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message 1: by Laekan (new)

Laekan Kemp (laekanzeakemp) If you're a self-published author, have you ever held a reading or other promotional event at a local independent bookstore or library?

I know most self-published authors use social media and the internet to promote their books but has anyone found ways to promote and sell their books in person?

If anyone has promoted and sold their books using things other than the internet, please share!

message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments I did a library reading two days ago. I had a little edge there--I work at that library, so they were open to hosting me even though I'm self-published. It was a lot of fun, and I sold some books, but almost everyone there knows me, so it wasn't a very good gauge. I am going to try for more similar events in the area, however. I've got a couple of tips about small local bookstores that might be open to my coming.

I intend to keep trying that, and to work on setting up readings in places we travel to. Even if I only sell a few copies, it's exposure, right ? And my book works well out loud, so it's not a bad way to draw a few people in.

message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 22 comments I've tried asking indie bookstores to carry my book, but have no luck so far. :( However, just because it hasn't worked for me doesn't mean it won't for someone else. If a bookstore allows your book on their shelves, you could do a good old fashion book signing. Give it a go!

message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments Michelle--that's the up side of a library--they don't have to sell your book (though they may not want your reading if they don't have your book, so it may require persuading them to add it to the collection. I have an edge there, since my book is The Ninja Librarian--gets the attention of librarians!

Just remember that libraries sponsor readings to encourage people to come in and use the library, so think about what you can offer in that area.

message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 22 comments I totally agree Rebecca. I'm just offering up another alternative. :)

message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments Michelle, I do plan to! And if I get any interest from anyone in carrying it, I'll do whatever I can to make it easy for them.

message 7: by Caron (new)

Caron Rider | 38 comments Another author friend told me that she just called up an independent book store and got a signing scheduled. It was for a couple months out but still. It has inspired me to try but I just don't have the time right now because I'm writing! It's very frustrating. But if anybody else is doing anything, please, please share because I'd really like to know too!

message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments Caron, that's encouraging!

I've been wondering (and this might be a "duh!" kind of thing, but be nice :) ) if I should put together a press-release kind of announcement and send to as many libraries as I can. I might ask my co-workers and see if they think it would be a good idea or a waste of paper and postage.

message 9: by Caron (new)

Caron Rider | 38 comments Why waste postage, send emails! I put together a list of about 600 high school libraries and sent emails to. I only had 2 ask to be removed from the list. It was free because all it took was time (about a week). :)

message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments Okay, Caron! And why didn't I think of that :p

Do you have a special email just for writing-related stuff?

I will start working on my list.

message 11: by Caron (new)

Caron Rider | 38 comments yep,

I wanted to target certain cities that had populations over 100,000. Check out this link to then search for public school districts.
Good searching! :)

message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 126 comments Thanks! I might be looking for the smaller places out west, myself. . .

message 13: by David (new)

David Katzman (DavidDavid) | 18 comments Regarding readings, I'm fortunate to live in Chicago which has a decent independent bookstore network. And there is at least one bookstore entirely about the indie lit world, Quimby's. So I had my book release party, with reading at Quimby's. After that, I made the rounds to all the indie stores, and left them copies of my new book to evaluate. I also told them that I was going to promote it by distributing postcards around town that I am stickering on the back with the stores that carry it. (Showing the bookstore that you will promote them helps.) I also followed up with emails that attached my press release and the cover image, reviews, etc.

I had a second bookstore reading a month ago and have been invited to a third "local author" reading at another bookstore in May.

I do have a little bit of an advantage because I have a track record. I self-published my first novel in 2000, and it sold well at several local stores. To be honest, the design of your book is also very very important. It needs to look as good as the best commercially published books out there for them to consider it. Because its the appearance that is going to make them willing to even look it over. Several bookstores I pitched gave it to employees to read before deciding to carry it, so that's when the actually quality of the writing will come into play.

I'm now in 7 bookstores in Chicago and 5 in St. Louis. It takes persistence, good design and good writing.

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