Help From Your Chamber of Commerce
Now that winter is over in most of the country, attention is turned toward outdoor festivals where crafters, artisans, and authors can get out and mingle with other people. It’s a good time of year to also contact Chamber of Commerce chapters in nearby towns to find out what will be happening during the upcoming year. At some events, you will probably set up tables for book signings, but if you find an event that is too far outside your price range, consider going to the event to pass out business cards to the vendors as well as other people who might be interested in what you have written. This way too, you can attend several events that might be held on the same day. Don’t just be passing out cards either. Buy a few things and enjoy yourself.
While conversing with the Chamber, if you’re interested in speaking at events, let them know what you can speak about. Chamber meetings is an excellent way to meet other business people both for book displays and for other writing services that you provide. If you speak at an event, and it is allowed, remember to set up a book selling table at the back of the room otherwise, remember to hand out plenty of business cards and tell them about your free book.
Hand Out Business Cards to Vendors
I personally have an e-book online that is permanently free. I could get people into conversations and then give them one of my cards and point out that I have the free book that I would love to share with them. Of course, because the book is attached to my newsletter (which also has a bunch of free articles), I also will get their names and email addresses to let them know when I have new books coming out.
Handing out business cards with the offer of a free book could be used anywhere, not just events. If I go to a restaurant and the server is a reader of my type of book, I will be sure to include a business card with the information about how the server can get the free book, along with a generous tip, of course. Some goes for sporting events. While waiting, I could be talking with other fans and passing out business cards. Meetings that I attend can also be places that I can pass out business cards.
Help Your Library, Help Yourself
Does your local library have a copy of your book(s). If not, find out what it would take for the library to buy a copy of each of your books. If the library lacks funding to purchase books, offer to give the library a copy of your latest book, but don’t stop there. Offer to read to the kids during story time (read a kids’ book, if your book isn’t for kids, that’s okay read someone else’s work at you enjoyed reading either as a child yourself or to your children or grandchildren.) Make it an afternoon with a local author. Tell the local newspaper and radio station and let them know about the donation. Make it as big of a deal as the media will allow. If necessary, have a photography friend take pictures and write your own press release for the library event and send to all your local and regional newspapers.
Help Teachers With Class Scheduling
Once federal testing is done, it is a good time to make your initial contact with middle and high school English teachers to schedule a meet the author day at school. They probably won’t be using your services until next school year, but at least the teacher has your contact information and knows about you BEFORE the teacher makes out the upcoming school schedule. Remember to get their information too so that you can make another contact prior to the upcoming school year to remind the teachers that you are serious about your offer.
Contact Other Organizations
During the spring is also a good time to contact churches and church groups about speaking if you are so inclined. Many churches have events planned well into the fall months so don’t be surprised if you find yourself scheduling events of this type for next fall and winter.
If you’re really adventurous, don’t stop with local events. Begin spreading out regionally doing all the above. Eventually, you won’t be calling them anymore, they will be calling you. This summer I have planned a working vacation back in my hometown in Pennsylvania which is almost 900 miles from where I live now. What other things can you think of that a writer could do to expand readership in real time?
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga