Some Tips for Promoting Your Memoir:
So you’ve finished writing your memoir. Now, how the heck do you promote it? It’s one of the questions memoir writers struggle with the most!
The awful, painful truth: book marketing is never easy. Worse yet, marketing a memoir can be especially difficult. That’s not to say it can’t be done. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t instantly find a market that welcomes your memoir with open arms. Be willing to be creative – and remember that it can take time to “find your audience.”
Here are some ways other memoir writers have successfully connected with readers, plus tips on two promo services that may be able to help your marketing efforts!
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1. Think Nontraditional:
Sure, local bookstores are the standard go-to suggestion; indie booksellers in particular may be open to a local author’s work. But nontraditional retail outlets can also be a great match for your memoir, depending on your book’s content.
If your memoir regales readers with tales about hiking or mountain-climbing, for example, see if a local sports or outdoor equipment store will carry it, or host a book-signing. One expat American whose memoir describes her move abroad found a ready outlet with restaurants and gift stores nearby that cater to tourists — some of whom might dream of duplicating her move!
2. Make the Most of Book Signings:
Sadly, a standard book signing doesn’t always attract as much attention as authors might like. But you can improve the impact of your event by timing it to coincide with a relevant holiday – Mother’s Day, for example, if your memoir focuses on family issues; or Veteran’s Day if you’ve written a military memoir.
Expand the reach of your signing by treating it as a great give-away opportunity – a chance to put your book on people’s radar. Create a sheet of colorful stickers as a give-away for kids, featuring your website or book title. Offer a sign-up sheet for a free newsletter at your signing table – a great way to collect email addresses of people who might be interested in topics in your book. Hand out business cards featuring a thumbnail of your memoir cover. Chat with people who stop by and ask if they know of possible speaking opportunities. The outreach you’re able to do at a book signing can be far more valuable than a few sales of your book.
3. Skip Generic Promo In Favor of Targeting Specific Groups:
A quick online search for “book promotion” services will flood you with options in many different flavors – and prices. Typically, promo services offer “deals” (or freebies) on books to their newsletter subscribers, and/or post on social media to help draw attention to their clients’ books. Cost for a quick promo can often be fairly cheap (say $20 to $50). But not all services are a great fit for memoir authors. Many have subscriber databases that run heavy with readers of other genres (romance or thrillers, for example). So be sure their readership embraces memoir.
“The trick is to get in front of an audience that cares,” advises Craig Tuch at Hidden Gems Books. “So I think that running promos [on] sites that are more generic in terms of their genres and promotions would probably yield fairly limited success.” A better approach, suggests Tuch, is to “look for groups that are interested in the type of story you want to tell, and then get in front of them, sending out copies to any key people that run those groups or are influencers that have the ear of that group.”
4. Arrange Early Reviews:
Jeffrey, the Head Librarian at TheFussyLibrarian.com, emphasizes the importance of getting reviews your book. “Once you’ve developed that ‘social proof,’ it’s much easier to convince people that you are an expert on the subject, or your memoir’s story is compelling enough for someone to devote hours to reading it,” he notes. So, how to get those reviews? “I think free ebook promotions [a promotion offering a free ebook giveaway] are the single best way to help increase review numbers,” Jeffrey said. “It’s not a guarantee, of course – a ‘meh’ book isn’t going to inspire people to leave a review. But I think free book promotions are a good tool for authors.”
Another helpful option for authors is an ARC service, like the one offered by HiddenGemsBooks.com. These have a network of potential book reviewers and, for a modest fee, will forward your book to those who sign up to review it. You may or may not get rave reviews every time; reviewers agree to provide an honest review on Amazon.
Like more information? Find Hidden Gems’ ARC (review) program at HiddenGemsBooks.com, under the “Author Services” tab.
And find the Fussy Librarian at TheFussyLibrarian.com. (If you’d like to try a Fussy Librarian listing, they have kindly offered a 25% off coupon for a promotion in the nonfiction section of their free ebook newsletter. Use promo code memoir25. (Good through March 31, 2023 only!))