Sometimes ideas for book promotions come directly from the readers. During the last five to six weeks my coauthor and I have had three booksignings for the new Exploring Texas History: Weekend Adventures. During the second signing we started hearing customers stop by and pick the book up and then say the book would make a great Father’s Day gift. Frankly, we hadn’t thought of that but we immediately began adding that as a tag when talking to other potential bookstore customers and made sure the bookstore managers were aware of the customer’s response. We know this accounted for an average of 5-6 more books sold during each signing. While we were only able to take a small advantage of this slant, next year we’ll certainly work to promote the book for Father’s Day. So when your book is released, don’t limit your thinking when it comes to potential sales.
If you have a book coming out or even if you’re in the process or writing one, it’s never too early to think about potential marketing and promotion ideas. Many writers make it a point to learn all they can about their local booksellers and bookstores long before they even sign their first contract. The savvy ones begin to develop mailing lists with contact information. They develop lists of potential word-of-mouth contacts. They take the time to get to know the bookstore people and learn what they can about the distribution and retail process—essentially they want to find out how their book will be delivered into the system and how it will be treated upon arrival at the store. If you do this in advance, then you have a good start on getting a decent campaign underway when your book is finally released.