Everyday (budget-friendly) Marketing Opportunities

When we dream of marketing, we think of big bucks poured into paid advertisements in magazines or online site, eye-catching displays in bookstores, engaging book trailers, or flashy billboards (hey, I told you it was a dream).

Don’t lose heart. There are opportunities for everyday marketing that cost little to nothing:

  • Blog—Maintain a blog.
  • Group blog—Participating with friends in a themed blog. The upside is that you don’t shoulder the entire responsibility to update a group blog. Our WordServe Water Cooler blog has 46 contributors.
  • Blog hop/blog tour—Spread the word about your book by creating a blog tour on friends’ and influencers blogs. If you’ve already published, perhaps some of your readers might be happy to participate.
  • Online radio—There are several programs interested in hosting authors. Email the hosts to see if there’s a good fit. Check out Virtue Radio Network or Blog Talk Radio.
  • eNewsletter—Whenever you do a book signing or author appearance provide a sign-up sheet for your newsletter. Also make sure readers can sign up on your website, and send readers to sign up from your blog or Facebook. Here are some different options for newsletter programs: Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Your Mailing List Provider, Mail Chimp.
  • Local radio—Yes, there still are local radio stations that would consider hosting you on one of their programs.
  • City and County TV stations—I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest on two different local TV shows about books and authors. Both of them were affiliated with the community library system. Don’t discount this opportunity, both programs were re-run many, many times, and lots of friends and acquaintances mentioned they’d seen the show.
  • Local magazines/weeklies: send a press release.
  • Library events—contact your local library to see how they work with authors.
  • Booksigning/author events: My town loves to close down Mainstreet on Sundays from late spring to early autumn for a farmer’s market and merchant festival. The library district loans out its booth to local authors. Check with your library PR person or Chamber of Commerce to see if your area has opportunities like this.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Be available to speak in your community
  • Often employers will let you mention your new book in their newsletter.
  • Church/community newsletters might let your place a blurb.
  • College alumni magazine—Send them a press release about your book.
  • I put a notice and some bookmarks on the community bulletin board at my neighborhood rec center, and a neighbor I’ve never met bought four copies and contacted me to sign them for her. Isn’t that cool?
  • Charity events: donate $1 for each book sold at a local event.
  • Respond to writers’ loop emails, and be helpful. Get to know other writers because writers are also readers.
  • As soon as you have cover art, print bookmarks and pass them out everywhere! I give bookmarks to wait staff at restaurants, people in line at the grocery store, etc. Send them in Christmas cards.
  • Be brave: discuss your accomplishment everywhere—dentist, pharmacist.
  • Put a notice on your website that you will visit local book clubs and be available for conference call visits with book clubs.

Do you have any marketing ideas that you can share? Please do!

40 Replies to “Everyday (budget-friendly) Marketing Opportunities”

  1. What a great way to start the week, Megan! You shared lots of ideas and none of them break the bank. One of the things I like to do is tell my friends about other writers — sharing my favorite books with them or giving them as gifts (even better!) It doesn’t cost me a thing to talk up another writer–and I know the importance of word-of-mouth marketing. I certainly value it when another person puts in a good word for me.

    1. Thanks, Beth. You’ll have to share some of your bookmarks with me. I carry my own as well as friends’ bookmarks in my purse, and I hand them out when I get the opportunity. A few weeks ago I went to a Chinese restaurant to pick up dinner. I had to wait a few minutes and struck up a conversation with another lady waiting. She was reading a novel. I introduced myself and gave her my bookmark and a few of my friends’ bookmarks.

  2. Thanks for the advice. I’m still re-writing my novel but I’ll be sure to check back when I need help!

    I think the idea of grabbing every opportunity to get your name out there seems obvious but is overlooked at times.

  3. Thanks Megan. There are several items on your marketing list that I had not even thought about. One cool marketing tool I plan on using is that my church has a bookstore and is willing to do book signings, since they have for other members who have published books. A cool way to get the message out to your “peeps.”

  4. Great post, Megan. With my first book out this month, your list is a great reminder of what I need to be doing. I did forget my college alumni magazine and my church denomination magazine, but I will catch them with the next book.

    My husband is a fly tyer (flies for fishing). He attended a fly show in CT this past weekend and took bookmarks and books to sell. He made a few sales, but I truly appreciated his support and willingness to spread the word about my book.

  5. Great ideas, Megan! Where do you get your bookmarks done? I’ve got business cards with my book cover on them and I’ve got postcards that my publisher had made, but I still haven’t had any bookmarks made. With a book coming out in May I’m wondering if I should have both books on one bookmark since it’s a three book series or should each book have it’s own? Thanks for the tips.

  6. Such a great list and so easy to get started. Takes the overwhelmed factor out of just starting. Thanks Megan!

  7. Great list of tips, Megan. I appreciate that they are not big budget items, but do take time and putting yourself out there. As an introvert, I find it difficult to put myself out there sometimes, but I try to slip into the role, like an actress would, then I can do it for awhile. Maybe that’s why I like social media and blog tours so much.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Debra. I think authors need to overcome thinking it’s all about them. It’s also about your publisher who has gotten behind you. That idea helps to nudge you to go the extra mile in marketing without feeling self conscious.

  8. Great tips. With the internet and inexpensive ad material available at sites such as Vistaprint, there’s really no need to spend a lot on promotion. Another tip regarding blogs is to leave pertinent comments on other bloggers’ posts, just like we are doing here. That blogger and readers then have a link (through your name) to discover you. It’s polite not to just hit and run on blogs, though, check back to see if anyone responded to your comment. This works with media articles, too, which you don’t need to check back on. You can mention your book or what you do, but only if it fits in with your intelligent comment to the post – no spamming.

  9. Thanks for the great tips, Megan. I particularly like the last one: be brave. I kind of cringe about doing verbal self-promotion, but I know if done tactfully, it can be a really good thing. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    1. You can do it, Michelle! I often remind myself that it’s not just about me and my book. My publisher has a lot invested too, so it’s my responsibility to do my best to help sell books.

  10. The dilemma of finding affordable ways to promote our books made me rethink some of what I’ve been doing. I’ve found that the presence of your book cover on busy blogs and web sites helps keep your book in front of readers. I pay for my book cover to be on a blog with over 10,000 hits per month.

    I feature authors and their books on my own blog. The traffic, mostly readers, has risen to more than 7,500 hits per month, so I decided to lend a hand to others who had trouble finding reasonable ad space. I’m renting book cover ad space on my blog at an affordable price, which is less than half what I pay to be on the other site

  11. So many helpful ideas here. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming, but choosing a few of these to try will make the marketing of a new release so much more manageable.

    Thank you! 🙂

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