By Cali Gilbert
Back in 2011 I had a dream of becoming a bestselling author, but at the time my life was in shambles. I published my first book at the end of the year a month prior to losing my home. With no budget for marketing I had to come up with creative ideas of how to get the word out. My first book, entitled IT’S SIMPLY SAUSALITO: AN INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEY was a collection of my photographs and inspirational quotes I wrote. Since it was about the town of Sausalito where I lived, my first thought was tourism.
Tourists flock to Sausalito from all over the world and living in Sausalito, I understood where they congregated. Without a home I spent most days at the local Starbucks with my laptop learning everything I could about book publishing and life as an author. It was there that I would end up selling quite a few of my books. Tourists flocked to this particular Starbucks as it was near the Ferry Landing and just off the main drag. I’d start up a conversation with a visitor, welcome them to town and share a bit about Sausalito. I’d then show them the book and offer to sign it for them if they purchased it on the spot, which of course they were thrilled to. I also sold books on the ferries and at different attractions around the Bay Area.
TIP: If you are a published author, make sure you have at least one of your books on hand wherever you go.
The most beneficial marketing tool I learned when first starting out was the importance of building relationships within my community. I love to network and the first place I chose to connect with others was through my local Chamber of Commerce. With my second book, IT’S SIMPLY GOLDEN which celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, I partnered with the Chamber during one of their monthly mixers. The event took place at the Cavalla Point Lodge at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was able to set up a table and sell both my Sausalito and Golden books. It was here where I connected with the owner of one of the independent bookstores in Sausalito who agreed to carry my books in the shop after seeing my display at the mixer.
The best collaboration came with my fourth book, IT’S SIMPLY SAILING which was a preview to the 34th America’s Cup sailing regatta. Again partnering with the Chamber, I was able to launch the book at their Holiday Mixer which was always a great turnout. Knowing that most of the town would attend, I decided to reach out to local businesses and share that I was launching the book and would give those who purchased it a gift bag as well. I asked the business owners if they had any flyers, brochures, gift cards, promotional material, etc. that I could include in the gift bags. Of course they were thrilled to provide material from their businesses. It was a win-win for everyone and a huge success.
So when thinking about your marketing plan for your book, think first about starting close to home. Who can you connect with? Who can you support, who in turn can support you? The relationships you make when you are first starting out can become your greatest fans as you establish your career as an author.
Learn more and connect with Cali at www.CaliGilbert.com