The holidays just passed, and it can feel like you’ve used all of your creative gift ideas. We’re here to help you shake up your gift-giving with four books that will make a perfect gift for that special person in your life.
Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Moving Your Career Forward, by Meredith Crosby is the perfect book for the hardworking women in your life. Written by a woman who has worked her way up many corporate ladders (including working for McDonald’s, 3M, and Comcast), this book gives real, concrete advice on moving your career forward. Full of personal anecdotes and advice from her mentors, this book will help your loved one keep her career momentum going.
Better Parenting: A Guide for Somali Parents in the Diaspora, by Ruqia Abdi is the perfect book for first-generation parents. Parenting is never easy, but parenting second-generation children adds an extra level of challenge. This book helps parents learn to balance American culture while still upholding the values of their family’s heritage. This insightful book blends research, a deep understanding of community, and personal experience to offer a useful guide for Somali parents.
Sanda, The Girl with the Magic Smile, by Sabina Mugassa Bingman is the perfect gift for adventurous young children who are interested in exploring their own culture. The children’s book describes Sanda’s experience with the traditional art of teeth-carving on her island home. The energetic young girl learns to embrace her inner beauty and honor the importance of her cultural traditions. This book teaches powerful lessons on self-acceptance to young children.
Healing: The Radical Act of Self-Care, by Dr. Joi Lewis is the perfect gift for the worn-out activist in your life. It can be exhausting to give so much of yourself to causes that can seem endlessly overwhelming, but this book will remind your activist loved one to take a step back and focus on healing themselves before they can heal the world. This book provides a method for reclaiming one’s humanity using both self-care and community care and would make a great gift for your loved one who needs to focus on healing.
That dreaded moment has arrived - the hype surrounding your new book has faded a bit, and your sales are starting to slow down. What can you do to bring those number backs up?
We recommend one big thing to start: find ways to re-engage with your current audience. This could mean reaching out to people who have heard of your book but haven’t bought it, or figuring out how to connect with those in your demographic who are unreached. Here are a few ideas:
- If you have a blog, write a post about a current, relevant topic that will inspire readers to share the post, and subsequently bring others to click on your blog and discover your book
- Plan and host an event that features your book in some way
- Chime in on current social media chats or start a thread of your own to engage users
- Contact your local bookstores or libraries to see if they would host a signing or if there’s an event you could speak at
Get creative - there are a lot of ways to get your name out into the world, and once you find something that works for you, go for it. If people are hearing about you and your fantastic book, sales will follow. It can be disheartening to see stale sales, but with some hard work, the end result will be worth the time and energy you put into bringing the sales back up.
And remember: you’re not just selling selling your book, you’re also selling yourself as an author. So if there’s an event opportunity that isn’t strictly related to your book, don’t write it off; it would be a good chance to network with others and let them know about your work. Don’t be afraid to take a chance! You lose nothing by talking to people - and if you’re lucky, you might make some friends who are willing to let you sell your book at their next event.
Many authors wonder, “Do I need to be a public speaker?”
It’s a tricky question; plenty of authors are skilled with pen and paper but hate the idea of speaking to a crowd. You don’t need to be a professional public speaker in order to reach your audience, but in order to effectively market your book, you should probably have some public speaking skills in your back pocket. At the very least, you’ll want to be comfortable enough with public speaking to do readings and similar events to promote your book. To help you out, we’ve put together some tips on how to feel more comfortable in the podium spotlight.
Tip #1 - Talk about topics you enjoy talking about. If you’re trying to speak on an unfamiliar topic, you’ll most likely be stressed on the stage, and that stress will show. It’s much harder to engage with your audience if you lack passion for the subject matter. Before agreeing to speak at an event, ask yourself what you know the most about. What are you interested in (related to your book, of course)? Is there a subject area that you have spent time and energy learning about? What do you think your audience wants to hear?
Tip #2 - Find a way to personally connect with your audience. One effective way to do this is to open with a personal anecdote that relates to your overall topic. Do you have any life lessons to share based on your past experiences or mistakes? What are some relevant life hacks that you have discovered and want to share with your audience?
Tip #3 - Make sure you’re speaking to groups at locations that connect with your book topic or genre. Ultimately, it isn’t worth spending a lot of time and energy on a speaking engagement that won’t bring new readers to your book. Look for places that cater to your audience’s demographic and seek out speaking opportunities at those locations.
Every author is different, and thus every author’s approach to using promoting their book via speaking engagements is going to be different. The amount of public speaking you want to do is up to you, but it’s somewhat inevitable when it comes to selling your book and promoting yourself. Practice makes perfect, though, and the more experience you have with speaking to an audience, the easier it will become.
One challenge that some of our authors face is wanting to market their book to a wider audience but being unable to travel. This means being unable to attend events, speak about their book to people in person, and/or give talks at schools or other locations.
While this can be a frustrating hindrance, being unable to travel doesn’t mean you don’t have other opportunities to reach out and share your work. Here are a few ways to do this.
- Remotely teach a class or writing workshop about the topic of your book
- Host online chats to connect with your audience and answer their questions
- Video call into classes or other events
- Start a blog and connect with your audience through your posts
- Grow your online presence and build a stronger virtual community
Plenty of authors connect with their audience in ways like these even if they are able to travel; no effort is wasted in reaching out to your readers. There are also plenty of other things you can do to market your book without traveling, but these ideas tend to be the most popular, and often the most successful.
Being unable to travel isn’t the end of the world for your book - by adjusting your marketing approach and focusing your attention on what you can do, you’ll figure out the most successful use of your time.
Joining a local literary community can seem like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with the options in your area. Not only can it be difficult to find a group that fits your individual style - there’s also the issue of finding groups in the first place. To help you get started, we’ve made a list with a few different places that often host or advertise such groups.
- Community centers
- Art centers
- Independent bookstores
- Literary magazines
After finding a few groups that interest you, attend their meetings to learn more about the groups and see if they’ll be a good fit for you. It can be a little awkward at first, especially if the members of each group seem comfortable and familiar with one another. You might feel like you’re trespassing, or like you don’t belong. But just remember - they advertised the group for a reason. They want to bring in new people.
The next step is figuring out which of these groups is the best match for you. You want to find a community that fits you and your writing.
- Does the group fit your writing genre?
- Do you already know any of the people in the group?
- Have you attended more than one of their meetings?
- Is there a group that is focused on a topic that you are passionate about?
Don’t forget to consider the necessary time commitment. If you really like a group but don’t think you have time to be a full member, see if you can do an event with them or speak to them about your experience as an author. Most literary communities are always looking for new people to share their stories.
If you truly can’t find a local group that meets your needs, consider starting your own. You never know; there might be a dozen other authors nearby who are waiting for a group like the one you could create. But don’t give up hope in the meantime. When you find the right literary community, you’ll know - and you’ll thrive with them.
So, you want to promote your book and generate interest for it, but don’t have a huge budget. One great way to meet both needs with one deed is to hold a giveaway. Don’t see this as an obligation - but if you are interested in holding one, here are a few things to consider.
- How many books can you afford to give away? Can you afford shipping? (It’s expected that the giveaway host will pay for shipping.)
- How large is the range of your giveaway? Is it open internationally?
- Giveaways don’t guarantee greater awareness for your book. Are you okay with not seeing an increase in sales?
- Are you willing to promote the giveaway on social media and other platforms?
If you’ve thought about these factors and have decided that yes, you do want to hold a giveaway, here are a few more specific prompts to help you set it up.
- What platform are you going to use to host the giveaway?
- What rules do different platforms have for giveaways?
- Do any of the platforms charge you for holding a giveaway?
- What do people need to do in order to enter the giveaway?
- How many books (or other items) are you giving away?
- What is the time frame for your giveaway? I.e. when will you announce it, when will it open/close, and when will you have sent the items by?
It’s important to understand that more goes into holding a giveaway than just shipping a few of your books out; this is a key chance for you to utilize your social media presence and market your book in a way that has the potential to reach dozens of new readers.
Though this pressure might seem a little overwhelming at first, if you break giveaways down and take things one step at a time, this pressure will be a lot easier to manage. In the end, if you’re looking for a cost-effective method to reach a larger audience with your book, a giveaway could be just the ticket.
Every author loves the idea of a packed book launch party: crowds of eager readers excited to get their hands on your work, loud applause when you enter the room, standing room only. In order to bring that dream to life, you need to think about venue. While bookstores are often assumed to be the best places to hold launch parties, they aren’t always the best fit. Here are a few things to think about when considering where to host your book launch party:
- Is your fan base large enough and local enough to fill the space of the bookstore you want to use?
- On the flip side, is the bookstore large enough to host your expected crowd?
- Bookstores will take a percentage of your sales; can you sell enough books to make it work financially?
- Are you allowed to provide food and drink in the bookstore?
- Does your desired time frame for the launch party line up with the bookstore’s policies?
- How will the bookstore help increase your profits at the event?
These are just a few questions to ask yourself in preparation. You might be wanting to form relationships with bookstores as soon as possible - which is completely understandable - but a bookstore isn’t necessarily the best place for your launch party. After your launch, as a way of promoting your book, you could reach out to stores that are carrying your book and see if you can host a signing event on a smaller scale. But for now, focus on launching your book in a way that is most beneficial to you and your goals as an author.