Promoting a book to make money doesn’t mean you can’t be human or caring. By giving back to the community, authors create positive images of themselves and put their faces and books in front of people who might not otherwise be interested in or never heard of their books. Selling yourself by helping a good cause will not only help you sell books, but in the end, you will feel good about yourself and feel more connected to your community and the world at large. You can also have great experiences that will inspire your future books.
While you can work in a soup kitchen or simply donate money, authors can find ways to contribute to their communities that will also help promote their books. Below are just six of hundreds of possibilities for how authors can give back:
- Visits to senior centers and assisted living homes. Older adults make up a large part of the reading public, largely because they have more time to read. They also appreciate visitors and interaction with others, and are likely to tell all their friends and family, including their children, grandchildren, great nieces and nephews, in-laws, and cousins, about a book they like. In other words, seniors have many connections and can provide excellent word-of-mouth references for your book. Especially if you write about history, health, or topics of special interest to older people, a group of older people may be the perfect audience for your book and message. Many senior centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and veterans’ residences have book groups and book clubs, and are always looking for ideas for event planning. Authors can choose to volunteer to read to seniors at these facilities once a week or a month, or simply visit and give a talk about their books. During the visit, be sure to pass out cards or bookmarks; Older people may not always have the best memories and may not remember your name, but if your book interests them, they will show the books they buy or bookmarks to their visitors and tell them about your book. Older people also enjoy participating in the discussions, and if the authors are willing to listen, they will have great stories to tell, material for future books.
- Speak at race day events for students. Budding young writers are everywhere, and volunteering to speak to high school students or college freshmen at career day events, or participating in events like Young Authors, can be a great way to give back to your community and provide the needed encouragement you received or I wish you had received it as an aspiring young author. In addition to speaking with aspiring writers, authors who have written nonfiction books may wish to speak with future historians, physicians, business people, or other groups of students whose field of study is relevant to the topics of their books. While students generally don’t have a lot of money to buy books, that doesn’t mean they won’t remember the encouragement you gave them and bought your books when they’re older, and they might also tell their parents about your books or ask about their birthdays or vacations. Best of all, the authors will sow a seed in young people so that new “keepers of the flame” will be born to continue the gift of writing and storytelling.
- Fundraising for Public Radio and Public Television. Public television and radio stations love to offer gifts to their listeners and viewers as an incentive to donate to their stations. While your book may cost only $ 25, viewers who give the station $ 100 can receive it for free with their donations, which sells you a book and helps the station buy more programming to enrich the lives of the girls. persons. These stations will want to buy your book at a discount, usually equivalent to what bookstores want, such as 40 percent. You may not sell many books or make a lot of money directly through this place, although some authors have done very well this way, but it is a great way to publicize your book, and although all viewers may not donate the amount needed to get the book for free, you can bet that many will buy the book at regular price at bookstores or online. Also, you will now have media contacts at the station who might invite you to come back when your next book comes out, or interview or recommend you to other stations. Some authors have even had local PBS stations make movies of their books if their books are of local interest to their audience.
- Book donation. Donating a book may seem like a financial loss, but it can result in advertising that helps sell books and, again, provides a profit for an organization. Many libraries that receive books donated by authors have connections to the local media and will take a photo of the author donating the book for their newsletters or even the community highlights of local newspapers – great publicity in exchange for a donated book.
Donating books as raffle prizes can also be effective. For example, if your book is donated for a church bazaar raffle, everyone who purchases a raffle ticket can see it listed as one of the prizes. It can be hundreds of people who see the title of your book, and although only one person can win the donated book, several others can decide to buy the book for themselves.
Benefit dinners are another great place to donate books. Communities always host spaghetti dinners and other fundraisers for people who have cancer, leukemia, or other health conditions that generate large medical bills. Donating a book to help with a raffle or auction at one of these events will not only help you get public attention, it can also help raise money that could save a life.
- Promotion of literacy. As authors, we love to read. But, can you imagine not being able to read or not having books to read? Illiteracy is a major problem from which poverty, prejudice and many other social ills stem simply because people cannot read and therefore cannot be informed or educated. There are multiple ways for authors to help with literacy.
Visit schools and talk to children about the importance of reading or have an author visit and read your children’s book to get them excited about reading. Volunteer your time to help students by tutoring them or helping them with a workshop. Tell the children about your own experiences as a writer. Get them excited about the world that will open to them once they are able to read. Explain how reading and writing are important to almost every job that exists today.
Don’t forget about adult education programs where you can find more people interested in your book. If your topic interests them, your book could be a springboard for them to learn to read.
I know of an author who received a grant to offer a workshop to help at-risk teens write and publish their own books. You have found book publishers and printers who have agreed to donate time or print books at cost to help these students publish their books, giving them the confidence that if they can write a book, they can achieve whatever they want in life. .
- Donate a dollar for each book sold. Many authors have donated a dollar for each book sold to a charity or cause that is important to them. This situation is especially true with nonfiction books. A book on Alzheimer’s disease can result in a dollar per book sold going to the American Alzheimer’s Association. The author of a children’s book could donate a dollar per book to causes that promote literacy. A wildlife book can be worth $ 1 for every book sold for the Humane Society of the United States. Beyond sharing their profits, authors are likely to sell more books, and the volume of sales thus compensates for the lost profit per book. In addition, you can speak at conventions for these reasons or sign books at conferences. People are more willing to part with their money when they feel that it will go to a good cause and they will get something in return, like a good book.
There are many ways for authors to give back to their communities. Whether or not these avenues result in the sale of more books, authors will come away feeling good about themselves and knowing that they have made a difference, the results of which can never be measured or underestimated.