I was in a Barnes & Noble recently near Charleston, SC. and while perusing the fiction section for my next great read, someone at an author signing table bellowed:
‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – WILL SOMEBODY BUY MY BOOK!’
Ah, the clarion call of an unknown author. Don’t let it be yours.
As an author publicist for over 20 years, I’ve seen how rapidly the publishing landscape has changed. It changes every day. Content is created at warp speed. It’s difficult to keep up with it and authors are fighting for media attention and for readers – who can pick and choose and ignore the rest.
Avoid the mistake of most authors who believe that being nationally known is the goal. Here’s a secret…regional authors rock. Becoming an award-winning regional author is possible and profitable. By being a solid regional author you will garner greater readership. Here’s how:
The good news is that by thinking small, you will increase your visibility. It may sound counter-intuitive, but by creating a unique message, specific to your region, and then leveraging that uniqueness, your voice will stand out in a noisy book world.
Small is agile. Only 2% of writers will become ‘NY Times best-selling‘ authors. You can more easily become an award-winning regional author and become a super-star in your own back yard.
MAXIMIZED MEDIA MENTIONS
By scheduling book tours and events with geography in mind, you automatically increase your chances of media. Every region of the country is known for their annual, seasonal events and festivals.
Scheduled signings or offer to speak at an event and I promise they will love you! Event planners are typically local volunteers who handle multiple duties. When an author offers to speak and sell books about their ‘region’ it offers value for the author and the event. Pitch the press the fact that you will be sharing thoughts, tips, advice and why it is important to the area you are in and watch the media mentions flow.
A perfect example: American Cruise Lines has an itinerary that hugs the Southeast coast during Spring and Summer. I pitched the cruise director the idea of having Ken Burger, author of Baptized in Sweet Tea, speak about Southern Culture while they were docked in Charleston Harbor. They loved the idea!
The media covered this in the local paper and on television because it was a local author tied to a nationally recognized cruise line. He spoke to a sold out room, was paid an honorarium and sold over 100 books. The bonus? They docked there every week. You guessed it. They asked him back.
YOU ARE SUDDENLY AN EXPERT
There is gold in your own back yard. Writing a book suddenly makes you an expert. On everything. Let your regional press, bloggers and news outlets know that you have written a book about your area of the country or that it in some way relates to your particular region.
Most importantly, give them reasons to interview you. Think about the cultural and historical significance of your book (fiction or non). Tie it to current events or cultural events. Use your authorship wisely.
Remember, in the end, it isn’t about you but about what you can offer your audience. By thinking about the end user of your book – your readers – you show respect for them and create value that will be mentioned again and again. There is no better marketing than that.