Friday, January 29, 2010

Top 10 Book Promotion Strategies for 2010

Interesting press release out this month titled “Top 10 Book Promotion Strategies for 2010 Revealed by Survey.” The results go hand in hand with what I spent a lot of my week working on.

According to Smith’s late 2009 survey, here are the top 10 book promotion methods that authors and publishers plan to use this year:

1. Social networking and social media: 94 percent
2. Blogging: 84 percent
3. Seeking book reviews: 75 percent
4. Seeking testimonials and endorsements: 73 percent
5. Press releases: 68 percent
6. Ezines or email marketing: 62 percent
7. Radio and television talk shows: 62 percent
8. Speaking or teleseminars: 60 percent
9. Article marketing: 57 percent
10. Book signings: 56 percent

You can read the entire press release here.

It’s interesting because when Savas Beatie started in 2004, not every author had a website. Those who did, stood out. MySpace and Facebook existed, but weren’t used for book promotion the way they are now. And who had heard of Twitter yet? No one, because it started in 2006.

Today, we expect a lot more from our authors, and as the findings of this survey confirm, so do other publishers. This month I have been working closely with all of our Spring 2010 authors on creating and maintaining their online presence. All five new authors started (or are in the process of developing) their websites, blogs, and Facebook accounts. Even our Saratoga author who was born in 1922 started his blog today. Now that’s a dedicated author.

Before each author’s book comes out this Spring, they will have an established online presence and social networking skills. They will have followers, commentors, and a “fan base” (for lack of a better term) that looks forward to seeing their online updates and who will be interested in reading their books.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Radio interview tip for the day: Repetition in Message

I talk to our authors a lot about radio interviews. Prepping them on what to say, what not to say, keeping their answers short, making sure they work the title of their book and website url into the conversation, etc.

There’s one thing that I often forget, though, and it’s very important to keep in mind: thousands of people are tuning in and out of your radio interview every minute. They are punching the scan button on their car radios trying to decide what to listen to. They are turning the car off when they pull into work and missing the last half of your interview. They are turning the radio back on after running into the post office.

To overcome these obstacles and constant fluctuation in listenership, make sure to work the title of your book and pertinent information into the interview THROUGHOUT the interview, not just in the last baton pass the host gives you before thanking you and signing off. Get your message about your book out there no matter what part of the interview listeners hear.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Basic Blog How-To

How do I start a blog? What do I write about? Who will read it?

Common questions for an author to have. It is important that an author have his or her online presence established with a blog prior to book release. Here is some simple information on set up, content, and format.

Structure and Basic Content:

- Choose a blog domain name that is short, easily remembered, and directly connected to your book (This can be part of your website or you can set up one with a site such as Blogger, Word Press, etc.)
- Add your picture and short biography
- Add image of book cover and internal pictures
- Include side list of relevant links and related blogs

Ideas for Blogging Content:

- Book Excerpts
- Extrapolate on interesting concepts, events, or details described in book
- Book Reviews (of your own book or your reviews of books on related topics)
- Comment or feature on other related blogs
- Trends in the research and study of your area of expertise
- Comment on recent news events and articles connected to your book’s topic
- Interview people with perspectives relevant to your book
- Something controversial to spark debate and comments

Additional Tips:

- Link Twitter and Facebook widget boxes to your blog page
- Add video clips and other multimedia content to blog posts


It is important to set up your blog and actively post before your book comes out so your blog will have content, followers, and comments. You will be ahead of the curve. We consider this mandatory for our authors, and absolutely critical today.

(Note: This post is based on an email to our Spring 2010 Authors.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January and February are not book signing season months, but in keeping with the “New Year, New Start” tradition, below are some helpful tips on book signing events. They are from Sandra Beckwith’s newsletter Build Book Buzz. Additional tips and programs can be found on her website here.

1. Don't approach a bookstore to discuss a signing unless you've written your book for a wide consumer audience (vs. an industry or other type of niche - lawyers or rock climbers, for example). Many bookstores won't host signings when it's clear that the audience for the book is too narrow. Ask yourself if there's a better place to meet your niche audience face-to-face.

2. Plan an event, not a book signing. The book signing where you sit at a table and try to make eye contact with shoppers is increasingly passé and often a waste of time. You need an event where you can speak to and engage your target audience, whether your book is fiction or nonfiction. My goal buddy Marcia Layton Turner is doing a Barnes & Noble book signing later this month for her newest title, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vision Boards, but she won't be sitting at a table near the entrance. She'll be in the function room teaching people how to create vision boards before they try it themselves with materials Marcia and the bookstore provide. "I'll share the message of the book and show how to apply it," she says.

3. Consider non-bookstore locations. Go where you'll find your audience - it might not be at a bookstore. When Irene Levine introduced her community to Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, Irene's hair stylist hosted a book signing at her salon. They invited lots of friends - who brought friends. Borders was on hand to sell books to about half of the 150 attendees. Be creative - if your book is a vegetarian cookbook, schedule an event at a natural foods market or the produce section of a supermarket. Your new mystery takes place at a museum? Talk to the most popular museum in your area about hosting a presentation and signing.

4. Market to warm. Are you an active member of a supportive group? Jackie Dishner, author of the regional travel book Back Roads and Byways of Arizona, sold more than 60 books at her signing at the weekly meeting of her businesswomen's group. Members knew she was writing the book and welcomed the opportunity to celebrate its publication with her. Do you belong to a similar group that might support you? For whatever reason, people like to say that they know an author. A signed book is proof of that connection.

5. Do your share to get the word out. Don't expect your event host to do all the promotional work - collaborate so you reach as many people as possible. Contact the press, send an e-mail to locals in your address book and ask them to forward it, and use social networking tools such as Facebook events and Twitter to spread the word.

6. Don't just sign your name. When I sign copies of my humor book about men, WHY CAN'T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN?, I write the person's first name, add "It's all true!" and sign my name. For Publicity for Nonprofits," I use "I'll see you in the news!" People like that additional touch because it feels more personal.

7. Be prepared to invest time. Planning, promoting, and executing a successful book signing takes time, thought, and effort. It will all be worth it, though, as you watch those cases of books under your table empty and your hand gets tired from writing with your favorite pen.