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In It’s a Wonderful Life, everyone loved George Bailey, the ultimate hometown hero–but George didn’t realize it. He felt intimidated by his friends who had gone out of Bedford Falls and made names for themselves. George wasn’t inferior to them. He just thought he was.

Authors can fall into the same trap. It’s easy to get discouraged when your book doesn’t make the best-seller list or the Amazon top 100, (or even top 100,000)

In the day of the internet, it’s easy to forget the power of local.

It’s time to think like George Bailey.

George Bailey

As an author, you are a hometown hero, just like George Bailey.

Not everyone publishes a book. It doesn’t matter if you live in New York City, Deluth, or Twin Falls. There are many people in your community that dream of writing books and few that actually do. By default, you are set apart.

When it comes to marketing your book, don’t forget about your hometown.

Big names might seem impressive, but they don’t have the same lure as local. In It’s a Wonderful Life, no one cares about Sam Wainright, the kid who went off to the city and opened a plastic factory. George was the one who stayed behind and saved the citizens from Mr. Potter. And everyone loved him for it.


  • Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t a “success.” Be like George Bailey. – Click to tweet.
  • Big names might seem impressive, but they don’t have the same lure as local. – Click to tweet.
  • In the day of the internet, it’s easy to forget the power of local. – Click to tweet.
  • Go local. Here are some ideas. – Click to tweet.
  • Author Media has more ideas on how to sell you book. This time, think local. – Click to tweet.

Here are some ways you can “go local” and think like George when it comes to marketing your book:

Host a reading at:

  1. A local coffee shop – partner with other authors to have a night of reading, or headline your own.
  2. A hospital – remember the last time you were sitting in the hospital waiting room? Didn’t you want something, anything, to take your mind off medical issues?
  3. A retirement community – these are communities of highly literate people that are often ignored. Don’t make that mistake. Many of them want to discover new authors to read but can’t get out to buy books.
  4. A rehabilitation center – People need distractions. If you were stuck somewhere for an extended period of time, wouldn’t you want something to read? Choose wisely, for it isn’t always appropriate to go to a rehabilitation center. Respect their privacy.
  5. A local church – does your book have religious themes? Does your local mega church have a bookstore? Leverage the connections you have. Someone’s books get into the bookstore. Why not yours?
  6. A locally owned bookstore – In my hometown, this is Powell’s City of Books. While Borders is shutting down and Barnes and Noble is struggling, Powell’s has a robust business. They know the power of local. Find your local bookstore (or the local bookstore in the town your book is set in) and sell them on the community angle.
  7. The library (target the five closest to your home and the five closest to the setting of your book)

Teach a class at:

  1. The local community college – think outside the box. You may not get your book in as core college curriculum, but you just may be able to teach a community education workshop on writing a book.
  2. The local high school – again, the power of local. If you are comfortable speaking to students, ask an English teacher if you can discuss writing a book with students.
  3. The local community center – these buildings aren’t just for sports and athletic activities. People in your community want to learn about the arts. Many of them want to write books. Give them a place to start!
  4. The senior center – don’t discount writers because of their age.

Pitch YOUR story to:

  1. The local news station – is there a “Good Morning” show that broadcasts exclusively to your area? These shows are always looking for people to interview. While you are on the show, you can direct people to your website and give copies of your book away to the audience.  It’s a great way to get your name out in the community.
  2. The newspaper
  3. The community paper
  4. The nearest reporter
  5. The radio stations

What are some ways you can think local when it comes to your book?

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