Many authors think they can’t promote a book without using social media. That’s bad news for the countless who don’t enjoy using social networks or don’t want to learn how to use them effectively. (Are you one of them?)
There’s good news, though! Those who think they can’t promote books without Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social network are wrong. Publishers and authors promoted books successfully long before the advent of social media.
Those of you who want to avoid using social networks can do just that and enjoy success without posts, tweets, shares, or updates. But you can’t do nothing – you have to use other tactics to reach your target audience.
Learn nine non-social media tactics you can use to promote fiction and nonfiction in this week’s article:
Marketing beyond social media
When I asked authors in the Build Book Buzz Facebook group what they’d like to learn about through this blog, several wrote a variation of “marketing beyond social media.”
Two of my traditionally published books sold out a combined four press runs without a single tweet, post, update, or share.
With that in mind, here are nine things you can do to promote your book without logging in to a single social media account. They’re in no particular order.
1. Guest blogging
This involves finding blogs that reach your book’s target audience, studying the type of content they use, and contacting the owners to propose that you write an article for the blog that will interest its readers.
2. Book fairs
Exhibiting at these local and regional events lets you meet and converse with readers, network with other authors in your genre, and learn more about industry developments. If exhibiting doesn’t appeal to you or isn’t in your budget, attend anyway — you can still talk to other attendees, connect with other authors, and so on.
People often confuse publicity with advertising. Publicity is the free exposure you get when you’re interviewed by or mentioned in the news media. I’m a national award-winnig former publicist, so you’ll find lots of information about how to get publicity on this site.
The “Book Marketing 101″ courses (one each for both fiction and nonfiction) on the training page also teach you how to generate book publicity. You can get the tools you need — templates for pitch letters, creating and practicing memorable sound bites, the messages you share, radio email pitches, and so on — in Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates.
4. Create a holiday
It’s easy enough to create a holiday and select the annual date for it. But it’s not enough to just pick a date and call it your own. For it to have book marketing value, it has to have a direct link to your book or something in your book (for example, the author of a novel or children’s book telling Raggedy Ann’s “real” story could create Raggedy Ann Day), and you have to spread the word about the special day you’ve created (publicity is a good option).
Once you’ve got your concept and date, get it listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events. The deadline for the next book is April 15.
If your holiday is quirky, contact the folks at Holiday Insights to get listed on their site.
Speaking, which is particularly effective for promoting memoirs, has evolved to include more than standing in front of a group and sharing information they’re interested in hearing. Now it includes presenting at virtual (online) conferences and being interviewed on podcasts.
“Authors and public speaking: 5 reasons to be an author who speaks” will talk you into speaking to groups about your favorite topic.
6. Email marketing
Social media serves a purpose, but if the social networks you use disappeared tomorrow, what would you be left with?
But you own your email list. Even Mark Zuckerberg can’t take that away from you.
Build a fan base and get to know many of them better by creating an email newsletter that encourages recipients to share information with you. Get an overview of the process in “Building your author e-mail list,” then read, “What should I send to my author e-mail list?”
7. Book signings
This is a great tactic for extroverts, especially those who enjoy public speaking, because today’s book signings are about entertainment, not books.
Jane Sutter Brandt explains how she had a blockbuster event in “How to sell out at a book signing without being a celebrity.” Learn what popular young adult author Megan McCafferty does at her book signings to keep people engaged and entertained in “Best selling YA author Megan McCafferty adds unique signature feature to book signings.” Get how-to tips from “Your book signing event tool kit.”
Consider doing yours at a venue that’s related to your book’s topic instead of a bookstore, too.
8. Create an event with other authors
Do this locally at a library or at a function room at a book lover’s conference such as the Dayton Book Expo. Collectively, you can Entertainmentattract a large audience of people who enjoy reading the types of books you write.
9. Meet with a book club
You don’t need social media to find and connect with book clubs. You do need to write the type of book that clubs read, though, and you need to do a few other things, as well (including finding book clubs). Learn how it works in “Authors and book clubs.”
Pick the one option of all of these that appeals to you the most and learn how to do it well. You will see that you enjoy book promotion more — so you’ll probably do more of it. That, in turn, will lead to more success.
Take that, Twitter.
What do you do to promote your book that doesn’t involve social media?