When indie or self-published authors are releasing their new novels they always shoot for the brass ring: a review or feature in/on The New York Times, USA Today, The Today Show. When it comes to readings and merchandising of their books, they ask about the bookstores that they love: McNally Jackson’s, Politics & Prose, Powell’s, and of course, Barnes & Noble.
If you’re a self- or indie-published author, you’re a David trying to become a Goliath. And you aren’t the only David out there. Your local media and independent bookstores are most likely Davids too, hoping that you’ll turn the channel to watch your local news, or purchase a book from them instead of Amazon.
While we think its important to think big, and always include national media in a public relations campaign, it’s necessary to remember that your town can be one of the most fertile places to start.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t brush off the word local so fast:
Your local bookstore is the first place to stock your book. We recently worked with an author who was published by a small publisher. The book was beautifully designed, and she herself is a lovely person and a fantastic writer. She stopped by her local bookstore with her book in tow, and they ordered five copies after having a conversation with her. The books sold out shortly after, and on several occasions since then they have requested more copies of the book. At this point, she has probably sold 50 copies of her indie title from her city’s bookstore alone.
Local isn’t just limited to where you live now. One author we work with lives in Ohio and she had a bookstore reading in her own town, but she also held a reading event in a city an hour away from her home. Even better, she had family in New Hampshire and was able to book an event at a well-known bookstore in the area because she had a built-in audience that would attend her reading. Sometimes you can think outside the box when it comes to the word “local.”
Local media can lead to bigger things. More often than not, major television networks are not going to book you—or even consider you—on their morning show unless you have proof that you can work well on camera. Your local TV station is a great place to get tape that you can use later.
You’re all in this together. If a local author can get a number of their family and friends to attend their reading at an indie bookstore, those friends are more likely to purchase other titles at that store too and may realize they just found their new favorite hangout. And if you get an interview in your town’s paper, more likely than not all of your friends are going to share that article across Facebook and give that paper some love—in fact, one author we work with had a great interview in her local paper, and her Facebook friends shared that link over 200 times. It was amazing!
Have you had success with local media or would like to give a shoutout to your favorite bookstore? Tweet us @McKinneyPR!