Thursday, March 27, 2008

Timing your promotion

There’s never a bad time to promote your book. (Ok, if you send out a press release about your book on Christmas Eve, it might get overlooked.) But, there are some really opportune times when you can make the most of your efforts. Here are a couple quick examples from two of our authors who are using the excitement in their books’ respective community to help spread the word about their new titles:

1. Sports by the Numbers co-author David Horne has entered the blogoshpere to promote the release of two spring baseball titles in the series: Major League Baseball and New York Yankees. He’s using the excitement of baseball fans who are looking forward to the upcoming season (talking about it, making predictions, etc.) and publishing blog posts and commenting on other baseball blogs and forums revolving around the upcoming season. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

2. Colt Foutz is using a similar timeline for his book Building the Green Machine. He has a great blog on his website where he talks about his new book and the Cavaliers, about whom the book is written. The Cavaliers’ huge summer tour is just around the corner, and anticipation leading up to the Drum and Bugle Corps tour season is mounting. He knows Cavalier fans are excited about the upcoming season and is offering his website blog as a sounding board for people who want to discuss the upcoming season. While visitors are there, they can learn more about his book and check out excerpts.

Both examples are perfect for fans and readers anxious for winter to end and ready for the spring and summer seasons to arrive. How can you time your book marketing efforts to create buzz about your book and receive the best response?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Signing Material

There was an author book signing at the Borders in Folsom, CA over the weekend. Author John Poswall was signing copies of his new book The Altar Boys at a small table near the front of the store for walk-in traffic. I might have walked right past it, but the person holding the video camera near the table caught my eye. I followed the direction the camera was pointing to see what he was recording: it was the author chatting with customers and signing copies of his book for them. The author said he will be posting video clips from his signing on his website. What a great way to attract attention to an event in the store and to also continue publicizing it after the fact with some visual website content.

Author Mark Wilensky will be speaking at Tattered Cover bookstore in Colorado on April 29. He wanted to set up his website on a projector to use during the presentation. Unfortunately, the store does events in the lower level of an old stone building which can’t get internet access. Instead, Mr. Wilensky will be printing out copies of the sketch game on his website for children in the audience to complete.

What can you bring to the table to attract attention to your event?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Using Google Alerts to Track Book Coverage

Are you signed up to receive Google Alerts for your book’s title? It’s a great way to stay on top of where your book is mentioned and to see what kind of coverage you are getting on the internet.

For example, Playing with the Enemy author Gary Moore came across a mention of his book in Publishers Weekly here. He probably would not have come across this if not for Google Alerts. Moore constantly stays on top of where his book appears on the web so he can then post a “thank you” on the blogs of people who mention his book, find new reviews of his book posted on Amazon and forums, and find book blurbs and articles as well. It also comes in handy when trying to track sales patterns. If you see a spike on Amazon or sales on your book’s website, you might be able to trace it back to an article in a local newspaper or review on a popular book blog.

You can choose how often you want to receive updates (instantly, daily, etc.), change what phrases you include (the book’s main title, or the main title and the subtitle together), and monitor multiple titles.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Book Marketing Newsletters – Blog Tips from Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

I receive a lot of newsletters via email regarding publishing, independent publishing, and book marketing. The one put out by Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is consistently one of the best, with tips that authors and publishers can implement in every single issue. Thanks Penny Sansevieri! Today’s newsletter, titled “Seven Powerful Ways to Find New Readers for Your Blog,” contained some great blogging tips. I am including a portion of the newsletter here:

Seven Powerful Ways to Find New Readers for your Blog

It's one thing to have a blog, it's quite another to get readers. If you have a blog and have been blogging for a while you know what I mean. I was thrilled the first time someone commented on a blog post I made. A la Sally Field I wanted to jump off my chair and yell: "Yes, you like me, you really like me."

It can be a lonely journey to start a blog but once you do, you'll find that blogging can bring great value to whatever you're promoting. Your book, message or product can be greatly enhanced by the platform you create online. Now, it's just a question of finding readers and (of course) keeping them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1) Write good blog headings: stay away from mysterious, nebulous blog titles. No one will read them and search engines can't spider them effectively. Be specific, tell what your blog is about in the title. Surprises aren't a good thing when it comes to blog titles.

2) Keep blogging - even if you don't think people are reading keep writing, eventually if you blog right readers will beat a path to your door.

3) Give away stuff: yes, it's ok to promote free stuff on your blog. Don't do it all the time but every now and again free stuff is a good thing!

4) Add your blog to your email signature line: this is a pretty simple way to gain exposure. Every time an email goes out you're promoting your blog, what could be easier!

5) Comment on other blogs: a great way to network with other bloggers is to comment on what they're doing/saying on their own blogs. Make cyber-friends, lots of them.

6) Invite people to guest blog or interview them: they'll promote the interview on their blog and this will help you get readers and expand your network. These interviews also make for great content.

7) Don't be afraid to state your opinion: your blog is your opportunity to get center stage with something that's important to you. State your opinion, you may be surprised at how many people agree with you.

There are, of course, dozens more ways to get readers to your blog and keep them there. These seven will get you started and keep the momentum going. Remember that while blogging may seem like a lonely way to promote yourself, blogs get picked up by search engines, and sometimes even media sites (like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) so the benefits to starting and keeping a blog are enormous. If you feel like no one's reading you might be surprised. One day you'll get a notice that someone liked a post enough to comment on it. When that happens, you have my permission to be thrilled. Yes, they really like you.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

I found these simple tips helpful, and have suggested some of them to our authors many times. (I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated the signature info in Number 4!) I know a number of our authors have recently entered the blogosphere and I hope you find these useful. Every author should subscribe to The Book Marketing Expert newsletter for more great tips.