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Promoting Books Online

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Promoting Books Online

Postby Margaret » Sun July 5th, 2009, 6:23 pm

A comment Chris made in another thread made me think it would be interesting to talk more about the best ways for authors to promote their books online. I know authors are setting up websites, doing blog tours and sending ARCs to bloggers. Is there more to it? Is there a good and a bad way to go about some of these things? What have you done that clearly had a positive effect? Have you tried anything that backfired?

As an online reviewer, I see a lot of this from the other end, and it would be interesting to learn more about how authors experience the process.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

TonyHays
Reader
Location: Southwest Tennessee

It is more than just important

Postby TonyHays » Sun July 5th, 2009, 8:13 pm

Actually, Chris and Michelle can speak more directly to this than I can. I attended an outstanding panel that they did at the HNS conference last month and learned a great deal. But, having said that, I think authors are really missing out if they don't exploit the online environment in every way they can. I'm just beginning with this aspect, but I can tell you already that it has made a major difference in my sales and visibility.

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michellemoran
Bibliophile
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Postby michellemoran » Sun July 5th, 2009, 8:31 pm

Great topic Margaret!

I wrote an article for Nathan Bransford's blog about this here. It's in two parts.

In terms of what an author can do, I think promoting online is extremely important. Of course, coop plays into this, and an author can purchase coop if their publisher will let them, but aside from that, online promotions are vital.
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User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Sun July 5th, 2009, 9:13 pm

Michelle, what an incredibly good article! You deserve a medal for writing it. I've linked to it from the "Writing Tips" page at www.HistoricalNovels.info
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Blog Tours

Postby Margaret » Sun July 5th, 2009, 11:21 pm

Sandra Gulland had a good post on her blog yesterday about how to set up a blog tour: http://sandragulland.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-set-up-blog-tour.html.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Anna Elliott
Compulsive Reader

Postby Anna Elliott » Mon July 6th, 2009, 12:31 am

I agree--those are fantastic articles, Michelle! Although I haven't used them myself so far, I know a lot of authors who highly recommend Facebook and Twitter as a way of generating book buzz.
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Sheramy
Reader
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Contact:

Postby Sheramy » Mon July 6th, 2009, 1:06 am

Thanks for posting the article link, Michelle! I managed to miss picking up a handout at the HNS publicity panel, so this is a great substitute.

Sandra Gulland's blog tour article is really helpful too. Good stuff. It's nice to know that a lot can be accomplished for not a lot of money.
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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Mon July 6th, 2009, 2:42 am

I think Sandra's article can be really helpful for authors. I saw it via her Twitter feed this morning, proving that these pieces have a way of getting around very quickly :)

That said, the suggested requirement that the review be posted also on Amazon, other book sites, Twitter, etc., makes me uncomfortable. If the author would like to link to the review from various sites, sure, no problem! But I don't feel it's the blogger's responsibility to promote a novel in that way. Whether I would do this depends a lot on how much I liked the book and wanted to get the word out.

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cw gortner
Bibliophile
Location: San Francisco,CA
Contact:

Postby cw gortner » Mon July 6th, 2009, 11:00 pm

I've done a number of things to promote online, both on my own and in collaboration with my publisher:

1) Blog Tour: Some authors plan their own or use a VA; I know one author whose publisher booked it for her, once she listed the blogs she was interested in visiting. There are also several virtual blog tour firms online that do a fine job for reasonable pricing; I usually hire one and provide a list of blogs that I especially want targeted. They add these to their usual roster. My fantastic publicist at Ballantine sends out the review copies to the bloggers. I also am open to doing guest posts or Q&A or getting a review. I think the key for a successful blog tour is to mix it up and keep it interesting, i.e., some reviews, some guest posts, a contest or three, and Q&As.
2) AuthorBuzz: I book the entire package. Invaluable. MJ Rose is a marketing goddess.
3) Blog ads: I also book these through AuthorBuzz. Depending on the blogs I want to target, a campaign can be costly but the exposure is worth it. You can effectively target millions of readers. The key is to distribute the ad effectively; MJ is an expert at developing a personalized blog ad plan. She got THE LAST QUEEN a ton of visibility.
4) Banner ads: MJ and I booked on USA Today.com and I did a few other online venues. Extremely pricey.
5) Book videos: My publisher hired ExpandedBooks.com to film it and they also distributed it - everywhere, including BN.com Studio and Amazon. Book videos can be cheesy or elegant; cost is usually directly related to quality. The jury is still out as to whether book videos work. My guess is: hey, they can't hurt :)
6) Satellite radio interviews/blog talk radio: I've done a few and would love to do more; again, I'm not sure what the impact is, but they're a lot of fun. Plus, you can do them from home in your skivvies.
7) Provide review copies to bloggers via my website: When I get those shiny author copies from my publisher, I revel in the joy and then I send 'em out.
8) Oops, almost forgot! Run my own blog. This is by far the most labor-intensive online activity for me; but it's my way of thanking the book gods by promoting other authors and books I love.
Last edited by cw gortner on Mon July 6th, 2009, 11:19 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Leo62
Bibliophile
Location: London
Contact:

Postby Leo62 » Wed July 8th, 2009, 1:38 pm

Great advice cw :)

I kept a blog going for almost a year when my last tarot deck came out. It became a hard slog and I'd have to be seriously motivated to attempt another one :eek:

There are so many blogs out there, you have to be really keen and really distinctive to stand out. Only do it if you really love it - I'm still not convinced the return was worth the effort.

Michelle - thanks for the link to your guest blog - your article is fantastically helpful. Have you thought of writing a marketing book? :D


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