Get the Word Out About Your Books? Start with Your Neighbors

pexels-photo-1104370

As I have said in previous posts about how I began selling my first self-published novel, Battle of the Band, in 1996 WITH NO MONEY SPENT ON ADVERTISING, I was able to sell between 200 and 300 books within the first two years of its publishing and printing SOLELY by selling at the following:

  1. Local writer conferences (I belong to Texas Mountain Trail Writers)
  2. Neighborhood stores on consignment
  3. BookZone, an early indy book publishing platform that did charge a small fee.
  4. Just talking about the books to neighbors
  5. Local events such as the Fourth of July parade and vendor fair, again paying a small fee to set up a booth.
  6. “Press releases” in local papers.

And this, folks, happened in far west Texas, the Big Bend area, in which the largest town, Alpine, has a population of about 5,000 people! The closest town to me is Fort Davis, population about 800. The POA I live in had a population at that time of about 200, now it is closer to 400 full-time residents. And, while there were folks in other towns such as Alpine that bought my books, the book store in Alpine refused to sell them on consignment. The book store in Fort Davis sold a couple; the local store in my POA sold a few. BookZone sold a few, but not enough to cause me to keep paying their fee, so I closed that account in 1999.

As to sales of Battle of the Band, at least 90 percent of sales came through three sources: the writer conferences, the local vendor events, and getting with neighbors. As for the second book, The Prophesied Band, with about 60 copies sold (I only got 100 printed…I learned my lesson about getting too many copies printed), most of those sales were again due to the conferences, vendor events and getting with neighbors.

Small indy publishers and self-published authors MUST be smart about spending money on advertising, on-line and off-line, even if you are just creating e-books for sale on Amazon or your own store. At some point you are going to want to get your books printed—don’t forget, there are still people out there who either don’t have internet or spend little time on the internet or don’t buy stuff online.

My suggestion (because for me it works)? Either print your books (if the books are fiction, I’d say no more than 250 books on your first printing) or create e-books, then sell them at local events or writer conferences you attend and among your local writer’s group AND create cards and flyers with some kind advertising with links to your e-books you sell yourself (or give away) or through Amazon or other platform, and do whatever you have to do to get the word out to your neighbors. If I can do this in a very rural remote area of only 400 people and still sell some books myself just by telling them about the books, then anyone can.

Note: This past Saturday our local POA had a “spring fling” vendor event—buy/sell/trade/swap/garage sale—with donations to the local volunteer fire dept., sponsored by the local non-denominational church. About 100 people showed up, and I sold ten books! I’d say my method works!

Author: deborahlagarde

Born on Long Island, NY, in 1952, now live in the mountains of far west Texas. Began writing fiction stories at about 8 years old with pen and loose leaf paper, and created the characters in my Prodigal Band Trilogy as a teenager. From the 70s to the 90s I created the scenario which I believe was inspired. While bringing up and home schooling my two children I continued to work on the novels and published "Battle of the Band" in 1996 and "The Prophesied Band" in 1998. Took off the next several years to complete home schooling and also working as an office manager for the local POA. In 2016, I retired, then resumed The Prodigal Band, a FREE PDF book that tells the whole story to its glorious end. Hint: I'm a true believer in Christ and I'm on a mission from God, writing to future believers, not preaching to the choir. God gave me a talent and, like the band in my books, I am using that talent for His glory, not mine (and, like me, the band is on its own journey, only fictional.) I also wrote for my college newspaper and headed up production, was a columnist in a local newspaper in the early 2000s, and wrote for and edited "Log of the Trail," the news letter for the Texas Mountain Trail Writers, and wrote for and edited it's yearly catalog of writings, "Chaos West of the Pecos." OmegaBooks is my self-publishing sole proprietorship company founded in 1995. Other jobs included teaching secondary math, health aide, office worker, assembly line work, and free-lance writing and bookkeeping,much of it while home schooling.

2 thoughts on “Get the Word Out About Your Books? Start with Your Neighbors”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s