In addition to PR releases to media, and soliciting reviews, I am using "viral marketing" to build sales of my funny memoir I Only Flunk My Brightest Students: stories from school and real life.
In case you don't know, viral marketing uses pre-existing social relationships to produce marketing objectives (such as sales) through self-replicating viral links, like the spread of human and computer viruses. At it's simplest, it can be word-of-mouth delivered in-person, and is often enhanced by the Internet, such as through "friends" on Facebook.com.
I made a list of about 50 people (friends, relatives, business associates and people who are mentioned in my book) whom I thought would like it and would likely recommend it to others.
I've been sending free copies to each of them. In the book is a one-page note explaining what the book is all about, and asking them to recommend it to others who might enjoy it. I also ask them to post a review on Amazon.com.
In addition to the note, each book goes with about a dozen promotional cards that show the book cover on the front, and the name of my publishing company, its web address and "Order from Amazon.com" on the back. While some of the cards may be used as bookmarks or be thrown away, I assume that some will be passed on to potential purchasers.
I got the cards from VistaPrint, a major maker of business cards that I've been buying from for many years. I uploaded a TIF image copied from the PDF of my cover. The book is 6 x 9 inches, and fits fine on the business card with a little white space above and below the cover image.
The price was just $25 for 1500 cards -- less than two cents each with rush shipping. My only regret was that I didn't use some of the space on the back to print a couple of blurbs from readers who liked it.
My wife and I also carry the cards around to give to possible "customers." Marilyn has turned out to be an excellent salesperson. Later today I have an appointment with my dentist. He has a good sense of humor, and I planned to give him a freebie and some cards to pass along. I mentioned my plan to Marilyn yesterday and she told me not to bother taking a book with me.
It turns out that she had already told the dentist about the book and he bought a copy from Amazon, and wants me to autograph it when I have my teeth cleaned.