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As if it wasn’t difficult enough to get book signings, now my publisher is no longer accepting book returns. I can understand. If the book doesn’t sell, the store can’t keep it and needs to make room for others coming in; however, this will make it extremely difficult to get any book signings from ANY bookstore.

Most bookstores need to have the reassurance that if they purchase a book for their shelf that they’re not stuck with it.

But there’s a way around this. There are other places, not bookstores, that may consider giving authors book signings. Look into libraries, give talks. Now, I’m not the best speaker, but as an illustrator and character sculptor, maybe I can throw into some fun stuff to entice the talks some other way. Do a question and answer. Maybe arrange to have a panel discussion.

The other day, my publisher sent out a list of 50 ways to promote your book, so I thought I’d share:

50 Ways to Promote Your Book
posted by John Riddle from www.ilovetowrite.com
1. Letters to the Editor: Newspapers, newsletters, trade journals, Websites, etc.
2. Get a Website with the name of your book.
3. Sell copies of your book from your Website. (Offer several chapters free so people can see what your book is about.)
4. Offer a “premium” if people purchase your book: a poster, a bookmark, etc.
5. Ask people who read your book to start posting messages on book related Websites.
6. Register your Website with every search engine you can find.
7. If you have written a book and are still waiting for a publisher to offer you a book contract, set up a Website and start selling it as an e-book.
8. Make sure you accept credit cards; use Pay Pal, the second most recognizable Web site behind E-Bay.
9. Offer a free weekly or a monthly electronic newsletter to people interested in reading.
10. Send out a press release to your local newspaper.
11. Call your local radio stations and offer to do an interview.
12. Contact local freelance writers and let them know you are available for author interviews.
13. Let the media know you are an “expert” in your field.
14. Contact your local bookstores and offer to do a signing and a free lecture.
15. Contact all bookstores within 90 miles and offer the same as #8.
16. When making bookstore appearances, have flyers people can take away with them. Let them know more about your book, and how they can order it later if they didn’t purchase it that day.
17. Contact your local library and offer to do a free lecture. (Don’t forget the flyers….)
18. Contact all libraries within 90 miles and offer the same as #11.
19. Get a magnetic sign made that features your book and attach it to your vehicle.
20. Make sure you have a media kit available; include a photo (digital), an author bio, a Q & A info sheet, etc.
21. Send an e-mail to every book review editor on the planet. (A good place to begin collecting names is to look in Literary Marketplace.)
22. Search the Internet for additional book review names and contact info. (A good place to begin is the Book Zone Pro Co-op Reviewers Database; http://www.bookzonepro.com/reviewers/
23. Ask other authors to mention your book on their Website.
24. Collect editorial calendars from publications and Websites; see when editors will be needing author interviews and book reviews.
25. When mentioning your book on the radio, make sure you repeat the title a few times, along with the name of your Website.
26. Join “expert source” publications and Websites (Radio & TV Interview Report, Profnet, The Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons, and Expert Magazine, to name a few).
27. Co-brand your book to increase your book’s exposure. Attempt to tie your title to a related and successful product or service that not only shares your book’s target audience, but has a powerful brand image. (For example, a book about pet health tips could be sold at pet grooming businesses, or animal hospitals.)
28. Look for “alternative” book distribution channels (search the Internet)
29. Search the Internet for “Independent Distributors/Jobbers” They can be found in nearly every state. They can get your book into places you never thought about (convenience stores, etc.)
30. Look for publishers that also distribute books (do a Yahoo search); a few that come to mind include First Glance Books in CA, Free Spirit Publishing in MN, and Pen Notes in NY.
31. Get your book into the Wholesale Clubs: Costco, Sam’s, etc.
32. Look for “Marketing Outlets” that might be interested in carrying your title (computer stores, department stores, discount stores, etc.).
33. Make sure every book club on the planet knows about your title. Start with Literary Marketplace, Publishers Weekly, etc., then do an exhaustive Web search.
34. Contact Home Shopping TV shows; most feature several book segments a week.
35. Read “Jump Start Your Book Sales” by Marilyn & Tom Ross. (And follow their suggestions and ideas!)
36. Read “Time Management for Creative People” and learn how creative people can do more in less time.
37. Create your own “Guerrilla Publicity Plan” for promoting your book. Consult with your publicist, and see what they are doing.
38. Talk to everyone about your book: your doctor, your dry cleaner, even telemarketers.
39. Carry business cards with the name of your book and pass them out.
40. Carry bookmarks with the name of your book; strike up a conversation with that stranger on the bus, train, or plane. (FYI: Most people have never met a “real author,” and will really be impressed.)
41. Carry stickers with the name of your book; and post them everywhere.
42. Have a button made of your book cover that you can wear, or create a name badge that says “Author,” your name, and book title.
43. Offer to speak at local community organizations: Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, etc.
44. Start speaking at writers conferences; you can promote and sell your own titles while you are there.
45. Buy a copy of “How I Made $66,270 in 9 Months Writing for Websites,” by John Riddle. When you do, you’ll get a free copy of “Getting a Book Contract in 30 Days or Less.” But more importantly, you’ll learn about “marketing, marketing, and marketing.” (Available at this writer’s conference, or you can order at http://www.ilovetowrite.com)
46. Make sure your publisher sends you on an author tour. If they have no money in their budget, offer to drive at your own expense.
47. Search the Internet and look for “book and author” chats; offer to be a guest.
48. Find out who your target audience is for your book: and brainstorm new and creative ways to let them know about your book. For example, if you have written a “How-to” parenting book for new Moms and Dads, how can you reach them? Flyers at child care centers; children’s clothing stores, toy stores, etc.
49. Hold a contest and offer a free autographed book as the prize. Contact local media outlets; publicize it on your Website, etc.
50. Research how other books have been promoted, and follow their lead. “Success Leaves Clues!”

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