Unfortunately, poetry can be a hard sell...
especially to audiences who don't read it because they think it is stuffy or impossible to understand.
My book, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014) came out 19 months ago, but it is just now picking up speed from a marketing perspective. What have I learned? Here are three ideas you might try:
1. Belong to special interest groups on Facebook or other social media. I don't really know much about social media except Facebook (FB) and LinkedIn. But I have found FB to be invaluable. I belong to poetry groups where I've made connections with poets and editors who have blogged about my book/poems and/or published reviews or interviews with me. See number 2 for other opportunities that resulted from FB.
2. Grab every opportunity to read from your book. Besides the usual poetry reading opportunities and open mics, I have read at a senior citizen's residential community, a women's event at a synagogue (a connection made through my neighborhood's FB, though I'm not Jewish), and a professional women's networking luncheon (also a neighborhood FB connection).
3. Promote yourself as a subject matter expert, and as such, find opportunities to guest blog for national publications. Your subject could be writing, which would be fine. But because my book is the story of my divorce and healing, I wanted to reach a broader audience, one that doesn't necessarily read poetry. I was prompted to do this because people kept telling me that my book helped them and that they bought it for friends who were going through divorce. I found a way to reach non-writer audiences by connecting with divorce groups on FB and reaching out to the editors with my idea of sharing my story -- each article I wrote would include a poem and the true story of how the poem came about. DivorceMagazine.com said yes, so I have posted three articles now. They were the first divorce related publication on the internet -- 17,000 people follow them on Twitter, and their FB page has 6300 likes.
And... the exciting thing is that my last article was picked up by Huffington Post and re-published in the divorce section of their online news site. Their site has 79 million unique monthly users. I don't know how many book sales this will result in (I know of 2 that happened immediately), but I'm happy for the wide reach, and if I can help people who are suffering, that's a wonderful thing. Secondly, if I can promote poetry (in general, not just mine) to an audience who thinks they don't like poetry and change a few people's minds about that... then I've done a good thing for all poets, and that makes me very happy.
Here's a link to the Huffing Post article: Forgiving the Other Woman
Good luck to you with your writing and the promoting of your work!