The Portland Aerial Tram in Portland, Oregon. ...

There might be 60 people inside this tram buying my books and there are two trams.

Have you thought about your marketing for when your book get’s published. If not, how come? Marketing is widely left up to the author these days.

Publishers will do some PR for you, but unless you are on the Best Seller list, they expect you to carry your own weight. Heck they expect that even if you are on the BS list.

I attended a book launch last week because it was a member of one of the writing groups I volunteer for and because I wanted to learn how it was done. I attended one a few years back and it was a standup affair in a wine shop, serving–you guessed it–wine.

The one I attended last week was held in a church. it was a good venue. There was a large lobby where people circulated, bought books, ate deserts and punch, and the author shook hands.

Then, we were ushered into the pews and the author read a few portions from her book and left us wanting more. I guessed if the turnout was meager, the whole thing could have been done in the lobby. Since she had upwards of 120 there, we moved to a larger area..

I asked one of the people how they knew the author. Turns out she was a friend of the spouse, and she was curious.

One of the questions I always ask myself, is if I held a book launch would anybody come?  I think they would because writers seem to have this aura among readers. Whenever I tell them I’m writing a book, they inevitably say, “I’d like to read it, when it’s done.”

Tip:  Always write their name and contact info down when they say this.

Here are some random ideas I’ve thought about to get people to turn out:

1. Put together an email list of my former real estate clients (they all know I write), former chamber members, writing colleagues, friends and family, former co-workers. Email them at least three times prior.

2. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, etc., and send invites. Ask people to send it to their friends.

3. Write a PR news item (I’m a writer, right?). Send it to all news media, from the biggest to the smallest. Put it in the church bulletin.

4. Have a contest or incentive. i.e: Bring a friend to the event, put your name in the pot, and the author will draw a name at random. If you win, the author will use your name as a character in his next book. Give a book away in a drawing.

5. Pick an interesting venue–some place where people might want to go anyway. A restaurant, a book store, the aerial tram that goes from the waterfront to OHSU at the top of the West Hills (my hero rides on down from the top of it and it holds 60 people.) You get the idea.

6. Have food. Lots of Food. Good Food. Wine? Advertise it: We have Good Food!  Food brings people out.

7.  Invite a local community college radio station or public radio to attend and broadcast or cover it. After all, you are a local author.

8. Schedule interviews on local radio stations prior to the book signing.

9. Ask colleagues to write a review of your book, including when the book launch happens. I know of two or three people who write reviews for the large daily paper in Portland. They are authors themselves.  Invite blogs to review your book: See Blog Tours on this blog.

10. Promote it with Writing Associations. Willamette Writers and Oregon Writer’s Colony (in Portland) offer free web space on their web pages for authors to plug their book and WW also does bulletins. If you’ve been volunteering in writer organizations you will know where these opportunities exist.

11. Make It Fun!  How? That’s up to you. But make it a happening and let people know it will be fun.

12. Spread announcements out to all bookstores in your city. Ask if you can circulate or post a flyer.

So those are the ones I came up with just sitting here. Can you add other ideas? Think inside and outside the box. Comment and share your ideas.

  1. Maureen Kay says:

    Thanks, Don, good ideas!

  2. Frank Ryan says:

    Wow! Don your plan is excellent and so is the execution and worthy advice. It is no longer a game where publishing houses do all the work, and you and your agent rake in all the loot.
    Now as you demonstrate a writer is a marketeer, is a social butterfly etc.
    Good luck and God Bless your little ole pea pickin heart.

  3. […] I chaired for Oregon Writer’s Colony, and also wrote a piece about how to launch your book’s coming out party, but when I held mine I forgot about my idea of having it on one of the Trams at OHSU. A cool idea, […]

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