Earn personal recommendations. A large enough initial group of people have to first read and love a book before there are enough recommenders to make a difference in the book’s later sales. Personal recommendations are earned, not created. Before that can happen, the book has to be discovered, interesting enough to buy, and a strong enough read that the reader will be moved to want to share it and recommend it. Make sure that those who are most likely to respond to a given book’s topic of story have every chance to discover and read it.
When I first received my load of books, I think I was too stingy with them. Sure, I slated some of them for review and giveaway purposes, but in retrospect I don’t think it was nearly enough. Especially as a first-time author, it takes a lot to establish credibility. Since my target is the homeschool market, I should have come up with a list of 200 influential people in the homeschool world who would agree to review my book and publish their review either on-line or in print. Instead, I think my list was closer to 25. We’ve made up for it some over the last year and a half, but there is a certain momentum when a book is first released that is forever lost after several months have passed.
So, if you’re still looking toward a future publication of your book, make that list of a couple hundred influencers in your field and be sure that your budget includes the cost of those books plus shipping. Getting your name out there is a long, grueling process, so the more you can connect with people and build a coalition to help you in this arena, the better!