15 Clever Offline Marketing Ideas for Authors You’ll Want to Use!
Note: This is a guest post by Shayla Eaton, an expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric coach, she works one-on-one with self-published authors, having edited nearly three hundred books. She is the owner of Curiouser Editing, where she offers top-notch publishing guidance for authors and their books, and the president of the Curiouser Author Society, an exclusive community for serious indie authors.
My eyes are starting to bleed from all this online marketing. (Yes, I know you’re reading this online right now, but hear me out.)
We crave offline connections—real interactions with . . . what are they called again? Humans!
And if you’re an author, you know how difficult it is to market your book. Sometimes, posting about it on Twitter or Facebook is like whispering in a crowded room.
Nobody’s gonna hear you.
That’s why I listed these 15 clever marketing ideas for authors—all offline.
Give your eyes a break, and try them out.
- Sponsor an event.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: connect with your community. Community means more book ambassadors (loyal readers who fangirl over your book). And the best way to get in touch with your community is by sponsoring an event. This can be a sports team, a company picnic, or a nonprofit event.
An author sponsoring a community event? You’ll be the talk of the town, suga!
- Speak to an audience.
Obviously, a must for nonfiction authors. Being a keynote speaker presents you as an authority on a topic—which is the main reason for delving into the nonfiction genre. Choose a topic from your book to speak on and wow the crowd.
If you’re a fiction author, why not speak to a Creative Writing class at a local college? And don’t forget to put your books in the back of the room for your audience.
- Purchase bookish promo items.
From bookmarks to magnets to bookish business cards, there are endless possibilities. If you’re a children’s or fiction author, order customized coffee mugs with your characters on it. How about tote bags, pillow cases, T-shirts, pens, USBs, and notebooks? Get creative!
*The photo above was taken by Positive Writer’s own Bryan Hutchinson, he took the photo in the souvenir shop of the museum Mauritshuis in Holland, Den Haag, where he viewed “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by the great Johannes Vermeer. Create delightful souvenirs for your work, too.
- Throw a party. Or two.
Launch parties are a big deal for authors, so who says you have to be limited to one? Invite the whole town (remember: community). You’ll need a press release, a venue, and tons of food. And a pen to sign all those books!
- Start an author network.
While author networks are all over the net, you can have your own right in your town. What a great way for authors in your area to connect! Indies need support, and this is a wonderful way to collaborate, vent, and promote. Choose a hispter-ish cafe and get to networking!
- Befriend relevant journalists.
Notice how this comes before “Publish a press release.” If you want to avoid the press release slush pile, befriend a journalist. Get to know the journalist, and you might even have an in for local newspaper and television interviews. Sa-weet!
- Publish a press release.
How will people outside of the online world know about your book . . . if you don’t tell them? A press release can be used to notify the public about your book signing, library reading, and local TV interview. Be sure to abide by AP Style.
- Donate bookmarks to a local library.
Bookmarks are seriously cheap. Order a bazillion of them for marketing purposes and donate a bundle to your local library. Don’t forget to put a QR scanner on there to track how well this marketing tactic is working.
- Wear your book.
Got some fanciful characters you want to show off? Put ’em on your shirt! Just because you’re not a New York Times bestselling author doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with screenprinting.
- Get a newspaper column.
You are a writer after all. See if your newspaper will give you your own column. You could even have an “Ask the Author” column specific to self-publishing, writing, or grammar.
- Be interviewed at your book’s setting.
A very fun one for fiction authors! What is the setting of your book? Can you go there and be interviewed by their local paper or anchorperson? You can talk about why you chose that setting and its importance in the novel. If your book is set in a deep, dark jungle, then maybe reconsider this one.
- Give away bookish candles.
You smell that? It’s called marketing. Or whatever the name of your character is. Seriously: Book Scents creates candles that smell like your book or character. Talk about a memorable giveaway product or promotional item.
While this would require some online activity, the offline results are priceless.
- Start a book club or writing workshop.
The more I research this, the more I find that readers want book clubs again. They want to sit around in a coffee shop and talk about books. You can even feature your book one month!
Writing workshops are also a must. You are an author, you know. You can teach novices how to go from nada to ta-da!
- Take part in a library or coffee shop reading.
Library readings are great for children’s authors, but they aren’t limited to fun, illustrative pieces. If your book is more poetic or memoir-centric, then a coffee shop would be a great place to have a reading. (Cue bongos and snapping.)
- Think outside of the box with a fringe festival.
One of the best ideas I’ve seen in my research is fringe festivals from an article on the Digital Pubbing website. Use a few scenes from your novel and turn them into a play. That, my friend, is called a theater fringe festival. Think of all the possibilities!
Digital Pubbing outlines some of the benefits in their article:
- mentions and listings in show programs
- reviews from theater critics
- pull quotes
- appearing on the first page of Google search results
- ticket sales
Honorable offline marketing mentions:
- Sell your book at a trade show, book fair, festival, or farmer’s market.
- Offer your book as a prize at a charity event, community party, etc.
- Leave business cards with your tip at a restaurant.
- Get your book in a local bookstore, coffee shop, or boutique.
- Get a local paper interview.
- Get a local TV show interview.
What did I miss? What are some of your favorite offline marketing tactics? Share them in the comments to help other authors succeed offline!