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By Patricia L. Fry

By now you know that, in order to sell your book, you must promote it. And this is true whether you're self-published or have a traditional publisher.

Believe it or not, the time to start marketing your book is before it's published.

Here's how:

  • Write a book proposal. This is your guide to writing and marketing the book. An effective book proposal includes your market analysis (your competition), valid promotional ideas and a complete chapter outline.
  • Make your book salable by assigning it an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and purchasing a barcode. By filling out the Advance Book Information sheet for RR. Bowker, you'll insure a listing in Books In Print.
  • Choose an appropriate binding. Libraries and bookstores prefer to stock books with spines, for example.
  • Talk about your book everywhere you go—yes, even before it's a book.
  • Line up experts to give testimonials.
  • Involve people and list organizations in your book, when appropriate. This gives you a larger customer base.
  • Create a mailing list with names from your Rolodex, Christmas card list, address books and business files. Be sure to add family, friends, neighbors, former neighbors, your children's teachers, coworkers, your yoga classmates, the folks you met on your last cruise and so forth. Keep adding to this list as you continue to meet new people.
  • Spend evenings pouring over telephone books. For example, if your topic is healthy grieving, list funeral homes, family counselors, psychologists, doctors and hospice groups that might want to have your book on hand for their clients. Reference telephone directories from other counties and states at your public library or use an Internet telephone directory.
  • Contact specialty store owners or professionals who might make up your niche market. They may suggest an angle that would be more salable.
  • Create a web site to promote your book and include this address on the cover of your book, your business cards, your letterhead and as a "signature" in all of your emails.

—Patricia Fry is the author of 10 books including A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book(© Matilija Press, 2000)



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