As authors, we are always on the alert for ways to promote ourselves and our books. Personal branding is often difficult to achieve. We need useful, yet inexpensive, ways to say, “Hey,you! I’m an author. Buy my book!”
When it comes to getting known and marketing your book, don’t overlook one very important item — the business card. It’s one of an author’s most important tools, and they’re not expensive, considering how much it can help you. If you have a website, have your URL printed on the back, along with your contact information, so people can visit your website. Have a picture of your book(s) on the front like a logo. I’ve sold a lot of books using my business card. There are so many uses for it and I’d like to share some of them with you. You can probably come up with even more ways on your own.
Remember, We are in the Business of Selling Books and Personal Branding:
* Bulletin boards in stores and businesses you go to. Thumbtack your card there with all of the others.
* Hand them out while sitting in waiting rooms, on a plane, train, or bus while talking to people.
* At gatherings, parties, class reunions (yuck), or if you’re networking with your ‘real’ job — hand out both of your business cards.
* Tuck a few inside books you’ve sold so your buyers can pass them out to their friends.
* Ask if it’s okay to leave a small stack of them (signed) on the counter at your local public library. Libraries love local authors! So do the people who come to the library. They’ll take the cards. Remember, it’s an autograph from a real author and it just might bring you a sale.
* If your book is a children’s book: anytime you see a mother with children, strike up a conversation, introduce yourself, and hand her a card, or several, to give out to her friends.
* Again, for children’s authors: whenever you meet a teacher, principal, or school librarian, give them cards, too. You can also inform them you do school visits (if, in fact, you do them).
* Ask to leave a stack of business cards on the counter at the mechanic’s where you take your car, at your hairdresser, barber, and even at the gym.
* Buy a small business card holder, have it full of cards and right beside you on the table at book signings, school visits, or other speaking engagements. Maybe someone won’t buy the book that day, but when they take a business card, it’s an excellent reminder of your book for later, when they’re considering books as gifts.
Here’s one of my personal favorites. I’ve sold a lot of books this way:
* Restaurants: when the check comes after dinner, write “Thank You” on one of your cards, and add the waitress’ or waiter’s name if it’s on the check. Then be sure and sign it and leave it, along with the tip. Many times, a waitress followed me to the door asking more about the book, or wanting to shake my hand, or even ask for more cards for the rest of the staff.
* The above also applies to anyone who gives you good service — your barber, the clerk in a department store, just remember to always write “Thank You” and sign your card. Remember, it’s an autograph AND a reminder about your book and website.
People love meeting authors. Use this to your advantage, fellow writers. Have those business cards in your pocket or purse and be ready to pass them out. You’ll sell more books, I promise.
[CJ Heck is a published author, poet, writer, and blogger who lives in Pennsylvania with her partner, Robert Cosmar, also an author. She has four books and several ebooks published. CJ is also a Vietnam War widow. To invite CJ to your school, more information, or to read excerpts from her books, please visit her website, or call 814-249-1777.]
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