Many writers consider it infra dig to market their books. They feel their job ends with writing and after that it’s the publisher’s problem. I disagree.
I have realized that we writers can do a lot to market our books. When my first two books were published, my publisher requested me to ask my family and close friends to visit bookshops to buy my books. When the staff in the book shops realize that the book is moving they not only give it a prominent display but also recommend it to other customers. Unfortunately I was too shy to ask anyone to do this and the 35% discount offered by my publisher to friends placing bulk orders enticed them away from the bookshops. They approached her office directly.
One writer I knew had put up posters of her books outside movie halls. I did see people stop before the poster. But how many actually bought the book I have no idea. But atleast the book got some visibility.
Publishers can do a lot to market the books.
1. Putting up posters in schools and colleges and other frequently visited places is a good idea for spreading the word around.
2. Approaching schools with offers of huge discounts if bulk orders are placed is another great idea. Many schools distribute books as prizes.
3. Approaching librarians and talking with library owners about our books is another smart marketing strategy. Many prefer to borrow books from the library than buy books. But atleast the book is read.
4. Organising book reading and signing sessions in bookshops is a wonderful idea. If this can be combined with a themed event ( like my publisher did for my books) its super.
5. Arranging for author interveiws with several newspapers did its bit in spreading the word for my first two books.
6. Sending out free copies to newspapers for reviews. The books can also be given to columnists whose columns have a wide readership.
7. What we didn’t do was the radio marketing. Local channels like (FM, 94.3) have a fantastic reach. Unfortunately my publisher just did not tap that media. Radio contests with the book as prize would have worked wonderfully well. People are listening to the radio all the time: while driving and at home. And who doesn't like a free book.
8. Organising readings and visits in schools was another missed opportunity. This is one of the best ways for children’s books to reach their readers.
9. Blog posts about book releases and Tweets are effective Internet mediums to bring the book to the notice of people inhabiting the virtual world. As are like pages. Blog contests and giveaways are a great way of spreading the word around.
10. One Indian publisher put up ads about their forthcoming book on MTV.
11. The same publisher also placed newspaper ads.
Do you believe in the adage that effective marketing sells more copies? What does good marketing mean to you? Any ideas you would like to share about marketing?