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Silver Spring, MD
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Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Use Your Personal Network To Publicize Your Self-Published Book

Biff Barnes

You sit down to plan how you will market your book. (Last week’s post 7 Things You’ll Need For Your Marketing Plan discussed some things you’ll want to have ready when you do.) It’s likely that one of your first thoughts is that this is a big job, maybe too big for one person. A lot of authors who have never marketed a book think about hiring a publicist or a book marketer to do it for them. That can be expensive. Let’s look instead at how you can tap your personal network to help you create a buzz about your book.

Courtesy of Chris Potter under Creative Commons

Friends and acquaintances want to help. They have tons of good will. They want your book to be successful. The problem is they often don’t have any idea of how to help. Your job is to let them know what they can do. Begin your planning with two questions:

  • Who would be willing to help get the word out about my book?
  • What might each person on your list be able to do to help your book find an audience?

That second question will take some thought. Here are some ways that members of your personal network can help:

Offer a Celebrity Endorsement – Do you know a person who is a celebrity (or a person who can introduce you to one)? Getting a celebrity to read your book and offer an endorsement you can use in publicizing your book adds legitimacy and prestige to your marketing efforts.

Lin Bothwell, who wrote Lessons in Honor, a novel set at the Air Force Academy which he attended back in the day, approached a number of prominent members of his own network to be advance readers. Several, including Major General Roy Bridges, a former astronaut and Director of the Kennedy Space Flight Center, offered endorsements which he was able to use in marketing the book.

Plan or Sponsor an Event – Do you know someone you will help you with a book launch party or other gathering to publicize your book? Having someone who can help choose a venue (it might be their home, a local restaurant or business), create the guest list and get invitations out can help you get a good start in getting people talking about your book.

Capitalize on an Organizational Network– Part of getting other people talking about your book is talking about it yourself. Organizations have regular meetings and are looking for speakers. They have newsletters which they regularly send to members. If you are a member of a service club like Rotary, Soroptimists, or Lions, a professional organization, or a club centered around a particular interest (gardens, classic aircraft, fly fishing – you name it) find out about speaking or getting an article in the newsletter.

Therese Mac Davis wrote a book called Just Miatas about her experiences buying, restoring and selling the popular sports car. Miatas are something of a cult item among enthusiasts with Miata Clubs all over the U.S. and Canada. Davis marketed her book by appearing at club events and writing newsletter articles about her book for club newsletters.

Help With a Book Tour – Friends and family can help you plan a low budget book tour. They might offer a place to stay in the town where you plan to appear. They may even be able to help with local contacts with bookstores, libraries, organizations, or events at which you would like to appear.

Hook You Up With the Media – Do you know someone who works in media (or a person who knows someone)? A print reporter or someone in radio or TV can help you arrange for an interview or book review.

Blog Your Book – Do you know someone with a blog (or a person who knows someone with a blog) who might be willing to post about your book? Blogs are an increasingly effective way to get the word out. Blog tours have replaced book tours for many authors. Two excellent articles on how to set up a blog tour are:

Post a Review – Despite controversies about authors paying for positive reviews and other chicanery, positive reviews on Amazon or Good Reads are essential. Ask your friends to read and review your book. Having a batch of five-star reviews when a potential buyer clicks on Amazon can do nothing but help sales.

Tell Their Friends – Getting friends to mention your book will help you broaden the word of mouth about your book. Talking you up in phone conversations, letters and emails is great. Posting about you on Facebook or Tweeting about your book offers even more reach.

Members of your personal network will come up with all kinds of ways – many you’d never think of - to get the word out about your book. Make sure asking them to do it is a first step in your marketing plan.

If you have a favorite method of publicizing your book, leave a comment sharing it.