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 browsing to buying?
We have a few ideas to get you started. Take advantage of them all and before you know it, you’ll have put your travel book on the map… so to speak:
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 potentional hardships) themselves? This being 2021, the conversation about ableism is now well-developed, and we now know that many readers pick up travel books to empower themselves, and to enable themselves to experience the world in a way that maybe they couldn’t have otherwise.
So, with your readers in mind, share content that gets them excited about travel, such as quality social media content and engaging lists and articles. Also provide content that helps your readers plan a trip themselves, including sample itineraries and how-to videos. And lastly, provide content and links that will help them take action, such as booking a trip, making a reservation, or contacting a travel agent.
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, for example.) What this means for self-published authors is that you need to find people who are already interested in travel narratives. 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 experiencing a new travelogue. Hop on Reddit and start a conversation about the destinations you visited. 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, destinations to celebrate, and festivities to attend. 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 local events guides 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, 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 little-known treasures which will enable them to truly appreciate 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, for 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 this grand world of ours to your readers. 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.
Do you need some fresh ideas to market your book? FREE resources in the Outskirts Press Marketing COACH Dashboard are available for all our self-published authors.