It's the traditional view of an author, revered for countless years: a small bookstore, a pile of books, and the author reading a passage to rapt fans. Small bookstores love to schedule authors to read and sign their books. It increases sales and helps to form a sense of community within their customer base. Unfortunately, small bookstores are operating in a challenging environment, leaving online sales a larger part of the book buying experience.
In a world where it's rare to see an independent book seller, where's an author to go if she wants to share his/her words face-to-face? Unique venues are great for any writer, as long as you find a dedicated group of readers who will drop by. You'll have to provide your own box of books to sell and sign, but it's still a great way to meet your fans and convert strangers to readers.
Local coffee shops often allow musicians to play for an hour or two in the evening in exchange for allowing them to sell their CDs. Do the same with your book. Advertise ahead of time to gather an interested crowd. Read a short selection, answer any questions, then sell and sign copies of your work.
Senior citizen centers are often looking for new and unique forms of entertainment for their guests. Older readers can be among the most loyal if they like your work, and will often buy your back catalog along with your current work. For a book promotion, that's solid gold.
Small Town Libraries
Check the closest five or six libraries and offer to give a talk in exchange for selling your book. If one library agrees to your plan, you'll have an opening for many other libraries in the system. With enough networking you can put together an entire speaking tour, reading your book at libraries across the state.
Depending on the topic of your book, it may be ideal for a reading at your local community college. Colleges often put on entertaining programs to give students a break from studies. Reading your book to an audience, especially if you get into a lively discussion with the crowd, is a great way to find new readers who will read your future works as well as the current one.
Your Book's Setting
Is your book set in a small town near you, an oceanside community, or a farming area in the heartland? Contact the community center in your book's location and offer your speaking services, citing the ties your book has with their city. Many citizens won't be able to resist reading a book set in their own town, especially if you've been careful to make the details as authentic as possible.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!