A friend and I have been trading e-mails back and forth for about a month or more now. She is an author and has a book about a blind character as do I. While we've been chatting we've traded marketing tips and tricks we've learned as we're both trying to get our debut novels out to the public. I thought I'd share a few and the links to some of the references.
1-Give Aways- I've heard from more than one author that giving away a copy of your book or another person's book on your blog brings higher traffic to your blog. I've only done this once and I had a single person, who already owned the book respond. My author friend had an increase on her blog and gave her book away to a new reader. Lots of blogs have give-aways where you're entered every time you leave a comment. If you're looking for new writers or you like a particular author go visit their website or blog and see if they're giving something away. You may be able to offer your book for them to give away as well.
2-Reviews off of Good Reads- Here's one I hadn't heard of before. Go to goodreads.com. Search out your genre and look at who read it. Search out your favorite authors or books that are like yours and then leave messages for the people who have reviewed. Ask them to read and review your book and be willing to supply free copies. A lot of them will jump at the chance to read and review and goodreads is one of the best sources for readers to find you.
3-Blogtours- There a a couple of ways to do this. If you know bloggers who review and have large followings of their reviews, you can set up a blog tour of your own during the month or so your book debuts. If you're like most writers your network isn't as large as you'd like it to be. For a small fee, you can hire a tour company to host your book and send you on a tour. The World Of Ink Network hosts tours and interviews where they reach more than 80,000 people all over the nation and they're prices are minimal. They will also host you on their website with a banner and information about your books.
4-Blogtalk radio- This one has been a lot of fun for me. So much so that I now, co-host a blogtalk radio show of my own. There are a thousand blogtalk radio programs out there. research your genre, specialty, or subject along with blogtalk radio and you can find programs willing to host an interview and talk about your book. If you can't find a show, research individual hosts or companies who host blogtalk radio programs.
5- Treasure hunt- If you have been scheduled or are scheduled for a book signing in a book store, then you know sales in this environment are usually low. The exposure you get is great, but people need a reason to come to you and look at your book. A treasure hunt in the bookstore sends customers around the store with a card or paper with strategic questions. The answers are found in books. Hand out the 'treasure map' with your questions, making sure the final answer can only be found in your book. Offer a prize like a candy bar or swag. When the 'hunter comes to you for the final answer you can talk about your book and they will pick it up and find the page number you give for the hint within the book. Its great for starting conversation, stimulating interest and spreading the word. If your book has travel in it, ask location questions from different books. e.g. if your setting is in Paris, ask them to find the name of the town from "Angel's and Demons", by Dan Brown give the page number as a hint. If you've got a romance set on an Island like Hawaii, with a military character and a cowgirl, then ask questions about Hawaii, cowboys and the military. Make sure the final question always comes from your book.
In a world where you're competing with 30,000 books and authors on any given day, a foot up can't hurt. Give it a shot and let me know what worked for you. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, keep writing!