Promoting your book online – the easy way

If you’ve done the book launch, press releases, newspaper interviews, library talks, book signings, school visits, etc, and you’re wondering what to do next, how about promoting your book online?

There will be hundreds (perhaps thousands) of websites and blogs that cater for each of the subjects and issues covered in your book. And there are thousands more that are aimed at book readers, writers, teachers, children, teenagers, and so on.

You can think of each of these websites and blogs as a “virtual venue” where you can promote your book.

There are two main ways of doing this:

1. Interview: the owner of the website or blog (or one of their staff) emails you a set of questions and you send back your responses. Their questions and your answers are then posted on their website in the form of an interview. They might also include it, or promote it, in their ezine or newsletter if they have one, or invite people to submit questions for you.

2. Articles: you arrange to write one or more short articles about your subject, or about writing and publishing your book. These are then published on their website, or in their newsletter or ezine.

You shouldn’t expect any payment for the interview or article – you’re doing it for the publicity not the money. But you can mention your book (and where to buy it) at the end. That’s your payback.

Start by making a list of all the things your book covers – the main subject, sub-topics, locations, issues, angles, and so on. Also list the things you researched while writing it, even if they didn’t make it into book. And there will be several other topics that you now have some inside knowledge of – writing books, finding an agent or publisher, perhaps self-publishing, finding and working with a cover artist, giving talks, book signings, and so on. You’ll probably be surprised at just how big your final list is.

There will be a staggering number of websites and blogs that cover each of these topics. And many of them are constantly looking for new material – even if they don’t say they are. So use your favorite search engine to search for each topic on your list.

You’ll probably end up with millions of results for each topic. Look at the first page or two of results and choose a few websites that seem the most relevant. Then approach the site owners by email to see if they’d like to interview you or have you write an article for them on a topic that’s relevant to their site.

Keep a record of each site you approach and their response (if any). If some of the bigger sites don’t respond, and you’d really like to be featured on them, try again a week or two later, and maybe again a week or two after that. You might even consider contacting them by phone or post. Don’t give up until they give you a definite “Yes” or “No”, because they probably get thousands of visitors. Imagine a book signing event in the real world where thousands of people turned up! You don’t want to lose out on an opportunity like that just because the site owner was too busy to answer an email, or didn’t receive it.

There are several big advantages to promoting your book online, rather than doing it in the real world:

1. There’s no travelling – this will save you huge amounts of time and money.

2. You’ll never run out of venues – just move on to the next page of search results or try the next topic on your list.

3. You can cover multiple venues in one day.

4. You can cover a much wider area – the whole world in fact.

5. Even the smallest online venue will usually have a much larger audience than a single book signing event in the real world.

6. Your article or interview will usually remain online for years afterwards.

7. You don’t have to have a great speaking voice or be able to come up with instant responses.

Just as no two talks or interviews in the real world are ever exactly the same, you should aim to make every online event slightly different too. You can save a lot of time by recycling the same material over and over again. But try to tailor what you say to suit each site’s individual style and readership. If you aren’t sure what makes one site different from another, ask the owner. It will take a little time to do each event properly – rather than just cutting and pasting – but think about how much time you’d spend on an event in the real world – preparing for it, travelling to it, and attending it. You’ll be able to do each online event in a fraction of the time – and probably achieve much better results – without even leaving your desk.


About the author:

Dave Haslett is the founder of ideas4writers – the ideas and inspiration website for all writers. Stop staring at a blank screen and come to www.ideas4writers.co.uk for thousands of ready-made ideas, story-generating software, friendly forums, and a whole lot more.

Dave is also the author of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book and The Fastest Way to Get Ideas, and co-author of the Date-A-Base Book series which lists hundreds of forthcoming historic anniversaries for you to write about. For further details please visit www.ideas4writers.co.uk

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