If there’s a season for reading, it’s summer — a time for family vacations, for afternoons at the beach, for weekends in the backyard hammock. We Americans love to get outside in the summer, and many of us grab a book as we head out the door.
In fact, 50 percent of book lovers change their reading habits over the summer, according to a survey by TFW, a lifestyle magazine for professional women.
That’s why so many publications, along with radio and TV shows, create summer reading lists. While some of these showcase classics, most are designed to introduce people to new books and new authors.
Are you on a summer reading list? If you’ve been waiting for the right time to market your book, be it fiction or non-fiction, adult lit or children’s stories, that time has come.
Bloggers, book reviewers, newspapers and magazines will soon be publishing their summer reading lists. Radio and TV talk shows will be sharing their favorite new authors. Voracious readers will be chomping at the bit for something delicious and new, and people too busy to read the rest of the year will be primed for some lazy self-indulgence.
According to that TFW survey, fiction is the most popular summer reading material. Mystery/thrillers and self-help books tied for second place. Business/money books came in third.
While most people still prefer a traditional book (65 percent in this poll), the numbers of e-book readers are climbing. That’s good news for those of you offering the option; 25 percent of respondents preferred Kindle to paper, or even to other electronic book readers.
If you want to take advantage of the summer reading warm-up and get your book into the mix, here are a few things you should do:
- Make sure your website’s up-to-date and prominently features your newest book. You must have sales copy on the home page – written by a professional, if possible – that quickly tells visitors why they’ll love your book. Make sure your “About” section includes interesting and relevant information about you, written in a conversational style, and be sure to include contact information.
- Start talking about summer reading on your social media networks. Get the conversations going by asking people to recommend their favorite beach books. Once everyone’s talking about plots, characters and settings, you can slide in a comment or two about your book. (Be careful – you don’t want to sound like the Fuller Brush man or the Avon lady!)
- Take advantage of local news outlets. Local newspapers, magazines, TV talk shows, etc. specialize in providing community news for their audiences – it’s the one thing people generally can’t find anywhere else. As a local author, you’re community news! Does your book have some special local relevance? If so, that’s a great angle to play up as you pitch yourself to journalists and show hosts. Are you active in a local writing community? Perhaps you can offer to share your own summer reading list — a synopses of five great reads by or about your community.
- Look for opportunities to get your name, book and website in the news. Reviews aren’t the only way to get your name out there. Come up with tips and story ideas that feature you as an expert and pitch them to newspapers and radio shows. For instance, if you write children’s books, email mommy bloggers, parenting magazines and features editors with five clever tips to keep kids reading when school lets out. (Tell them you’re available if they’d like an exclusive article, too.) If you have a novel set in British Columbia, offer travel editors five off-the-beaten-path things to do there. Look online for radio and TV shows that cover topics you might be able to tie into your book theme and pitch yourself as a guest.
- Make sure any publicity you get comes back to your website. Post links to any articles or interviews on your site to show visitors you’ve got the attention of the media. It adds to your credibility and trustworthiness, and it keeps that publicity working for you for weeks and months to come.
If you’ve been dragging your heels on marketing yourself and your book, don’t procrastinate any longer! You’ll never see as many people with books in their hands as you will in summertime – shouldn’t some of them be yours?
Of course this is what we do every day for our clients, and we’ll be happy to do it for you, too. If you give it a try and find you’d just rather lay by the pool with a good book, give us a call.
Happy summer reading!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity. Outside of the office, she is also the founder of a non-profit organization called the Cherish the Children Foundation. In 1996 the White House recognized her charity which sets out to raise awareness of the plight of underprivileged and foster children.