Just the other day I was brainstorming unique ways I could sell books to locals. I tried to think of all the events that have taken place in my community — events put on by politicians, store owners and others. I wondered how I could tweak their marketing ideas to sell my books to folks in my area. Then I had my “light bulb moment!” I remembered an annual event that most towns host. I knew this event would be perfect all authors. What event am I referring to? A parade of course! And just how easily can you sell your books to locals through your town’s local parade? Decorate a float for the parades in your hometown and/or nearby towns. You could design a float related to your book and even have others dress up as characters from your book. In addition to the theme, your float will need a sign letting parade goers know who you are. When you create that sign for your float, include text such as local author, your name, your tag line and your website address. For example, my sign would read “Local Christian author Misti Sandefur. Inspiring With Words to Warm Your Soul. Find out more at www.mistisandefur.com.”
On the day of the parade, join many of the others who throw out candy, but be different. While you’ll still be keeping with the tradition by giving out candy, you could also include a bookmark, your business card and a brochure about your book. What you need to do is fill a plastic bag with candy, your bookmark, business card and the brochure. Once you’ve placed all of these items in the plastic bag, tie the bag so that nothing falls out when you throw it during the parade. Another idea would be to figure out a book marketing budget — and remember, you can always write this off as a business expense on your taxes.
Now that you have a book marketing budget in mind, fill more bags, but this time fill these bags and set them aside on your float to throw to adults who don’t have children with them, unless, of course, your book is a children’s book, and then you’d want to throw the bag to adults with children. These bags will each include one copy of your book, and since they’re for adults, instead of candy place a bookmark, your business card and a promotional item of your choice in the bag with your book. Again, if it’s a book for children, substitute candy for the promotional item. By giving away a few free copies of your book, you could gain word-of-mouth advertising, which is more beneficial than any other form of advertising.
There you have it, my “light bulb moment,” the one I chose to share with you, my loyal reader, so that you, too could see how easy it really is to sell your books to locals. Do you have any other bright ideas on what to include in the bags authors can throw out during a parade? How about other ideas for decorating an author float? Please share all your ideas in the comments area below.