WMBTSD Giveaway Day Twenty-One: September 21, 2007

Welcome back to the Writer Mama Back-to-School Daily Giveaway! We are in the home stretch–the last ten days!

Today’s giveaway is…

Plug Your BookSeptember 21st: Plug Your Book: Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber (Weber Books 2007).

Steve Weber’s concise and easy-to-digest book was the one that finally explained to me how Amazon works from a author’s point of view. Naturally this is important information if you are or are thinking about becoming an author. Let’s hear more:

Plug Your Book! teaches authors how to use low-cost, effective methods to publicize their books online. It explains how and why to start a blog, join MySpace, and use other Web 2.0 tools to find and build your readership.

Here’s what two experts have to say about Plug Your Book:

“A wealth of ideas for making your book stand out, including many techniques for Internet buzz you won’t find elsewhere.” — Jane Corn, Amazon.com Top Reviewer

“I spent two years building up skills to market my books “Earthcore” and “Ancestor” online, and I can tell you right now that “Plug Your Book!” would have saved me MONTHS of time. I bought this book just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, but it blew me away.” — Scott Sigler, # 1 bestselling author

Here’s a bit about the author:

Steve Weber is a former newspaper reporter and is currently an author and online dealer of new, used and collectible books. His books include “The Home-Based Bookstore,” “Plug Your Book,” and “Plug Your Business.”

He publishes two blogs: Selling Books ( http://www.weberbooks.com/selling/selling.htm) and Plug Your Book! (http://www.weberbooks.com/publish.htm).

Imagine you have a newly published book. Based on what you already know about book promotion, what are the top three things that you would do to make sure your potential readers hear about and buy your book? (Be creative! Offer ideas you’ve used, if you are an author, or that have compelled you to buy a book!)


27 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Twenty-One: September 21, 2007”

  1. 1 Kate September 21, 2007 at 2:29 am

    Naturally, I would host a book giveaway on my blog. I would make notes on my facebook page and make sure all the Amazon options like “search inside” are switched on. I would also sign up for a google alert for my name and the book title. Then, I’ll know where to head if the book is discussed and interact immediately with the author of the article/blog entry and any comments.

  2. 2 Andrea McMann September 21, 2007 at 4:46 am

    My first order of business would happen before the book went into print. Maybe I’m shallow, but I really do judge a book by it’s cover…to a certain extent. I would make sure that my book had something on its cover that was eye-catching, maybe a brightly colored spine, or bold, unique print, and the cover art would need to reach out and grab potential buyers also.

    My second method for marketing would have to be the internet. It’s amazing how many people you can reach using the internet, and people from all over the world.

    My third method is kind of two-pronged. I have a huge, wonderful family, and they would be happy to build interest in my book through word-of-mouth. Also, I’m from Nebraska, and Nebraskans are very supportive of each other. I think I’d try to be featured in as many newspapers as possible talking about my magazine.

  3. 3 Cheryl Rainfield September 21, 2007 at 5:02 am

    The top three things I would do to make sure potential readers hear about my book are:

    -create a website and blog that hopefully has a readership that will tie in to my book, offer lots of content, and then announce the book. Probably also show the cover of the book on multiple pages–easy to do in a blog. Get relevant links.

    -get the book reviewed by some online reviewers.

    -hold a contest and give away some free copies of the book.

    -make sure the book info–just the basics, so it’s not too long–is in my email signature.

    -maybe pay someone to create a book trailer.

    Okay, so that’s four. I think all those things are important. Less important seem to be bookmarks, postcards, etc. I’m not sure if they actually help anything, but I’d offer to mail them out for free to anyone who wants them, and I would also tuck them into any snail mail correspondence, paying bills, etc that I have (that one’s from a book on book promotion that I read, though I can’t remember which one).

  4. 4 Tricia Grissom September 21, 2007 at 6:30 am

    My steps would be pretty routine. I probably need the book.

    1. M&M’s printed with my book title and website. But I’d probably eat them all before they got passed out.

    2. Emails to everyone I know. But some of these people haven’t heard from me in 5 years.

    3. Get blogs to interview me about the book. Of course, not sure what blogs. And introvert me hates asking for stuff. Whew. This could be hard.

    I’d probably check out the Shrinking Violet Promotions blog – tips for introvert marketing. They actually allow you to be an introvert and still market!

  5. 5 Mary Jo C. September 21, 2007 at 6:43 am

    Well, with a marketing background I’m aware of the basics needed to identify your market, get the word out, make connections and create a PR firm within your public and fans.
    1. Create a blog to start with, and gather as many email addresses as possible thru writers groups, book study groups, universities, booksellers and links from other respected authors sites. Then email each a blurb or a chapter from my novel, offer a contest to win a free autographed copy AND a very special antique tribal item which is prominent in the novel. My blog would also have links to the geographic locations used as the settings for the book for in-depth cultural reading.
    2. Contact local publications and radio stations: offer interviews, write up my own press release, attend as many open mic nights as possible to create a buzz and give perspective buys a taste of my book, literally I would serve some of the recipes mentioned in the story.
    3. Utilize my network of fellow writers to recommend my book to their network of friends and family and co-workers, or to blog an excerpt of my book on their site. And email everyone in my address book that I am PUBLISHED!

  6. 6 Heather Haapoja September 21, 2007 at 7:18 am

    1. Set up a professional website. I actually did publish a children’s e-book a few years ago and had a website set up to sell it, but it became cost prohibitive to keep paying for the site when I wasn’t making many sales. Now my homepage is at a free site, but all those ads and pop-ups tend to chase people away. I have yet to get my e-book page set up there. I’m just not inspired. :oP

    2. Start a newsletter on a topic relating to the book. I did this with my e-book as well, writing a monthly children’s literacy e-zine called, “Kids Need to Read.” I’d also submit articles to publications with the same target market, promoting my book within the article and/or in my byline.

    3. The popularity of blogs is new since I was trying to sell my book, so that’s a tool I’ve yet to use. I’d definitely set up a blog – and maybe hold a contest! (Though I hadn’t heard about Mama Writer before this contest, I’m VERY compelled to buy it now! lol)

    I look forward to seeing everyone’s answers, and I’d love to read this book and get some new ideas!

  7. 7 Amanda Hyatt September 21, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Surely there can be no better way to plug your book on-line than with a fantastic website like Writer Mama – and linked to as many writer’s websites as you can find! A great front page with a synopsis of your book and – well, why not a few give-aways? Or a daily quiz (first correct answer each day gets a copy)? Depends how many you can afford to give away but if each one gets a new reader and their family, friends, universal contacts …

    Get that book title and link to online buying onto a very visible signature to all your emails!

    Many writing websites have ‘reading groups’. Why not ask the websites to choose your book next month – and review it on-line, of course. Are you brave enough? lol Why, of course you are. After all, YOU’VE BEEN PUBLISHED! Now it’s time to make it a best-seller. Believe in yourself.

  8. 8 marnini September 21, 2007 at 8:12 am

    I of course would showcase it on my blog. Maybe I would even do a giveaway. In a similiar way of what you are doing. Whoever commented regarding the book would be automatically put into a drawing to win the book

    2nd-This year I participated in the Vagina Monologues. I sat right next to our Local Radio Show host (she is well known throughout our area) her and her sidekick both participated (Men were in it this year too) We bonded a bit so I would probably call her station and see if there was something she could do or say on her show to help me out. I also exchanged e-mails with one of the news anchors(who also participated). So, I probably would contact her to see if they were willing to do a small piece.

    3rd-I would of course ask the Writer Mama to give my book a shout out on her blog. You would do that right:):):):)

  9. 9 Cath September 21, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Wow-I wish this question had come up a week ago. When I sent out my first manuscript to a kid’s publisher, they asked for my marketing strategy. Ummmmm, marketing strategy? That sounded very business-y. And the two business classes I was required to take in college didn’t go so well. Now that I see all these great ideas, I don’t think my marketing strategy went so well.

    Anyway, I write a column on-line and in several print venues and naturally, I’d promote my book through those columns. I believe that’s what they call a “platform.” Though I could be wrong.

    I kinda need this book. I may have to break down and (gulp) actually buy it.

  10. 10 Stephanie September 21, 2007 at 8:35 am

    What I am doing to promote my book, which is about to make the NY Times Best Seller list: (we’re imagining, right?) 🙂

    1. Create a professional blog and website that is attractive, easily accessible, and helpful to my audience.

    2. Offer a menu of topics and speak at at a wide variety of events – church conferences, school assemblies, rotary clubs, etc.

    3. Be interviewed on Oprah, of course!

  11. 11 Melissa September 21, 2007 at 9:21 am

    There are so many great online promotion ideas out there. Where to start?
    1. I’d definitely do a blog book tour of parenting blogs, since that’s my audience.
    2. I’d also be as generous as possible with online book giveaways, either from my own site or by sending giveaway copies along with review copies to bloggers (or both!)– I know when I get something free, I tend to mention it to everyone around me for a while.
    3. Well, of course I’d promote through my other online writing, but that kind of goes without saying, so it’s not a very exciting #3. Though I guess it’s sort of guaranteed to reach my audience, so there is that. A more exciting #3 might be to get a brilliant endorsement from a well-known figure in the same arena, but how likely is that? Hmmm…

  12. 12 Besu September 21, 2007 at 9:31 am

    My ideas for book promotion:

    1) Participation on Amazon, B&N, and any other major book sites online. I know Amazon has a blogging feature for authors, which I think is a great way to tell someone about current projects. Several years ago, I was actually emailed by an author after I left comments about their book on Amazon! Fortunately, they were positive comments. I think reaching out to readers like that is a great idea, and now I never want to get rid of that book because “I was emailed by the author.”

    2) Expanding my blog presence. I’ve had a blog on LiveJournal since 2001, but it’s mostly friends-only and is my place to rant about everything. For book promotion, I would need to use my real name and establish a “professional” blog presence on places like Face Book or MySpace.

    3) Web site. I’ve had web sites since 1996; HTML doesn’t come naturally, but I can make a decent site. I could use my current site and domain host to make a new page using my real name.

    I’m not a gifted speaker, but give me a keyboard and I can talk.

  13. 13 Mrs. Jones September 21, 2007 at 10:23 am

    With a background in sales, I’m not shy about getting to the end buyer. If I ever waited for the phone to ring, my kids and I would be eating Top Ramen for a month. That being said, I think I’d attack the “buzz” about my book with the same mind set.

    First, I’d start cheap, easy and fun. Viral Marketing could be an interesting approach. It would be worth a test, at least. Something like a Cubicle Dance type video on YouTube.

    At the same time, I think doing some local interviews and charity events targeting the audience itself. Example: Teens. I’d go to high schools for interviews in place of their regular English class. Hopefully, they’ve already seen your funny cubicle dance and share it on their MySpace or Facebook.

    Print material: Maybe a slick square shaped non-ad that piques interest (a question? a statement? a quote?) and gets the holder of the card to go to the blog. Where to put those cards? Bookstores everywhere. Pull out the list of people you know and start calling.

    Blogs and Spaces are good, but with so many out there, I’d definitely pay someone to SEO it.

    And then buy some Top Ramen just in case.

  14. 14 Cyndi Pratt September 21, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I really do need to get the book.
    However, I think some basics would be:
    1. website
    2. blog
    3. bookstore signing
    4. newsletter
    5. take copies everywhere I go
    6. Related articles in magazines

  15. 15 Tammy September 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Network, network, network. There’s a great book called “The Tipping Point” that goes into what it really takes to get the word out about something. It has to do with “word of mouth”, but it’s probably not what you think.

    For my niche, getting out and meeting people is essential.

    Getting involved in online networks where my niche hangs out.

    There’s so much more. I follow the people. Where they are, I go.

    So far it’s working. But then, I saw some really good ideas here too, so there’s always more to do. The question is, how many can I do for free and with three children in tow?

  16. 16 Kelli September 21, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Based on what you already know about book promotion, what are the top three things that you would do to make sure your potential readers hear about and buy your book?

    Real World–

    1) Email friends, family, and anyone on my contact or mailing list!

    2) Create postcards and send them out

    3) Set up website with information about the book

    Fantasy World

    1) Talk about book on my own television show called BookCrazy, the show for people who love to read (also give free books to audience members)

    2) Hire sky-writer

    3) Create a line of clothing & accessories based on book’s cover which would be sold at Nordstrom. Free book with purchase.

  17. 17 Rose September 21, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I think a good marketing campaign is an extension of the book itself and not necessarily the author. Successful marketing mirrors the product’s feel and focus (think iPod). So first I would decide on the feel of the marketing campaign. Is it classy? Is it gritty? Is it Disney? If I were this book where would I go? Who would be attracted to me? What would I wear on a blind date? A good example of a promotional website that matches the feel of the book is Ami McKay’s The Birth House http://www.thebirthhouse.com/novelties.htm

    Then (as a designer) I would make sure that everything about the design of the book would match the content and appeal to the target audience. Writer Mama is a good example of this. The bright high-contrast color scheme (yellow, hot pink, white, black, teal and gold- at least on my copy) were enough to catch my attention even in a sleep deprived state. It’s hand sized and perfect for wedging between the flotsam and jetsam of a diaper bag. Short chapters with lots of sidebars and boxes gave me hope that I could read it in unpredictable snatches of time. The feel of the typesetting and design is upbeat and empowering.

    Then I would get out there, wherever the book would ask me to go. Whether it’s Nascar or NPR or a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My book would probably tell me to go to the moon – just so that it could get away from me for awhile.

  18. 18 Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings September 21, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    I am not a published author. The following suggestions are from a readers’ viewpoint.

    My top three ideas for promoting a book are:

    1. Participate in online reviews. Whether it is with blog reviews, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. This gets your book recognition. I want to delve into one type of those reviews. Blog Tours. As someone who participates in Blog Tours, it’s my opinion that this is a great way to get your book out there. These bloggers will either post a standard blurb about the book or will post their own review of your book, sometimes both. Many times, the publisher and/or author will provide a book for a certain number of these bloggers. By providing a book, you are enabling that blogger to fully read and review your book.

    2. Interaction with your readers. If you decide to go with a blog tour to promote your book. Consider allow this group of bloggers to email you with interview questions. Comment on their blog. Email them to thank them for helping promote your book. Offer an autographed book as a giveaway on a few of the blogs.

    3. Create an author’s blog or website of your own. Personally, I am more apt to visit someone’s blog and read current postings than to visit a stale website that seems to have no life behind it. Bloggers are getting recognition and it’s just makes sense that as an author, you would want to tap into this phenomenon. Post tantalizing snippets from books. Hold giveaways. Post your calendar of events as it pertains to your book signing schedule. Pique your readers’ interests with upcoming releases.

  19. 19 Audra September 21, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I’d definitely have to imagine since I haven’t even finished my first WIP.

    The first thing I’d do is a month long blog tour promoting my book with giveaways and fun interviews/guest posts.

    Second, I’d whip up something fun related to my book and present it with a free copy of my book to the local bookstores and libraries. The staff would share the goodies and the book and hopefully be encouraged to order more copies for their shelves.

    Third, I have no idea lol. I’d probably have my family and friends help promote the book by word of mouth and by donating copies to their libraries and bookstores.

    I think the very first thing I would do is read some marketing books (like the one I’m hoping to win in today’s giveaway) and ask other authors what they’ve done to promote theirs.

    Of course, I need to finish my WIP first.

  20. 20 Karrie September 21, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I have glanced through all of your wonderful ideas so, of course, I would read them again for inspiration. The only thing I would try that I haven’t seen is a myspace or facebook plug. The younger people I know are so connected through that. The older set is bound to get word.

    I suppose I could also create a YouTube video. You laugh but if the odd things there can gain people fame, why not give it a shot?

    It’s fascinating to think of all the pieces of writing that I had never considered before. It used to overwhelm me but this blog giveaway is helping me to get a grip. I still want the book but even if I never win a thing (she said with a tinge of sadness) I think I’ve gained just from playing along.

  21. 21 Jennifer Applin September 21, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Off the top of my head:
    1. I’d start a book specific website and blog. I’d do my best to offer something to those readers that compliments the book, yet doesn’t take away from it.
    2. I’d do everything I could to get my book on as many blog tours as possible, participate in blog giveaways and get many momma bloggers to review it.
    3. I’d try to establish myself as an “expert” on that topic and get quoted in articles.

    Now I just need to get started on that proposal 🙂

  22. 22 Laura September 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Honestly, this is part of the publishing world I know very little about. If I don’t win this book, I will be checking it out at my favorite bookstore, and buying it.

    What I do know about getting the word out about my book:

    Mention it on my blog. Repeatedly. As often and in as many ways as possible.

    Tell everyone I know, and ask them to tell everyone they know.

    Email everyone I know, and ask them to email everyone they know.

    Borrow the idea from this blog, and host a giveaway, of my book.

    See if the one writer I know from my local newspaper would write a ‘local interest’ story about me and my book.

    Buy today’s featured book and read it for other ideas on how to promote my book.

  23. 23 Zen Writer September 21, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    First, I would build my web prescence – website, blog, reciprocal links, banner ads.

    Second, I’d employ a direct marketing campaign for those in my demographic, ie. local restaurants and schools if I’ve written a cookbook.

    Third, I’d book myself as a speaker for local related programs.

  24. 24 writer_tab September 21, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I write picture books, so my online promotion would probably center on my (future) website and be geared toward kids, parents, teachers and librarians.

    1. For kids, fun games and activities that tie to the book.
    2. A guide for teachers to utilize the book in their classroom.
    3. Ummmm…I so need to read this book!

  25. 25 Susan Flemming September 21, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    1. Well in advance, set up a website and blog. Maximize both to obtain top ranking in the search engines. I am also working on articles that relate to my book. Just as an example, my female main character is a healer so I’m working on an article discussing herbs used in healing.

    2. A few months prior to release date, I plan to change my current homepage to a page featuring the title of my book with links to the first three chapters. (a new chapter posted every week or so)

    Anne Frasier did this with her book called Pale Immortal. I don’t usually read dark suspense, but after reading the first two chapters on the Pale Immortal blog she created, I was hooked.

    3. Recruit friends, family, fellow writers, anyone who’s willing… to help promote the book and get the word out, both on-line and off.

  26. 26 Shonna September 21, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Marketing plans for my imaginary “published” children’s book would be aimed at the target audience (children) and those who buy the books for the target audience (parents, grandparents, librarians, teachers).

    1. Classroom and library visits.

    2. Website with a game that keeps them coming back! (Lo-lo-budget version of webkinz??)

    3. Literacy articles in parenting mags.

  27. 27 Darren Lipman September 21, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    The first thing I would do is send copies to all my friends and relatives. Not only have most been hounding me with complaints that I’ve not yet given them a sample, they would likely all be willing to spread the word and tell their friends and coworkers all about it. Though many might not know this, Harry Potter caught on largely because of word-of-mouth between booksellers.

    Next, I’d talk with local bookstores and schedule book readings and signings. One particular local bookstore already has such things monthly for local authors, and although the turnout is rarely enormous, getting the word out would drive its sales forward no matter how few came. For the sake of covering all options, I’d also contact library book clubs to see if they’d want to feature my book at all.

    Lastly, I’d put to use all the tips I’d have gotten from “Plug Your Book!,” which by that time I’d have already bought, or won.

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