If you’ve spent much time reading the literature of travel, you’ll already know that there are many handy quotes about the process. St. Augustine, for example, is credited with saying that “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” If you’ve recently self-published a book on travel, clearly, you’ve seen more than one page of that book … but what about your readers? How do you ensure that they move from the shelf to the checkout line with your book in hand? How do you ensure that your book meets the readers it needs out there in the world?
We have a few ideas to get you started, exactly five of them in fact. Take advantage of them all and you’ll put your travel book, so to speak, on the map.
ONE: Consider the “Who?” Who are your readers, really? Are they travelers like you, in that they actually move through the physical world and are looking for templates to follow? Or are they what publishers used to call “armchair travelers,” those readers who much preferred to live vicariously through others than to conduct the trips (and endure their hardships) themselves? This being 2018, the conversation about ableism is now well-developed, and we now know that many readers pick up travel books to empower them, and to enable them to experience the world in a way that maybe they couldn’t otherwise. So, with your readers in mind, share content that gets them excited about travel, such as quality social media content, engaging lists and articles; also provide content that helps your readers plan, including itineraries and how-to videos; and lastly, provide content which will help them take an action, such as booking a trip, making a reservation, or accessing their local wildernesses.
TWO: Consider the “What?” As in, what’s your niche? Travel books happen to occupy a difficult niche, as do many other genres, in that they’re read heavily but only by very specific audiences, and sales numbers only occasionally make them blockbuster successes. (Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is a great example of an exception, however.) What this means for self-published authors is that you need to find people who are already interested in your book’s subject, even if they read in different quantities than they might in other genres. Once you find these people, they are an easy sell. And in the age of information, finding them is easier than previous generations could even dream about. Look for those Facebook groups dedicated to travel and ask if anyone is interested in reviewing your travelogue. Hop on Reddit and start a conversation about the destinations you cover. Use your niche to your advantage!
THREE: Consider the “When?” When it comes to travel, the time of year really matters. Take care to highlight seasons in your marketing, especially on visually-driven platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook: fall colors, winter activities, and seasonal foods go over really well in framing your marketing strategies! Also highlight local holidays, and ways for your readers to celebrate, which festivities to attend, and so forth, and tackle other timely elements that can become the focal point for effective marketing content. Extra content to include on your blog, social media, or website might include a local events guide or seasonal restaurant menus.
FOUR: Consider the “Where?” As with the time of year, your destination really, and truly makes a difference in your marketing strategy! In your marketing materials, make sure to explore destination-specific highlights such as exclusive events and local sights. Take care to showcase the local food and beverage scene, as mentioned earlier, including restaurant recommendations, wine tastings, and foodie-favorite festivals. And lastly, intentionally acquaint your readers with little-known travel tips such as where to find off-the-beaten paths and materials which will enable them to replicate your favorite experiences.
FIVE: Consider the “Why?” Why do your readers read? Why do you write? And most importantly, why do we travel? Remember, the art of a travel book is evoking the feeling of expansion, of exploration, in those who have not had the liberty or means or luck to travel the way that you have. In a sense, this puts a burden of responsibility on you. What can you say and do in your marketing to embrace those readers of limited mobility, who are perhaps constrained by money or by their own bodies and prevented from conducting a trip like yours? You have the ability–and the opportunity–to bring the book of this grand world of ours to your readers and help them flip through a few of its pages. If there’s a more beautiful idea, we haven’t heard it yet.
As Henry Miller put it, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” What better way of helping make the world a better place than by making it possible for your readers to see our beautiful planet through fresh eyes? We hope you’ll take the time to invest in your book’s marketing success now that it exists in this beautiful world of ours.
Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this month? There’s never a better time than now to inquire. Log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers.
To see our staff picks of amazing travel books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.