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I receive a lot of emails from first-time authors, and 99 percent of them are looking for marketing ideas they can implement for zero cost. If you fall into that category, here are two ideas you can do that will cost nothing more than your time and energy:

     1.    Create a list of local alumni groups from your college, then reach out to each one individually*

*This is critical. No one likes bulk email, so personalize your message enough to show whoever receives it that you respect his or her time.

Even if you went to a small school, you'll be surprised at how many alumni groups are probably scattered across the country. Contact information for each club is usually available on the college's website, and many clubs even have their own websites. Local clubs often have electronic newsletters they need to fill with news about alumni just like you, so if you offer to send them a cover photo of your book, plus your headshot, there's a good chance they will write a little blurb about you. (This is why it's important to have both a one-line description of your book as well as something a little longer. You can use the one-liner in your initial email, then send the meatier piece later.)

Remember that the people running these groups are volunteers so they may take some time in getting back to you. That also means you may need to follow up more than once to get the ball rolling.

     2.    Repeat the above with local alumni groups from your fraternity/sorority

If you weren't a member of the Greek system, what organizations were you involved in? Everyone has a network, so put on your thinking cap. The Internet makes the world small, so find your community and see how it can help you.

A new year is here, along with countless potential readers for you to dazzle with your writing. So start marketing!

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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