Guerilla Marketing to Promote Your Book on the Web
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It used to be that promoting a product was an expensive undertaking, one that required excessive amounts of funds for television or radio advertising, or slightly less for publications of the paper variety. And promoting books, in particular, meant making deals with booksellers to get top placement in their stores.
Authors, of course, would have to go on multi-city tours of their home country and even the world in order to give interviews to television, radio, and newspaper/magazine reporters, as well as host signings. This was both an expensive and time-consuming process. But these days things have changed dramatically. Not only can writers publish and sell their own eBooks (or paper books) online; they can also promote them in a number of ways that are far less expensive or even free. Here are a few to try.
1. Build a contact list. Whether you get contacts through your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any number of other social networks, you can use the strength of numbers to promote your book. Post messages with excerpts to drum up interest, offer deals for followers, and encourage "friends" to become brand ambassadors, bringing more people on board to enjoy the same benefits of membership that they do, as well as hyping your book online and in real-world settings.
2. YouTube videos. Videos to promote books have become something of a sensation on YouTube, with offerings for books like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" topping the list for views. Some of these "trailers" have high enough production value to make it look like a movie is actually in the works, while others are student-project level. But it's an innovative and trendy way to promote your book (all you need is a video camera and a few willing friends). Although well-known and high-paid authors often do something similar for television, their ads tend to contain nothing more than some flashy graphic text and the author spouting one-liners. The YouTube versions are more like full-scale movie trailers.
3. Giveaways. While giving away your work for free might not sound very appealing, it is a good way to bring in new readers. So give away a few copies to loyal fans and offer freebies to the first, say 50 new members who sign up at a set time and date. You'll probably get hundreds of new accounts that will hopefully make up for the number you gave away and then some.
4. Contests. There's no better way to get people to give you contact information than to hold a contest. In the publishing arena there are many ways you could go with this. You could ask readers to provide potential names for an upcoming book (with a free copy and a mention in the book going to the winner). Or you could ask them to send in character sketches and then work the winning entry into a future project. You might even hold a contest for a couple of lucky readers to win a trip to join you at a book signing. There are so many possibilities and all of them should net you new readership.
5. Listen and respond. Communication studies have shown that the best way to keep a relationship going is to ensure open channels of dialogue. So when readers comment you need to make an effort to reply. This will endear your fans to you and keep them coming back for more, as well as encouraging them to talk you up to everyone they know.
Guest post by Sarah Danielson. Sarah is a writer for Communication Studies, http://www.communicationstudies.com/, the best resource for students, professors, and professionals. In her spare time she enjoys reading and she is currently writing a book on the joys of freelancing.
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com