Start locally with book marketing

start locally

I often recommend that authors start locally with their book marketing.

Here’s why:

  • Local media outlets — daily and weekly newspapers plus TV and radio talk shows — are often receptive to talking with local authors about their books.
  • Starting locally lets you discover which of your publicity angles and interview messages resonate with local media outlets and which fall flat. With some local experience to your credit, you can use what worked when expanding outward to larger, less “hometown-writer-makes-good” markets and toss out those that didn’t work.
  • You can can leverage local connections and relationships to uncover and secure marketing opportunities.
  • It gives you practice before you hit the big stage — the national scene.

5 ways you can start locally

How can you start locally to market your book? Here are just a few suggestions:

1. Contact local media outlets to talk about the story behind your book.

Why did you write it? What inspired it? What’s the story behind the story?

Make sure you contact the right individual at each outlet. Learn who you should contact in “How to build a killer book publicity media list” — see point 3, “Start local.”

2. Lead a workshop on how to write and publish a book.

Many communities have adult learning centers that offer one-session courses that teach registrants how to do something. Take students behind the scenes with your process. Break it down for audiences in ways that inspire them to try it themselves.

3. Host a book signing and presentation at a venue that ties in to your book’s topic.

A local fitness center is the perfect book event setting for a romance novel about a relationship that started at an extreme fitness competition. The produce section of the supermarket makes a great backdrop for a cooking demonstration by the author of a book on how to select and prepare healthier meal options.

4. Plan a “meet the authors” night with other local authors at a bookstore or library.

There’s power in numbers. When all participants promote the event, you all benefit from a larger turnout than any of you can generate on your own.

5. Collaborate with a local business or nonprofit.

Written a book on how to be more organized? Lead a short instructional workshop at stores that sell products that help people do that, such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, and Staples.

Written a cozy mystery involving cats? Work with the local animal shelter to host a book presentation and signing and donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization.

You know that practice makes perfect. Get that practice locally with the media and in-person audiences. Because you’re part of their community, they will be more forgiving and supportive as you learn by doing.

Need help writing that “pitch” letter that gets you local media interviews? Get a fill-in-the-blanks template and actual pitch letter sample in Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates.

What have you done to market your book locally — or what will you do? Tell us in a comment. 


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” (https://buildbookbuzz.com/gift) and you’ll also receive the free weekly
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8 Responses to Start locally with book marketing
  1. Yvonne Hertzberger
    November 8, 2017 | 11:36 am

    I always start with a local launch. I rent a hall – a cheap one – and have goodies and coffee, bookmarks to give out, and do a reading. That’s when I sell most of my paper books. I am always lifted up by the response. It’s a great boost after so much solitary work.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 8, 2017 | 1:24 pm

      That’s so smart, Yvonne! What kind of a turnout do you usually get? And are your books in a series?

      Sandy

  2. Jim O'Brien
    November 8, 2017 | 7:26 pm

    Sandy, so far prior to my publication, I rented a table, placed a large placard of my book cover and handed out leaflets regarding my book at an art and craft show. (I was the only guy) I carry the leaflets with me wherever I go: restaurants, barber shop, doctors office, you name it. In return I get names and emails for my marketing program. Also, I’m able to better determine my target audience. Thanks for another good post. Your gold.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 8, 2017 | 9:35 pm

      Jim, I love how you use this face-to-face marketing to figure out your target audience. Genius!

      Thanks for sharing,
      Sandy

  3. Gigi langer
    November 8, 2017 | 10:12 pm

    Thanks for the great ideas, Sandra. I’m going to “start local!”
    Way less intimidating.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 8, 2017 | 10:36 pm

      Gigi, you make an excellent point. It is WAY less intimidating. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Sandy

  4. Vivienne Sang
    November 14, 2017 | 2:06 pm

    Thank you for the useful post, Sandra. I’ve considered asking my local secondary school about the possibility of talking to their students about the writing Nd publishing business, but haven’t got the courage up yet.
    A couple of years ago, I did an interview on a local radio station that operates each year for a few weeks at the local Arts Festival.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 14, 2017 | 2:41 pm

      Go for it, Vivienne! What do you have to lose? The worst that happens is that they say, “No, thanks.” You can handle that, right?

      Congrats on the radio interview. I hope that was fun.

      Sandy

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