Kahani Takbak - Shyamala | Kataba EPublishingKahani Takbak - Shyamala | Kataba EPublishingKahani Takbak - Shyamala | Kataba EPublishing
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Kidlit Unscripted

Ten book marketing tips for the non aggressive author

It is with a heavy heart that I would like to share the dismal sales  of a children’s book which has been published in the last ten months. The book has sold a little less than 100 copies till date.

Total number of copies published = 2000

Written by a shy author and an established publisher, the book was doomed from the day it was released.  The title of the book was not unique. After the initial three weeks of promoting the book on social media and a few stray interviews in the leading newspapers, nothing else was done. The shy author put the onus of the book promotion on the publisher who in turn moved on to promote other forthcoming titles.  The book is not available in any of the leading bookstores across the country.  Without any promotion, the online book sales are nonexistent.  The author is hoping the book will sell on its own and is banking on the distributors to make the book visible in bookstores. How will people know her book exist ?  Why will the distributor choose to promote her book over the others?

The dismal fate of the book pains me since it is a great piece of work.  Since I feel the book’s slow death was avoidable and could happen to any of our books in present and future, I am sharing a few tips for book promotions.

Even if you live in a God forsaken place with no magical aids and celebrities to promote your book, there are a few things you can do with a bit of effort. You need three things to get into the book promotion mode-a) a desire to learn, adapt and evolve b) an internet connection c) the intention to reach out and communicate with people.

1)  Choose the right name for your book: If a buyer visits an online bookstore and spots a book cover with the same name, there is a good chance he/she may end up buying the wrong book or quit looking for your book if it doesn’t appear on page one.   Even before you submit the name of your book to the publisher, do an online bookstore to see if the title already exists.

2) Do not wait for your book to be discovered:    Make a list of all the people on your phone and social media groups who can help you with book promotion. Let people know about your new book through email, text and Whatsapp messages. While I am not asking you to pester people to buy your book, there is no harm in writing a message/email and asking them if there is any way they can support you through a blog post, media release or a book review on an online bookstore. You will be surprised to know how many people are just waiting to help without expecting nothing in return.

3) Make the best use of Facebook: Analyse the composition of your friend list.  How many of them are your potential buyers? How many of them belong to your world of books?  How many of them are diehard fans of your books? How many of them have children in your target group?  How many of them will oblige and be ready to promote your book on their time line?

4) Book stores:  Get in touch with the marketing team of your publisher and ask for a list of online and physical bookstores where your book is available. Not everyone will be comfortable purchasing books online.  Share the info through your website or blog. Keep the data ready in your phone and email box.

5) Open an author’s account on Amazon:  It’s free. It’s easy.With every book’s release you will have to link the latest release to your author account. People who have enjoyed your first book will be ready to buy your other works.   However, this is a time consuming but necessary chore. Sometimes your books may be sold by third party sellers. Sometimes your publisher may not be ready to set up and maintain your account.   If your books are published by different publishers, it may take a while to get all the works linked to your account. The Amazon service team does a pretty efficient job in ironing out all your hassles.

6)  Bond with librarians:  Walk into your local library and make friends with the library staff.  Let them know you exist.  Librarians are part of multiple social media groups and will spread the word about your book.  Every time you release a book, let them know. Private libraries often buy multiple copies for their consumption.  Even if you don’t have a book release in the offing, keep in touch. Let them remember your name.   Since librarians are connected to people from all works of life.

7) Network with other authors :   A busy work schedule, fear of rejection, complacency, jealousy and insecurity are some of the reasons why authors don’t network with rest of their clan. I always believe as authors we are not in competition with each other.  There is always space for more books on a child’s bookshelf.   If you are a picture book author, connect with an author who writes middle grade novellas. If you write middle grade novels connect with someone who writes for adults. There is always something to teach and learn from others.   The senior experienced authors are mostly generous to share their experiences in the publishing industry and advise you on contracts, give leads and inside scoop about submissions. The newbie authors are more open to experimenting with ideas, updated with the latest technology and teach tricks to maximize your online presence and sell more books.

8) Book marketing checklist:  Book marketing is a highly time consuming process and hampers the creative writing time. It can be highly irritating if you are technology challenged or pressed for time. If you have systems in place, it becomes easy. One needs to have a checklist which needs to be put in action before and during every book release. The list needs to be edited and updated from time to time.

9) Ask. Ask. Ask : Learn to ask for help whenever you need. Some doors will slam. At least one will open and help or lead you to people with solutions.

10) Write a good book. Everything else is secondary.

There is no golden, sure shot formula to sell more books.  Do what you can do. Delegate what you don’t understand but needs to be done. Book promotion is not easy.   Only when we are ready to leave our comfort zone, explore new ideas and chase new horizons will our books get the glory they truly deserve.

50% of marketing works, but no one knows which 50%  – Unknown


(PS: A customized book marketing checklist article for children authors will appear in one of the future editions of Kahani Takbak newsletter.)


Leave A Comment