How to market your books on the cheap

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The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross, advises that you send out up to 200 copies of your book to gain buzz. Sorry, but the majority of reviewers still prefer trade paperback books (tpbs).

Quick math: if your tpb is 250 pages, it costs $4.65 to print (are you paying more?). Media mail is the least expensive way to ship books; it’s not timely, but it will get there. It costs $2.70 to send a book that weighs about a pound. $4.65 + $2.70 = $7.35 X 200 = $1,470.

Not only is that inexpensive, for the small, indie guy doing it all by his lonesome, it’s ineffective. Suffice it to say, not EVERYONE is going to review your book.

Do it on a smaller scale with bigger, slower, surefire targets. Let’s say your budget for a particular month is $200. Here are two effective ways to spend your cash:

  1. Use Facebook to find book clubs. It’s the Gen-X way to cold call, and Facebook makes it REALLY easy. Type “book” or “book club” in the search box at the top of the screen and watch the book clubs pop up. Start small with a group of ten established clubs that review, and ask for their submission guidelines. I’ve done this and it works. Cost: your time + $73.50 in printing and shipping costs.
  2. Solicit independent bookstores in your area. Tom Feltenstein’s book, The 10-minute Marketer, talks about seeing the forest but missing the trees — in other words, thinking big picture all of the time instead of little details. Indie bookstores LOVE the little guy, especially ones with local connections that draw crowds. The worst they may do is offer you consignment: offering to sell you book but keep half of the retail (which Amazon does too!). One bookstore in Michigan carries five copies of one of my novels. Let’s assume that’s true for you: Cost: your time + cost of printing and shipping.
Hope this helps! Be blessed.
Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of the Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.


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