Friday, April 3, 2009

Week Three (Part 2) Think Local

Much of what we read concerning book publicity urges us to pursue channels at a distance: mailing the book to distant contests, book reviewers, book tours to major cities, etc. Sure, take advantage of opportunities around the country (and world), but while peering into the distance, don't overlook the possibilities close to home. Since it's difficult for me to travel, due to raising kids and caring for my 103-year-old granny, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about local sales.

My good friend David Cady, an hour north of me in Dalton, Georgia (pop. 30,000), self-published a riveting novel about a snake-handling cult entitled The Handler. In the six months of its existence, in addition to other outlets, it's sold about 200 copies at a local restaurant! That's more than the total sales of a significant number of books!

Local Potential
  • 18,000 people live in my town of Acworth.
  • 700,000 live in my county (Cobb), which is a part of metro Atlanta.
  • 5.5 million live in metro Atlanta.
Hmmm....I'd say that within an hour of my house I've got a pretty decent market. And even if I just marketed in Acworth, and fans began to recommend it to others, who recommend it to others, isn't it conceivable that we could reach a tipping point that provokes national sales? If David has sold 200 in one local restaurant, what if I could get my book into 200 stores? It's a worthy goal.

Local Stores

Last week I talked to local bookstores, local places I shop, local places I rent videos, the local gym where I work out. Most were friendly, receptive, and took a free copy to look over. [In case stores needed a book display, I bought some white, cardboard counter displays (8 5/8" wide) from Meridian Display (ask for Carole), at $4.34 each, for a box of 25 ($3.65 each if you purchase two boxes).]

Although you might have to go through more hoops with big chain stores, even Wal-Mart has has a way for local managers to purchase local products they wish to sell in their stores. It's called their "Local Purchase Program."

Local Speaking

In two weeks I'll speak to a group of about 100 students at a student organization at our local university. I'll be part of a panel on personal money management and will sell books in the back.

Think about speaking on the topic of your writing wherever it's appropriate. Civic organizations and schools are often looking for speakers on various topics. Perhaps your state has a grant like in Georgia, where approved authors are paid through the grant to speak in public schools.

Local Newspapers and Radio and Library Signing

Well, surely you've already thought about these. Your book is exciting news to your hometown. They want to know!

Excuse me, but 700,000 people in my county need a copy of my book. I'd better get out there and sell some!

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