Submitted Date 02/28/2022

If you offered a group of self-published authors $1,000 each to invest in their book, they'd most likely use it toward the same thing: Marketing. As wonderful as self-publishing is for representing diverse and niche groups, it also leads to a saturated market. Unless you have a traditional publisher (and sometimes even when you do), you'll spend more hours getting your book out there than you did writing it. By now you've probably heard all the common ways to market your book, be it buildng an email list, running ads, pleading for reviews, or hosting giveaways. Though important, these kinds of promotions can get tedious. Perhaps your book has been out for awhile and you're ready for some fresh ideas to excite you! You are a creative after all! I decided to switch things up a bit by looking at five unconventional ideas to promote your book.

1. Start a Collective
The old African proverb goes: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. There's likely a few (if not hundreds) of other authors writing in your genre. Instead of building a following from scratch, consider contacting writers in your genre or niche and creating a page together. Having a group of authors is also beneficial for content. Instead of having to come up with new ideas every week, you could rotate posts on a joint social media page or combine email lists for a monthly newsletter. Even if you can't get other authors on board, you can start a social media page that shares work in your genre, including your own, of course. For example, @diversespines on Instagram describes itself as a book community dedicated to expanding awareness through diverse literature. Their page has over 30K followers and highlights books by Black women and women of color, including their own book, Bibliophile: Diverse Spines.

2. Cameo Business
I once saw an author post 5 videos of celebrities talking about his book. When fellow authors asked how he got so much good publicity, he chopped it up to consistent emailing. Something about the self-recorded videos made me wonder. They reminded me of videos I'd seen on this website a couple months earlier called Cameo. I looked up each celebrity and they all, indeed, had Cameo accounts. You may know that Cameo offers affordable personal messages from certain celebrities for birthdays, anniversaries, and etc. Well, now they offer business videos as well. While Cameo for business will cost you at least double of a personal video, you can use it to book celebrities who are significant to your niche or nostalgic to the age group of your followers. If you can't afford a business ad, you can ask a friend to book a celebrity to wish you well on your book launch or congratulate you for reaching one of your book goals. Imagine seeing Colin Mochrie roasting your new comic novel or Debbie Allen praising your self-help book. When you share the video, seeing the celebrity's face alone will get their fans to take a closer look.

3. Virtual Literary Events
While most authors would be happy to read from their book or host workshops at local bookstores and libraries, the global pandemic has made these options much less accessible. Nothing beats in-person sales, but you can still have access to virtual literary events through sites like Eventbrite. The website lets you search both in-person and online events, so you can fill your calendar with writing events or reach out to conferences and special events related to your theme to present as a guest speaker. If you need some practice with speaking and reading in front of crowd, start by searching open mics. They usually provide an encouraging, safe space for sharing. Just remember to make your display name your author name, and read from or mention your book.

4. Care Packages
The 21st Century is the age of personalized gifts. Marketplaces like Etsy offer consumers gifts that focus on personal interests and experiences, so consider whether your book could make a great feature for a care package. You could market it as a book-lover birthday gift, self-care package, or holiday gift, depending on your book's theme. Make sure to pick accompanying items that would appeal to your target audience. Two care packages selling on Etsy are pictured below: the one for grief includes a book on grief, a prayer shawl, and personalized note, and the one for self-care includes a self-care coloring book and colored pencils, a bath bomb, chocolates, and other goodies.

5. Funny Book Trailer
Truly a modern phenomenon, book trailers can give readers a quick and compelling summary of your book and a view into your style. Most of the book trailers I've seen have been mainstream or dramatic. Make yours stand out with some stand up - or at least some comedic elements. Think ridiculous overacting, costumes, puns, improvisation, or fake blurbs. Since many social media platforms are prioritizing video clips, a funny book trailer makes your content more likely to get those saves and shares. For inspiration, check out the funny book reviews below:


*ANDREA HOPE is a poet, editor, and world citizen, whose works have won acclaim in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her poetry books, TO MOTHER and Will You Break the Silence? are available on Amazon.*


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