Think Outside the Book Cover for Promotional Ideas

Thursday, September 01, 2011
You've written a book, ordered the usual promo items - like bookmarks or postcards, and detailed a press release that you hope will have booksellers racing to purchase your books for resale.

It's a traditional route many authors take.

But have you thought outside the book cover? How many potential markets have you not considered?

An August Publisher's Weekly report notes that traditional book store sales fell 1.9% in June 2011 to $1.02 billion.

"LuAnn," you say, "that's a fairly decent amount of money."

And I hear you. I'd like to get my share of that chunk of change, but the bottom line is that over half of book sales come from non-traditional sources.

Where did you make your last book purchase? A book store? A discount club? Online? An author's presentation?

When planning your promotional strategy, you've got to think outside the perimeter of your book. I believe I've found three markets that you may not have considered
  • Can your book be used as a textbook? I've taught writing courses for the local community college. I don't use a required textbook, but I do RECOMMEND a book about writing that is one of my favorites. The campus bookstore stocks it. Now, I'm not sure this particular author considered that her book could be used in a college course, but, it's an avenue worth investigating if your subject matter lends itself as primary and even secondary source material.
  • Have you visited the library? Libraries tend to be an untapped resource, in my opinion. I've presented multiple talks at a local library and I've attended enough author presentations to know that they bring books to sell. It seems like common sense: if people are interested in listening to you discuss your book, they more than likely want to read your book. So, have you asked the librarian about making a purchase? My mom is a librarian, and I know she usually makes sure the book is available in the library. She also checks out Quality Books to see what's available.
  • How many catalogues do you receive via mail? My parents seem to be catalogue magnets, receiving these quirky direct-order compendiums. When I'm at their house, I'll flip through these mailings. Guess what? Many of them offer books. If you can find a catalogue that sells merchandise relating to your subject, you may be able to offer your book in that publication.
In this economy, authors need to be proactive when it comes to promotion. Don't only consider the usual suspects when planning a marketing campaign. Extend your vision beyond the book cover.

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's work at her website.


Anonymous said...

Well LuAnn, thank you for the tips. So let me think outside the book cover and promote this book that is the first book written by my close friend:
Love in the Gardens of Macantar: A Spiritual Journey of Healing from codependency and relationship addiction
Lisa Acor Laurel

This book is a memoir which explores the entire year before the beginning of freedom for Ms. Laurel. Freedom in the sense of no more addiction to relationships with men, drugs, and alcohol. And it portrays her emotional struggle to keep the sanity from destroying her and keep it away from her son. It is Christian faith-based as there are many quotes from Corinthians that has guided her out of her personal hell.

Ms. Laurel's story tells a bit about my story. She punctuates much of my own life with her experiences and had me rooting for her saying, "I hear ya sista'!" I don't label this book as a 'self-help'. Women need validation for their courage to persue their own inner journey. This book does just that. And this is what I label it, "women-helping-women". Pick it up. It's a quick read and you will want to read it over and over again as you persue your own journey of regaining your passions and true happiness.

Lisa Acor Laurel is a native Long Islander and works in the gardening industry, promotes and practices organic methods, is an avid labyrinth, meditation garden creator, and church participant, and a well-versed writer, this being the first of several books to come. She holds CASAC certification and studied acupuncture at NYI of Chinese Medicine. You may visit her online at

Sachicko Charente @-->--

Anonymous said...

I've read "Love in the Gardens of Macantar", too. Definately worth the read if you are stuck in unfulfilling or abusive relationships or life situations, this book could change your perspective. A real motivator in finding your own path.

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