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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Promoting Your Book to Organizations

Motivational speakers often promote their books to businesses. They offer to personalize their books or individually sign them, and then to appear at a business meeting for free. There's no reason fiction authors can't do the same.

For example, my husband hosts a meeting of the St. Louis Area Music Teachers Association every year. This year, I suggested he purchase a copy of my book for each of the teachers who'll be in attendance. I'll appear at the event and personally sign them.

The sales? At least 60 books.

Maybe more, because I'll be on hand to sell additional copies to the attendees. And I'll create a flyer to go to each attendee with the dates/times/locations of local signings. Plus details on where to order (through my local independent bookseller) more personalized copies.

Okay, you're thinking, but Joanna that's YOUR husband. That wouldn't work for me!

Nonsense. I'm working on a similar event with a local realtor. She wants to buy copies for her business associates and host a signing party for me. At the signing party, she'll invite her customers to meet an area author (me!) and enjoy some light refreshments.

What's really super about this event's right in my backyard, it has no cost to me, and it will increase my local sales which may bump up my regional numbers.

Here's the key: It never hurts to offer--and I mean OFFER--your book and your presence to a business owner. They are always on the look out for a new, exciting and personal gift to give their best clients. Why not a copy of your book?


Cresha said...

Loved this idea, Joanna. That has been working for me with my title, "The Rape of Innocence: Taking Captivity Captive"

Of course, I've donated hundreds of books to shelters of battered women/sexually abused children. So, it works. Thanks for the tips.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


I've also donated books to battered women shelters. It's a great feeling--and a tax write off.

Helen said...

Writers sometimes overlook the value of giving away books. It seems counter-intuitive, after all. But you get more than goodwill and a tax write-off (which, of course, are good in and of themselves). There is also -- word of mouth promotion, possible online reviews (positive, we hope), recommendations to friends and associates, sales (they read the free book and decide to give it as presents) AND that invite to speak and sell at an event.

Congratulations on setting up two selling events!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


You are sooo right. By giving away advance copies that I had duplicated through, I managed to get a lot of support and create partnerships. If I hadn't put out the money for that, Snapfish wouldn't have given me the coupon for 50 free digital prints in the back of the book. So, yes, I gave away a copy and it was costly, but the benefit far outweighed my costs.

Marvin D. Wilson said...

Good solid advice, Joanna. My books are in the spiritual/inspirational genre, but I haven't really pushed the speaking engagement thing like I should. Churches, spiritual communities, Law of Attraction groups, etc.

this post has value, thanks!

Marvin D Wilson
Blogs at:
Eye Twitter 2 -

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Thanks, Marvin. You have a great niche there. Try offering your work to folks who supply spiritual communities--sellers of music, church organs, p.a. systems, insurance, and so on. Good luck!

JanetElaineSmith said...

This is good advice, Joanna. When Pampas first came out, even though I wasn't going to be speaking anywhere on it, I contacted some travel agencies (they advertised on my website--thanks to Tripod) and suggested they include a copy of the book to tourists who were going to be going to the Pampas area in Argentina, where it was set. Guess I should revisit that, as it worked quite well.
I have also given quite a few copies of my Patrick and Grace Mysteries to various homeless shelters, since that's where Grace ended up.

Teagan Oliver said...

I like this idea, Joanna. Most towns have some sort local events that they offer. Our historical society just had a day when they give back to the community by hosting tours and putting on a sale. Even events like these could be a benefit if the book fits the arena.

Teagan Oliver

Patricia Harrington said...


As with your other posters, I agree with your good advice. The whole publishing arena, particularly for mystery authors, is going through seismic change. And, it's critical to be pro-active in marketing. I've done the same kind of thing with different groups. It works!

Best to you,

Pat Harrington, mystery author
Bridget O'Hern, amateur sleuth series and coming . . . Aunt Amelia Winthrope in Murder Visits Antigua

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


You are so right. And with change comes opportunity especially for the nimble.

zhadi said...

Excellent advice and it definitely works! As a smaller scale example, I was out to dinner with my boyfriend and there was a birthday party going on at the table next to us. We got to talking to them (they were tipsy and very happy to share their celebration) and it came up I was a writer. Long story short, I gave a copy of my book to the b-day boy as a present and everyone else at the table then bought a copy.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ah, Zhadi, which leads me to write a new post which I'll title:

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Buck Miner said...

I like the idea very much and I am going to present it to my clients who have books to offer. Thank you.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


It's even better if your clients think about what businesses they might legitimately include as they write their books. I'm NOT advocating pandering, but I am suggesting that instead of shying away from mentions, perhaps we should include them where appropriate.