Book Marketing Tips

Our journey to a Midwestern Booksellers Assoc. training session in St Louis last weekend was very interesting. There was a lot of discussion about the digitization of books and how that might impact independent booksellers. More of us are selling books over the web, and the major distributors are starting to carry ebooks, so we’re trying to figure out how all this will work out.

As an author/publisher, I’m really glad I’ve gone with Smashwords, who have just signed a contract with Apple to provide content for the new iPad.
I’ve been asked to chat a little on book marketing. Since that’s a huge topic, let me focus on the lowly postcard. First, I recommend that you use a 4×6 inch format. This is the largest that can go at postcard rate. Anything larger than that will be treated as standard first class and bulk rates, and be more expensive.
Why a postcard? Because bookstore staffs have so little time, it is one of the few marketing pieces they’ll take time to read. Forget sell sheets, press releases, extensive review sheets, and bookmarks. Make your initial contact with the postcard, and send that other stuff if they ask for more information.
What should be on the postcard? On the front side just place the book cover. That way the bookseller will have an idea of how the book will show up on the shelves among other books. On the back side: Divide it into two halfs. The one on the left should contain contact info, what the book is about (very briefly), and what are the target markets and how to handsell them. On the righthand side, reserve room for the stamp and the mailing label. Along the bottom on both sides, leave about .5 to .75 inches across the card for the post office barcode.
Follow up with email, letters, or phone calls, depending on the size of your campaign. The postcard is like a resume–it’s an invitation to a conversation.
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This is a reprint from Bob Spear‘s Book Trends blog.