IWSG: Ask PZM June 2015 – Promoting Your Book

It’s that the first Wednesday of the month, which also means it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaughit’s time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn’t matter which.

If you’d like to join Insecure Writer’s Support Group, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the the June 3 posting of the IWSG will be M. Pax, Tracy Jo,Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

Please stop by and thank them for their time. Yay co-host/minions!

Ask PZM:

Q: For the summer reading season – do you have any ideas for cross-promotions for books?

This is a topic I have been discussing with children’s book author Susan Chodakiewitz, who two years ago did a joint picture book project  – “Master Davey and the Magic Tea House” – with the international company Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Inspired by that conversation, I am going to discuss some ideas that might work for you.

Benefit events:

At first blush the idea of giving away a large number of your books might not seem appealing.  Yet let’s imagine a scenario where this could be a good strategy:

You have published a nonfiction book about exercises to do in bed and you are about to publish the sequel to that book.  Meanwhile a local cancer organization needs to raise funds for research. 

You go to the organization and offer to do a fundraising event where you will demonstrate the exercises.  In addition, you will give away to all attendees the ebook version of your first book while selling physical copies of your new book at the event (and giving 10% of sales to the research project).

The organization agrees to publicize the event, including promoting your new book, and you get exposed to attendees who might spread the word about your two books. (And you can capture email addresses on the landing page for downloading the free ebook.)

Now put on your thinking cap and consider all the places that might be a good cross-promotional fit with your books.  Do you write about animals?  Think zoos.  Do you write about dance?  Think dance companies. 

And remember, every event in which you participate is an opportunity to get global recognition for your book titles by utilizing social media such as Twitter and Facebook appropriately (share not sell).

Reading programs:

Perhaps you write children’s Middle Grade and picture books.  Does your local library have a summer reading program?  What about donating several physical copies of your books for the library to give to the children who do the most book reviews? 

The library agrees to display one copy of each of your books all summer as part of the reading program display.  And then at the end of the program the library announces which children earned which books.

As part of this program you could offer to do an author reading.  And for more publicity opportunities you could offer to do a writing workshop for a “Write Your Own Book” event at the library.

Note that this idea could also work for children’s theaters.  You could give a short reading before a performance and give away several physical book copies via a drawing for attendees.

Planning for back-to-school in the fall:

Would your nonfiction – or even your fiction book – be good as part of a subject curriculum?  If so, you could work on preparing the curriculum and perhaps approaching teachers before the hectic start of the school year.
Yes, you may have to agree to donate the books for the first class that utilizes your curriculum.  Yet after that first time, with public praise of the program, you could promote the concept to other schools as a buy-the-book program.  And, if you want, you could even participate in the class discussion in person or by skype.

For an example of a subject curriculum based on a book, see the high school curriculum for my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/mrs-lieutenant/teach-us-history/mrs-lieutenant-lesson-plan/

And although no school has yet to take me up on this offer for my book “How to Succeed in High School and Prep for College,” I state at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/how-to-succeed-books/high-school-and-prep-for-college/ :

SCHOOL OPPORTUNITY: If an elementary or high school buys books for an entire class, I would be happy to have a complimentary skype call with the students. Email me at pzmiller@gmail.com
(Note that I put my email in this announcement even though my email is also elsewhere on my author site.  I want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact me about this offer.) 

Local book clubs:

Summers are probably when local book clubs plan for their fall reading schedule.  Do you make available – and promote – book discussion questions for your fiction or nonfiction books? 
If you do not know of any local book clubs, check out www.meetup.com for your local area.  You may be surprised at the number of local book clubs that you find.  (And you may also be surprised at the local groups that you might want to join.  For example, I attend numerous Los Angeles tech meetups, most of whose events are free.)

For an example of online book discussion questions as well as an explanatory video for “Mrs. Lieutenant,” see http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/mrs-lieutenant/book-discussion-questions/

In conclusion, now that your creative juices are flowing on this topic, what prospective ideas can you come up with for your books?  Perhaps share some ideas or actual promotions in the comments below.  (And do think about joining together with other authors for shared cross-promotional opportunities.)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and her Amazon Author Page for her fiction books is at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller

On a personal note, I’ve decided to take a 2 month hiatus from my online presence. For some time now I’ve been bothered by my lack of enthusiasm for everything writing-related, plus my scarcity at visiting other blogs on time and leaving a decent comment. It’s not my style to be elusive and self-absorbed, so I’m off to find my muse. Hopefully 60 days is enough time. Phyllis, Hank, and I will be back in August. Take care, everyone. 

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