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Questions in Book Marketing Services


What kind of marketing assistance does iUniverse provide?
I'd like to do more marketing for my book. Where can I get information about tried and proven ideas?
Does iUniverse provide or submit review copies of my book to the media?
How do I send copies of my book for review before publication?
Will iUniverse submit or nominate my book for any awards?
When should I start marketing my book?
When should I begin setting up booksignings?
What can I do to encourage my local bookstore to host a booksigning?
What is a "media kit"?
What is the best way to approach the media to gain publicity for my book?
What are some creative marketing techniques I can use to sell more copies of my book?
My local bookstore won't stock my book. What should I do?

What kind of marketing assistance does iUniverse provide?

iUniverse offers a number of premium book marketing services and products to assist individual book titles or authors.

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I'd like to do more marketing for my book. Where can I get information about tried and proven ideas?

Check out the Resources page of our website. It contains many book marketing ideas to help you grow book sales. There are also a variety of books on this subject, as well as information on the Web.

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Does iUniverse provide or submit review copies of my book to the media?

Because iUniverse books are printed on demand, we do not have an inventory of books at our disposal to send out to book reviewers. However, we are always happy to forward requests from book reviewers to our authors. If a reviewer contacts us, we'll e-mail you all the pertinent information you need to fulfill the request.

Books that have reached Editor's Choice status are eligible for our Personal Publicist service. Our publicists will send out review copies for those authors who have contracted for the Personal Publicist service.

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How do I send copies of my book for review before publication?

In order to provide advance reading copies for book reviewers, some authors take their final proof files to a quick-print service (FedEx Office, for example) and have copies printed and bound for this purpose.

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Will iUniverse submit or nominate my book for any awards?

Due to the high volume of books we publish each month, we are unable to sufficiently evaluate titles for their award potential. We cannot, therefore, submit, endorse or suggest individual titles for awards nominations. However, our monthly iUniverse e-newsletter will inform you of contests that accept entries directly from self-published authors.

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When should I start marketing my book?

Your marketing plan depends upon your goals for your book. If you hope to sell many books, you will need to create a comprehensive book marketing plan that will help you reach your sales goals.

It is especially critical to market your book during the first few months after publication. The media (newspapers, magazines, television, radio, etc.) are most interested in what's "new" and "hot." It is much more difficult (but not impossible) to publicize your book after it's been in the marketplace for a year or more.

Shortly before your book is available for purchase, you can begin marketing it by telling your friends and family about it, creating a website where you can post excerpts from the book, etc.

Once your book is available for purchase, you can start generating publicity by sending out review copies to the media and scheduling speaking engagements with local clubs and organizations. Doing so will help you generate a "buzz" about your book.

Anything you can do to spread the word about your book is helpful, even if sales results are not immediately forthcoming. Effective marketing does take time, but if you have a quality book and you make an organized effort to let others know about it, you're on the right track.

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When should I begin setting up book signings?

Book signings are generally much more effective if the author initially focuses on other promotional activities. Before you set up a book signing event, you should try to generate some publicity.

For example, an author who has received some positive book reviews, looked into creative sales opportunities with local merchants and done some local advertising is more likely to attract people to a book signing. Readers are more likely to attend a book signing if they know about the book in advance.

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What can I do to encourage my local bookstore to host a book signing?

There are a variety of steps you can take to encourage a bookstore to host a book signing:

1) Bookstores are more likely to host a book signing if the author has already taken some positive steps to promote the book. Getting the book reviewed, sending out press releases to local media and doing some local advertising are excellent ways to attract people to the book signing. If the author hasn't promoted the book in advance, it's unlikely that many people will attend the book signing.

2) Because iUniverse titles are printed on demand, they are non-returnable. Bookstores may agree to host a book signing if the author sells the books on consignment, because the author can take any unsold books home with them following the event.

3) Instead of asking a bookstore to host a book signing, authors sometimes approach bookstores about hosting a "book launch" party. In this case, you would send out invitations to friends and family to attend the event at the bookstore. This will reassure the store manager that you will be drawing foot traffic into the store—a definite plus for you and the store.


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What is a "media kit"?

A media kit is essential when you are attempting to get publicity for your book. The media (newspapers, magazines, television, radio) will require this information when considering you as a guest on their program or reviewing your title.

The standard elements of a media kit are a press release, pitch letter, author biography, a review copy of your book and copies of any positive reviews or endorsements your book has received.

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What is the best way to approach the media to gain publicity for my book?

The first step in marketing your book is to determine which media you would like to contact (radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, etc.). Next, you should determine the contact name of the person responsible for setting up interviews or writing book reviews. Personalized requests are much more likely to receive attention rather than those addressed to "Book Review Editor," for example.

Next, send a press release and cover letter to stimulate this individual's interest. Get your "elevator speech" (a 30-second spiel about your book) ready and follow-up with a phone call the next day. Following up with the media is the key to successful publicity.

At this point, interested media will request your media kit and a review copy of your book. Remember, it's also important to know when to take "no" for an answer. Otherwise, you risk harming your relationship with this individual, and he or she will be unlikely to respond to any future requests.

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What are some creative marketing techniques I can use to sell more copies of my book?

The most successful self-published print-on-demand authors utilize various creative marketing techniques to get their books noticed. Here are just a few ideas:

1) Contact any local clubs or organizations in your area that might schedule you for a speaking engagement. The best ones to contact are those who are related to your book's topic. For example, if your book is about gardening, you could contact gardening clubs or your local nursery. Kiwanis clubs, Rotary clubs and other local organizations are also excellent targets.

2) Contact a local newspaper, website or magazine about publishing excerpts of your book to generate interest.

3) Think of different places where people might purchase your book—other than a bookstore. To use the gardening book example, your local nursery or garden center might be willing to carry your book on consignment.

4) Set up your own website (or have us put one together for you). It can be as elaborate or simple as your budget allows. Having a website for your book allows you to market it by posting excerpts of your book, your bio, a photo of the book and even a way for people to purchase the book online.

5) Tie your book into local events or holidays. If your book is a ghost story or mystery, you may have better luck with the media during the Halloween season. Or, if your book is about sports law, you will want to keep an eye out for current high-profile cases that relate to your expertise.

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My local bookstore won't stock my book. What should I do?

Many authors believe that if their book is on a bookstore shelf, it will sell. This simply isn't the case. Even in a bookstore, books are unlikely to sell unless they have been effectively marketed and promoted. The best route for most self-published authors is to research other sales opportunities. Think of different locations where people might purchase your book—other than a bookstore. For example, if your book is about gardening, your local nursery or garden center might be willing to carry your book on consignment.

Bookstores want to stock titles that have proven sales potential. If your goals include having your book stocked in bookstores, you must first demonstrate your ability to develop a creative book marketing plan and follow through with it.

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