like MeetUp.com, where you’ll probably find a variety of local groups with published and unpublished writers. It’s an excellent way to share resources and get advice from like-minded local people.
  22. Volunteer! Let National Reading Month mark the beginning of your good deeds and participate in local Read Across America activities, whether it’s reading to children or cleaning up after an event. Read to children in hospitals, or head to a retirement center and volunteer to help a senior citizen write their memoir.
  23. Create a book trailer in honor of National Reading Month. (We can help you if you don’t know how.) Showcase your book while sharing your love of reading, writing, and all things literary. Tying the national literacy celebration to your trailer will give it much more visibility.
  24. Arrange book signings. Book signings are special moments for any author, and for book fans. Contact local bookstores and tell them how you’re participating in National Reading Month. Be sure to share positive book reviews that you’ve received and highlight what promotional efforts you’ve taken to help build attendance for your book signing.
  25. Recommit yourself to blogging. If you already have a blog, recommit to generating fresh content. If you don’t have a blog, you’re missing an opportunity to showcase your skills and attract new readers. Build an interactive experience on your blog using polls, asking readers questions, and generate discussions to build relationships with your readers.
  26. Talk about your book everywhere you go — grocery stores, baseball games, waiting rooms, parties — and be sure to keep extra copies with you. Let everyone know you’re excited about your book (without being overly pushy), and your enthusiasm will generate some buzz.
  27. Join the “news-talkers.” News talk shows on local radio stations often host guests to talk about current events. Offer to participate in a show focused on National Reading Month. If the schools in your area are holding reading events, recruit the organizer and offer the talk show host guests who can discuss the issues from different perspectives. Concerned about what to say? Outskirts Press can help with their Top 10 Radio Interview & Media Training service.
  28. Every business has a brand, and as a writer, you should too. Know your market niche and begin developing your own personal brand. For example, Agatha Christie, James Patterson, Dan Brown, and Robert Ludlum are easily recognizable as mystery writers, but they each have a specific perspective or brand. What makes you unique as a writer in your genre? Cultivate your brand to help you stand out in the marketplace.
  29. Get social. Be actively involved in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and reach out to your audience on a regular basis. You can even set your blog posts to appear automatically on several of these sites to get more mileage out of them. Outskirts Press offers a social media platform set-up service to make it easy for you to get started.
  30. Sponsor a contest. Use your social media exposure to promote your book by using it as the prize for an online contest. Your social media followers could be automatically entered in the contest by voting on the title of your next book or posting of picture of themselves reading your current novel. Put your writerly imagination to use and be creative!
  31. Set up Google Alerts to send you a notice whenever someone online mentions you, your book titles, or your brand. Decide if the source of the alert would be a good place to join in a conversation or offers additional promotional opportunities.

At Outskirts Press, we know that writers are not always comfortable with the business and sales aspect of being an author. But by adopting a marketing mind-set and vowing to actively promote your book on a regular schedule, you’ll find it does get easier. And there’s no better time to commit to this process than during National Reading Month!
Do you need help putting together a book marketing plan? You may consider working with your very own Personal Marketing Assistant. Your Assistant will work with you, one-on-one to both develop and implement a custom marketing plan for your book.

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