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Ten Tips for New Authors

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

So…you’ve got a book contract. Congratulations! But now it’s time to sell your book. Your publisher has a marketing plan, but the focus is on retail outlets. You want to try to help your book gain altitude. But how?

By thinking small – book by book, reader by reader. You can make a difference! You are able to reach pockets of readers that your publisher can’t.

Here are my ten best tips to help maximize exposure for your book:

• Consider hosting a “book launch party” to help kick off the buzz. Some authors do a local launch party with family and friends. Others do a virtual party, on-line, through Facebook. You might need to invest some of your advance money, but the pay-off is substantial.

• Ask your blog readers/friends/family to “suggest a purchase” of your book at their local library.

• Offer promotional postcards and bookmarks in your newsletter. (You have a newsletter, right?) Invite friends and readers to send out stamped postcards (you provide stamps and postcards) to their reader-friends.

• Call your local bookstores and ask if they might do a book signing for you. Then offer to help publicize on your blog/website/FB/Twitter by sending out info to your local following. Start a buzz to bring in customers for your event.

• How’s your website looking? Is it a little outdated? Amateurish? Here’s the litmus test: if you’re using your church directory photo, it’s time to upgrade. Consider spending some money for a polished, easy-to-navigate website and customized blog. This kind of “branding yourself” investment will pay off. I promise.

• On your website, offer to attend book clubs that read your book-in person, if local, via speaker phone or Skype if they’re not. A nice touch is to send bookmarks or gourmet chocolates or a cookbook-some kind of inexpensive prize to the hostess that she can provide to the club.

• Offer to send signed bookplates and bookmarks to interested fans. (It’s possible that you’ll need to order these yourself.)

• Contact local writers’ groups and introduce yourself. Offer to speak about your book or your journey to publication. Even if their calendar might be scheduled out for a while, at least you’re on their radar. Usually, you’ll be invited to sell your books at the event.

• Don’t underestimate consignment sales of your book in unexpected places (usually a 60/40 arrangement with books from your inventory). Consider retail shops or outlets that have some kind of connection to your book-a World War II museum shop for war novels, a gift shop for a gift book. It’s no risk to the owner and targets your readership.

• Anytime (anywhere-even on vacation) you pass a bookstore, stop in and introduce yourself. Offer to sign your in-stock books. The bookstore managers want you to do this! Often, they will put an “Autographed By” sticker on the cover. A little boost to draw attention to your book.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Book by book, reader by reader.

Feel free to contact me at if you have questions about ways to help boost your book’s exposure. I’ll do all I can to help you.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. She hosts a weekly radio show, Amish Wisdom, and is a columnist for Christian Post. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This entry was posted in Advice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, marketing, tips. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ten Tips for New Authors

  1. These are great tips, Suzanne! Appreciate it. Thank you very much!

  2. Thanks Suzanne – this is a keeper!

  3. This is a ways out for me but very helpful as I start thinking of the marketing plan for my proposal. Thanks for the great tips!

  4. Mary F. Allen says:

    What good ideas. It really got me thinking.

  5. Wow, this was a GREAT post! Definitely tweeting and bookmarking it! I’m not at this stage in the game yet, but glad to have some ideas for when I get there!