I want to start off this post by telling you that life is good. I am happy. I love the move we made from Cleveland to Cincinnati. It was definitely the right move for us. I have no doubt. I say this because moving isn't easy and it isn't cheap. Neither is a quality editor or book cover designer. These facts have left me with nothing in the budget to spend on book marketing for the next few months. With no money to spend, I am forced to be creative and get out of my comfort zone to market and sell my books. I need to sell books so I can continue to pay for a quality editor and book cover designer. It's an endless cycle!! (At least until I get the next few books published) For indie authors, there are many paid opportunities to market your books. Bookbub is one of the most popular. If you are approved and pay the appropriate fee, your book is featured on a daily email that is sent to thousands of voracious readers. Bookbub is at the top right now for book promotion, but there are other options. The Fussy Librarian, Kindle Nation Daily, or Pixel of Ink are other options. You can buy twitter, facebook, or goodreads ads. All of these can help your book sell, especially in a hot genre. Of course, children's books don't do as well with these promotions because of the audience even if I had some money to spend.
So what if you need to market books on little or no budget?
It's time to start hustling. No really it is. That means carrying your books everywhere you go and asking strangers to buy your books. Now, if you hate talking to strangers like me, this might be a terrifying option. But I think local marketing–working with people you can meet and see is a good option. Here are a few ideas:
Book Signings - Set up a book signing in your local coffee shop, bookstore, or ice cream shop. (Who doesn't want to eat ice cream while they get a book signed?) Spread the word to everyone you know. Print out postcards and hand out to strangers. (It's easier to hand someone a postcard then to ask them to buy your book) Use facebook events (perhaps the only useful function of facebook) to promote. Make sure you have plenty of books on hand, cash for change and a square reader for credit card payment. Then have fun! Even if you only sell ten books, the event only cost you minimal time and no money. And now you have ten new readers.
Author Days - Author Days consist of visiting a local school, usually an elementary school, reading to the kids, talking to them about being an author, and signing books. Kids can purchase copies of books in advance and you can have them signed ahead of time to save time. This is a great idea for fellow children's book authors. I also think YA authors should consider visiting middle and high schools. I am sure teachers and students would find value in the visit.
Local Events - Find out what is happening in your area and set up shop with a table to sell books. On my end, I am going to have a table at the Cincinnati Pug Fair (yes it is a real thing!) I am also looking into a table at a Farmer's Market and children's events in the area.
Workshops - I like teaching. My workshops are either writing or faith based. I've led the workshops at community centers, churches, and libraries. I always end up selling books in addition to my fee for teaching.
Those are a few ideas I am currently pursuing to market books and gain new readers. This type of marketing takes more time, but I believe the personal connection pays off in the long run.
What are your ideas to market books on no budget?
Also, I wanted to give a quick thank you to all of my wordpress followers. The number continues to increase. I hope you find value and some laughs here with my blog. If you want to join my street team, you can sign up here. The Street Team knows first (before the blog!) about new writing projects, promotions, and the opportunity for free advance review copies.