My second non-fiction book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” (Portfolio) was published April 14. Yay!
But as every author knows — and every would-be author must learn — I’ve been working on promoting it long before the manuscript was finished and accepted for publication, in September 2010.
Today, (for which I’m grateful), it’s two radio interviews — Phoenix and D.C. — and a New York Times interview. Yesterday it was the Brian Lehrer Show and Tuesday was an hour of live radio with the legendary Diane Rehm, who has two million listeners.
(All of these are archived on their websites.)
Here are some of the many things I’ve been doing to help get the word out, from local attention and events in my little town of 10,000 north of New York City to reviews and blog posts about it in Australia, Ireland, Canada and Holland:
Registered the domain name malledthebook.com and hired my longtime web designer to create a website for the book. He updates its press and media page almost daily with new audio, reviews and clips.
Created a Facebook page. Please visit and like it!
Signed up at HARO, a three-times-daily website heavily used by 5,000 reporters worldwide seeking sources/experts to interview and quote. (This works only for non-fiction writers, but well worth it. I snagged a Wall Street Journal blogger this way.)
Began blogging in July 2009 for True/Slant, a website (later bought by Forbes,) with a final monthly audience of 10,000 visitors and 239 subscribers
Began blogging at opensalon.com in September 2010
Began blogging here at wordpress in August 2010
Reached out to every single person I interviewed for the book to let them know the book’s publication date, asking them to tweet, blog and mention it on all their social networks and tell their family, friends and colleagues
I visit LinkedIn once a week to answer as many questions as possible, using my book title as my professional signature
I tweet about retail, the subject of my book
I started targeting colleges, universities and community colleges, locally and elsewhere, that teach retailing to see if I might give a guest lecture and sell books; three have said yes, so far
I reached out to the Canadian consulate in New York, (I’m Canadian), and asked them to mention the book in their newsletter and on their website and to create an event for me
I did the same with the University of Toronto, my alma mater; I’m speaking there May 28 at 10:00 a.m. Come visit!
I contacted local businesses and asked some of of them to keep a stack of my book’s postcard on their desks and counters
A local coffee shop — which has more than 2,000 Facebook friends — is letting me do a reading there
A local reading non-profit group where I volunteered is holding an event for me in their space and inviting their friends and fellow volunteers
I contacted a local indie film center to see if we could schedule a film night linked to my book’s themes of shopping, low-wage labor or working retail
I attended the two-day 15,000 person National Retail Federation annual conference in Manhattan and took two people to help me walk the entire floor for two days to hand out postcards and gather potential contacts for speaking, consulting, writing and book sales
I did a brief video for NRF while there extolling retail as a possible career
I collected contact information at the conference from several professors of retailing who might use the book as a text or have me guest lecture or speak
I contacted a Canadian retail blogger attending NRF who did a long video interview with me which will go up on YouTube and who blogged about me twice
I met another high-profile retail blogger for coffee, (while in her Canadian city on family business)
I asked my publisher to give me 5,000 postcards with the book’s cover on one side, a great blurb on the other, and a description of the book and my contact information on the back; I use them instead of a business card now, have used them for book party invitations and hand them to anyone who might find it useful
I’ve written — without pay — several guest blog posts at sites with far more readers than I have, like the Guide to Literary Agents (they approached me) and the Harvard Business Review blog (ditto)
I read dozens of blogs every single day to find sites and posts where I can leave a useful comment
I called a local language school teaching foreign students — who all shop like crazy in Manhattan! — and asked if I could come and talk; they said yes
I called a local independent bookstore and asked if I could do an event there; yes
I reached out to an editor I know at a regional magazine and they did a Q & A with me
I wrote, for pay, an essay for my alumni magazine about working retail
I contacted a local freelancer who profiled me for a local monthly newspaper
I contacted a local radio talk show host who is giving me an hour of air-time
And that’s not even the half of it…
So far, I’ve lined up more than 14 speaking events, several well-paid, like the closing keynote for the retailcustomerexperience conference this summer. I’m always looking for more!
What sorts of things have you done to successfully promote your book(s)?
Any great blogs or websites we should know about?
I’ll give a copy of my book to the person who offers the best suggestion!