Author Promos on the Cheap (or even better — FREE!)

dar's adventures in space comic
Photo courtesy of Comics and Games in London, KY (click to enlarge)

Face it, most Indie authors are strapped for cash. We can’t always afford to put out hundreds to thousands of dollars for promotions. We need quick, easy, and preferably FREE. So here’s one way I managed to sell a few books, had a fun time, made a few contacts, and became a more accessible part of the local community.

I don’t have any comic books, but I’m in the process of working with an illustrator to create one. (see: IU post) But that didn’t stop me from going to a local comic book store and inquiring if they had any upcoming events where I could set up a table and sell books. The owner was very cool — especially when I told him I was working on a comic, and said there was going to be National Free Comic Book Day in May (May 7th it was). The store was going to be hosting an event that ran from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and I could set up and try to create interest in my books. Yes!

Very pleased with a free venue, I contacted my illustrator to see if he had some images I could print out and put up on a board advertising the forthcoming comic. At the time, he didn’t, but he got pretty busy one weekend and sent me enough to create a teaser.

Since I still had a decent stack of books and promo stuff from the Lexington Comic Con, I didn’t need to invest money in that. I did, however, fork out about $8 for the fancy green board and construction paper that I affixed the pictures to. Of course, that display will be reused again.

I rolled in about 10 a.m. and the manager had a large table in the back (right next to the big piles of free comics) for me. I had everything ready to go in a matter of minutes. My first sale wasn’t for about an hour, when the manager came back to see what I had to offer. Yup, he went home with a copy of my new release! And that set the stage for several more hours of chatting with people, selling books, and even getting free pizza for lunch.

Author K. Rowe at Comics and Games in London, KY
Photo courtesy of Comics and Games in London, KY (click to enlarge)

Free venues can be a crapshoot. Since I’ve done so many, I learned not to get my hopes up. A good day might result in the sale of ONE book, but, if you’ve handed out business cards, bookmarks, and talked to people, consider that a win. Getting your name out there and helping folks find your books is probably the best publicity you can get. You’d be surprised at how many people were pleased to hear about a new local author. And they LOVED the comic teaser board.

At the end of the day, I sold 5 books, made $63, and got to know a lot of people and their reading preferences. Many went home with bookmarks that had loads of info and buy links because they preferred eBooks. I made mention to some that I’m going to do the Derby City Comic Con in June and they said they’d look for me.

So if you’re looking for free promos, think outside the literary box. I’ve had fantastic signings at local wineries, libraries, and even a swap meets and yard sales! Anywhere you can legally set up (yes, get permission before you do!), you can sell books. The venue doesn’t necessarily have to be book-related, but of course that does help. Just finding a place where there’s lots of people will be a big help in getting your name out there.

Author: K. Rowe

K. Rowe is an experienced and prolific multi-genre author. She draws from over twenty years of active Air Force service. Kathy lives in eastern Kentucky with her husband and a zoo of farm animals. Among her many duties she finds time to offer services as a publishing consultant for new authors. Learn more about Kathy from Facebook, and her Amazon author page.

16 thoughts on “Author Promos on the Cheap (or even better — FREE!)”

  1. I have been to everything from a town celebration, fund raising to a comic con. And no, I don’t write comic books either. but it was a lot of fun!

    1. Well, I get out when I can. Otherwise it’s farming, cheesemaking, and writing.

  2. I do a lot of Christmas Craft sales, for the same reasons. (You pay 20 or 30 bucks for a table) I always sell enough to make it worth my time, I get a lot of exposure and I talk to people. It helps me refine my spiel and edit my blurbs and my elevator pitch when I can try them on a live audience.

  3. Alrighty! I’m glad to see Dar front and center. Good luck with the comics. I was going to do some graphic novels for my Selchor character, but I don’t have the time yet to draw the strip. Later, though. Thanks for the tips.


  4. Great advice! So many authors think there is some magic to the marketing, when, in fact, just like everything else in life, it boils down to hard work and sacrifice. I’ll be sharing this in my FB group, Self Publishing Support Group.

    1. Thank you for the share. I hope it provides some insight to your group. Will have a followup article to the Lex Comic Con here for July.

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