Collaborate with local businesses to promote your book

Could you sell more books if you collaborated with local businesses in ways that shine a spotlight on your book?

I recently read an article in my daily newspaper about the grand opening of a chocolate shop that included a guest lecture by a local physician who talked about chocolate as “not a food but a medicine.” If that doc had written a book on the topic, he would have sold out after speaking to the chocoholics gathered for the celebration.

These types of opportunities offer both publicity and in-person book sales opportunities for authors of all types of books:

  • A romance novelist can speak at the grand opening of a lingerie store
  • An author of a financial planning book can present to bank customers
  • A parenting book author can welcome parents to a new daycare center
  • A young adult author can speak at a tutoring center

While some authors are high-profile enough locally that they receive invitations to speak at these types of gatherings without making any effort, most of us have to look for the opportunities. Also, to take advantage of “grand opening” opportunities, you have to know about them before they happen so that you can offer your services at the right time.

Look for opportunities

Uncover opportunities by staying informed:

  • Monitor retail storefronts for remodeling (and the “coming soon” signs that go with that activity)
  • Be an active member of your Chamber of Commerce
  • Participate in business membership groups such as Rotary and the National Association of Women Business Owners
  • Read the local daily and weekly newspapers for relevant announcements
  • Follow local leaders and elected officials on Twitter for advance information

When you uncover an appropriate situation — a good fit for your knowledge and the company’s target customers — start first by calling or e-mailing the business owner to introduce yourself, offer your services, and schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss a potential collaboration.

Be certain to give the business owner a complimentary copy of your book when you meet in person. Offer to help generate publicity for the event with the news media and to share information with your social networks. Make it clear that you will work with the owner as a partner on the event to make sure it’s a success and you’ll get a warm reception to your ideas. Do a great job with your presentation at the event and you’ll have a friend for life who will help you find other ways to get visibility for your book, too.

What sorts of things have you done to get the word out about your book in your local community?


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  1. This is welcome news. Sitting behind a table you paid $50.00 for waiting for customers is out of date with today’s market. Authors need to be more aggressive in many different venues.
    Thanks for a informative post.

    1. Wow! You just stepped on my toes, Judy. Ouch! I just did this. I paid $50.00 for a table and only made $39.00 that day. Oh my goodness. These tips are wonderful, but how do I get going?!! Oh my!

      1. Cherrye, there’s “here’s how to do it” information in the article above, but before that, you have to (a) make this a priority and (b) set aside time to start working on it.

        Good luck!


  2. I agree with you, Judy! We do have to be more aggressive and opportunistic to get attention and stand out.


  3. Thank You! I really needed this because I am a new children’s book author. I am learning the ropes along the way and your article is very inspiring and informative.

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful, Janera! Thanks for the feedback! In your case, you could work with a children’s clothing store (children’s consignment shops are popping up where I live), a new preschool, or a daycare center. I’m sure you can think of other options — good luck!


  4. We’ve just moved back to the area where I grew up, to a small town. We’ve known for years that our best marketing method is face to face with prospects, but never thought of a joint venture like this.

    With 10 books down and 4 more on the way, I should have almost endless opportunities in our small town. Make it my goal to be ubiquitous. Wouldn’t it be smashing if it reached the point that someone showed up for a grand opening and was surprised not to see me?

    Thanks, Sandra!

    1. Joel, I love that goal! Go for it — and then come back and tell us about your success. It would make a great guest column!


  5. Hi Sandra,

    By far, your newsletters and tips are the ones that have motivated me the most. You list “out of the box” techniques to keep us stimulated. Already I have 8 articles on Ezine. I am not listed as an Expert author and people are reading my articles. Believe it or not, someone from Project Race contacted my publisher who then contacted me so that I could get in touch with this person. She is a Director of her company. She wanted to get permission to post one of my articles on the Project Race website. It’s there now. She is also looking at my article concerning Grandparents and their Biracial Children.
    My platform topics center on Diversity and Bullying issues, Sandra. Can you give me ideas of what lines of companies my books would best fit? I’ve tried contacting magazines for young girls. One compnay emailed me back and wanted $300.00 to run a small ad for me, and an additional $65.00 if they wrote it for me. Right now, I want to sell books and not continue to pour out so much money towards marketing. I love the idea of Collaborative Marketing, but who will want to collaborate with me?
    Can you give me hints/ideas? I love the ones that you outlined above, and they are good for those people with books that are related (I hope they run with it).
    Again, your help is wonderful and well accepted. I hope that people are reading your blogs.

    1. Cherrye, when a magazine you’ve contacted replies with information about advertising, it’s possible that what you sent them suggested that you were asking them to help promote your book, not showing them how an article incorporating an interview with you would help their readers, or how a review of your book would be valuable to readers.

      Also, when they try to sell you an ad, you can respond that you’ll consider an ad after they give you editorial exposure (your book mentioned in the magazine somehow) that allows you to determine if the magazine is a good fit for your ad budget.

      As for who will want to collaborate with you, think about who you wrote the book for — who should be reading it — and then think about the businesses that are already selling to that target audience.


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