4 Simple Ways To Promote Your Book Online

Cory Doctorow At Book Signing

While some authors are well-suited to use the Internet to promote their books, others find it awkward to get online and toot their own horn. But the truth is, all writers– whether a veteran or newbie, a big publishing house author or DIY novelist — need to connect with potential online influencers and buyers.

Here are four ways to get online to spread the word about you and your written work.

1. Work Your Email Address Book
The easiest way to begin your book promotion is to build an email list of your personal and professional contacts. Emailing them with regular updates on your publishing career is a great way to spread the word. Always give your friends and colleagues a way to unsubscribe (with no questions asked) if they do not want these types of updates.

2. Put On Your Twitter Ears
The mention of Twitter makes most authors twitch. But it’s not all about Justin Bieber and what people ate for lunch. Twitter is a great way to monitor what people are talking about — whether it be about your book or your dreaded competition.

At a minimum, you should monitor tweets daily and respond accordingly. When you see praise, send a quick thank you to the tweeter. I received a direct message from legendary record producer Nile Rodgers thanking me for my mention of his autobiography Le Freak on Twitter.

If a tweet is less than complimentary regarding your book,  still reach out with good intentions. I once tweeted that I had an issue with two recipes from a cookbook called The Vegan Slow Cooker. The author replied with suggestions on how to improve my results. Her tweet, fewer than 140 characters, made a big difference in my opinion of the cookbook!

3. Sign, Tweet, Share

Might you be brave enough to go to your local bookstore, find your books, sign them, and then tweet the books’ locations to your followers? Then you’ll join the ranks of authors who get a thrill from hosting Twitter scavenger hunts. If your book is electronic, you can easily create “good karma” hunts by dropping a printed version of your work in a designated spot.

A quick note about these Twitter examples — if you are much more comfortable with Facebook, these marketing tactics can easily be adapted for that platform.

4. Befriend Your Bloggers
If you are already a blogger, you know that fostering connections within the blogging community is crucial to the promotion of your new book. If you’re not as familiar with blogging, and equate a blogger with “someone who sits in his pajamas and babbles at his laptop,” you will miss a key networking opportunity.

If you don’t already know who the key bloggers are in your area of expertise, find out from your connections or through the online magazine rack Alltop. Then send a short e-mail to these bloggers, briefly describing what you’ve just published and explaining why a review of it might be of interest to the blog’s readership.

Offering a desk copy for review, as well as a few additional copies for a giveaway, is always sweet enticement for a blogger. Most bloggers know that giveaways of hot products can increase their own Web traffic, Twitter follower count, and number of Facebook fans. Remember: if a blogger agrees to review your book, it does not obligate her to write a *positive* review.

If your book is electronic or you feel uncomfortable about a free-book-for-review request, reach out to those same bloggers and inquire if they’d like you to contribute a guest post (or article) on a topic relevant to both your book and the respective blogs. A well-written article can establish your presence as a subject matter expert (and decent writer). Its accompanying biography of you can send interested readers to your book’s Website.

Once you’ve found these methods of promotion to be relatively sweat-free, take it to the next level. Come up with your own plan that will really resonate with your online marketplace. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Photo credit of author Cory Doctorow: Flickr/imuttoo

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Good article! I’m going to try the scavenger hunt. And yumm, Vegan Slow Cooker!

    Reply

    • Posted by sierratierra on March 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, Linda! I’m glad you found the online promotion tips useful. If you do the scavenger hunt, feel free to send me the link and tell me how it goes. I might just use the contest as another example of “cookbook author does good.”

      Reply

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