Promote Your Book with Local Collaborations

by | Nov 19, 2019

By Sandra Beckwith

I often advise authors to start their book marketing locally. Local “gatekeepers” – retailers, librarians, and reporters – will nearly always be more open and friendly to a new author with a great book than their counterparts in distant locations will be.

This approach applies to distribution and publicity opportunities, of course, but what if you used your local know-how to collaborate with a wider range of local businesses?

I’m not talking about getting your city guide or book on area attractions into local gift shops. I want you to think about more attention-getting ways to partner with businesses that reach your target audience.

What are the opportunities?

When a local physician spoke about the health benefits of chocolate at the grand opening of a candy shop near me, I was disappointed that he wasn’t an author. If he had written a book about that topic – or even about healthy eating in general – opening day chocoholics would have been eating out of his hand and buying his book.

Think about the potential for partnering with a range of local retailers or other business owners in a way that benefits all parties. What can you do that will attract news media attention – publicity – along with increased traffic for the business and book sales for you?

Here are just a few ideas to show you how this could work:

  • A young adult author can talk about writing at a tutoring center.
     
  • The author of a financial planning book can present to bank customers.
     
  • A romance novelist can speak at the grand opening of a lingerie store.
     
  • A parenting book author can offer toddler parenting tips to parents touring a new daycare center.
     
  • The author of a local historical novel can host a themed dinner at a landmark restaurant.

Tune in to your local market

Naturally, some authors are high-profile enough locally that they receive invitations to speak at these types of gatherings without making any effort. Most of us, though, have to look for or create those opportunities.

This requires getting plugged in locally so you know what’s going on and what’s coming up. There are a number of ways to do that:

  • Like and follow Facebook pages for businesses that reach your book’s target audience.
     
  • Subscribe to the mailing lists of businesses that reach your book’s target audience.
     
  • Monitor retail storefronts for remodeling and the “coming soon” signs that go along with that activity.
     
  • Be an active member of your Chamber of Commerce.
     
  • Participate in business membership groups such as Rotary and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
     
  • Read the local daily and weekly newspapers for relevant announcements.
     
  • Follow local leaders and elected officials on Twitter for advance information.

Reach out

When you uncover an appropriate situation — a good fit for your knowledge and the company’s target customers — start first by calling or e-mailing the business owner. Explain why you’re contacting them; ask to schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss a potential collaboration.

Bring a complimentary copy of your book when you meet in person. Make it clear that you will work on the event as a partner to make sure it’s a success. Offer to help generate event publicity with the news media and share information with your social networks.

After agreeing on a plan, follow-up with an email summarizing who will do what. That will help prevent misunderstandings.

Finally, do a great job with your special event planning and presentation. You’ll not only sell books, you’ll have a friend in that business owner who will probably continue to support you and your book.

Be creative; be assertive. You might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

What sorts of things have you done to get the word out about your book in your local community?
 
Photo: Pixabay

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7 Comments

  1. Frank Prem

    Sorry – inadvertently replied to another comment, when I should have come her.

    The thing with starting local is that there are broad positive repercussions. An interview on local radio, or a podcast can be made available globally. Likewise, a press clipping can go around the World via social media.

    A video or audio recording taken from a reading can go wide as well, adding a layer of potential.

    The opportunities for a wide impact from a very local event or venture are huge, now, I think.

    Reply
    • Sandra Beckwith

      Great point, Frank. When my first book was published many years ago, I was profiled by my local Gannett paper. The article went out on the Gannett wire and was picked up by other papers in the chain around the country.

      Similarly, several events I worked on as a product publicist were local in nature, but covered by national media outlets. Today, thanks to social media, a smart collaboration with a local business could go viral quite easily.

      Thanks so much for this wise insight!

      Sandra Beckwith

      Reply
  2. Marcia Meara

    After having canoed and birdwatched along central Florida’s rivers for most of my life, I do wildlife presentations at local venues every month. (My books always include a bit of nature in the background, so it’s a good tie-in.) I always have a signing table set up for afterward, and on-the-spot sales are often quite good, though it’s the long term benefits I’m most interested in. These talks have helped me build a lovely local readership, and these good folks share my books with others. Plus, I really enjoy meeting new readers and visiting with old friends. I come home from my talks refreshed and inspired, and I highly recommend looking for ways to get out and meet readers, both new and old.

    Thanks for a great post. I’ve added some of your suggestions to my list of things to look into. :)

    Reply
    • Sandra Beckwith

      A presentation every month is really impressive, Marcia! What are your books about? You mentioned that they have nature in the background — does that mean you write novels?

      I completely agree with you about looking for ways to get out and meet readers. This is why I love presenting about book marketing at conferences. I enjoy connecting in person and learning more about both challenges and successes.

      Thanks!

      Sandra Beckwith

      Reply
  3. Cat Michaels

    Love these ideas for going local. Much easier, imho, to start in a small pond than to dive into the great ocean -:D.

    Reply
    • Sandra Beckwith

      You nailed it, Cat! And…it can be more rewarding for some to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond!

      Sandra Beckwith

      Reply
    • Frank Prem

      The thing with starting local is that there are broad positive repercussions. An interview on local radio, or a podcast can be made available globally. Likewise, a press clipping can go around the World via social media.

      A video or audio recording taken from a reading can go wide as well, adding a layer of potential.

      The opportunities for a wide impact from a very local event or venture are huge, now, I think.

      Reply

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  1. #MotownWriters Article: Promote Your Book with Local Collaborations | Motown Writers Network . . . Michigan Literary Network - […] read more https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2019/11/promote-your-book-with-local-collaborations/ […]
  2. Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-21-2019 | The Author Chronicles - […] are many marketing avenues available to authors today. Sandra Beckwith tells how to promote your books with local collaborations…

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