Image via CrunchBaseAuthors rack their brains - often, and hard! - to find ways to promote their books off- and online. There are the most obvious ways to promote, for sure: social media works well for most. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are among my favourites.
There is growing interest in statistics as to whether this kind of promotion translates to sales, and I have found that there is a difference, although not a huge one, that I can ascribe directly to my Facebook presence and activity. And therein lies the crunch - consistent activity is necessary to keep your name and presence afloat in these places. You, and your books, are easily forgotten when your name slips too far down below the fold.
Because we are so taken with online activity that can be done at any time of day, in any state of dress or state of mind, it is easy to discard the offline activities that can boost sales. There is nothing that secures a sale faster than a personal encounter. Talking to people about your books can elicit responses that range from utter surprise to enthusiastic demands for information. I speak to everyone about my newest book, According to Luke. From the person at the supermarket check-out (often university students bored rigid by the repetitive and monotonous process) to the crossing attendant outside a school, waiting for the final siren!
Sitting targets are one thing - they make avid listeners and do look you up, I've checked. There are also targets for book information who are in the business of looking up books, namely librarians and bookstore owners. Take one or two of these into a regular round-up, and there might be a few sales there too. Offering to talk at a library often has an events coordinator light up with joy... another spot on the calender she does not have to phone around for.
Schools and colleges hanker for speakers to flesh out their curricular activities. A real live author speaking to a language or literature class does marvels for the students, and captures yet another stream of people aware of your name and the titles of your books.
I have spoken to many people about According to Luke, and it's starting to show in sales. I am rather interested in hearing the comments of other book lovers. If you are an author, do tell me about your latest effort in face-to-face promotion. Who have you spoken to about your book? If you are a reader, let me know whether you have ever met any real live authors, and what the experience was like.