Using your local community is a great way to promote your books! First, visit some of the local shops in your area. Ask to speak with the manager and explain that you're a local author. Then, ask the manager if he or she would be willing to place a few copies of your books in their store to help you out. Most local shops will accommodate you, because you're an author from the area. Although, some may require you to place your books in their shop on consignment only. Consignment is where you buy a few copies of your books and take them to the shop owner. If any of your books sell, both you and the shop owner will spilt the profits. There can be an advantage to selling on consignment as well. If your book sells well, the shop owner may later decide to order your books directly through Ingram instead of you providing them. The advantage: no more out-of-pocket expense.
Another way to promote your books locally is by renting a both space at local events such as festivals, carnivals and etc. You will have to purchase a large quantity of your books to display, but it could work out in your favor. You can also create a poster to display at your booth. In addition, to help build your mailing list, put a list on your table for readers to sign up on. Give them the option of signing up for e-mail or snail mail (which ever they prefer). When renting a booth space to promote your books, you may need to invest in a couple commercial folding tables to display your books, poster and mailing list on.
Go back to school. Talk with the principle there and let him or her know that you use to attend school there. Once you have their attention, ask him or her if the school would help support a former student, by purchasing a few copies of your books for the school's library. Or, if the school has a book club, you can discuss your books with the book club's president. Another option: maybe the English teacher would be interested in making your books an assignment for the class to read and do a book report on.
Send a press kit to your local library. Like the local shops, most libraries also enjoy helping local authors. And once you know your local library has copies of your books on their shelves, you can run a small ad in the local newspaper letting your community know they can pick up a copy of your books from the library. Furthermore, if the local stores purchased copies of your books, you could also mention which stores in your area have copies of the books.
I sent a press kit to my local library as soon as my book ("Help From Above" ) was published, and approximately one week later the librarian called me for information on where she could purchase a copy of my book. I directed her to the correct place and thanked her for supporting me.
If there's a mall in your area, call to check the price on renting a booth space some where in the center of the mall. All you really need is your books, a commercial folding table and a couple chairs - a chair for you, and one for a friend who could go along to keep you company. Malls receive a lot of foot traffic so if you pick the right spot, you could sell quite a few copies of your books. Don't forget to autograph them.
Promoting your books and yourself locally will allow you to be recognized in your community, and it gives the locals a way to buy your books without having to search for them or wait on them to be shipped. Wishing you many sales!
Misti Sandefur is the author of two books, over 200 articles in both print and electronic publications, and the editor of Coffee Break for Writers e-zine.
To find out more about Sandefur, visit Misti Sandefur's Official Web Site , and read about her writing life, family and more on her Life as a Writer Blog .