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Thread: How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb

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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO Dweeb

    You've self-published a book that you are proud of, or your publisher is a small indie press without a sales staff or marketing department.

    You know that a lot of people buy books and review books and talk about books online, and you want to participate in the conversation, and maybe, sell some books.

    How do you do that?

    First, I'm assuming you have a smart, interesting, well-written and properly formatted book with a cover that isn't going to allow a buyer to ID the book as self-published from twenty paces, or just by looking at the image in your sig.

    Second, I'm assuming that you're willing to be honest, because you really do believe in your book. That means I'm going to assume you already know that buying your own book (and then returning it) from the Kindle store until your credit card vomits, or paying some half-wit to write a five-star review for five bucks is already something you've dismissed as stupid, unethical, and likely to make readers who figure it out (and they will) think that you're a degenerate idiot. Also, you probably already know that Display Sites (Or YADS) are a waste of your time and your putative readers' bandwidth. (Some display sites masquerade as "reviews" but if it's written by the author, it's not a review; it's just pointless promo that helps the site owner, but isn't going to garner you any readers, or buyers.)

    I'm also assuming that you have a Facebook page just for your book, you have Author accounts on Amazon, and GoodReads and LibraryThing. You have an email account for you as an author, bearing your author name, you Tweet, and you have a Website, preferably one that uses your own domain, a domain based on the name you use as an author. (This doesn't have to be fancy, or expensive; it has to be readable, it has to use permalinks, and you can easily do this with free Blogger or Wordpress.com accounts to point to your domain.)

    On your Website, you have an About page, with a brief bio. The bio will include a link to your page about your book[s] with links to various purchasing options, and to reviews. You can include telling pullquotes and link to the full review. You do NOT copy a review without permission, and you always link back to the source. You have a Contact page with an email address that you alter slightly, say by using AT instead of @ to reduce the deluge of spam.

    You have a specific invitation for book reviewers to contact you for a review copy on your Contact page. (You don't just email back the file; you politely look at their reviews and what they review, and then you decide if it makes sense or not.) You are never rude or snotty; if you think you and a particular review site aren't a good fit (you've written a cookbook, and it's a site abou Harleys, you have a queer main character and they're charter members of NOMA, etc.) you politely thank them for their interest but indicate that you think you're not a good fit, or--you may simply decide to ignore the request if you can see no courteous way to disengage.

    Here's how to engage in effective promotion:

    First: Participate in the conversation. That means it's not about you and your book. It's about books, and readers. That means you talk about other people's books you love and why, and you engage with people who write books you've read and loved, and with other readers.

    You comment on their blogs. You don't constantly bring up your own book, but you make genuine, thoughtful, engaged comments. Your comments use the name you write under as your ID, and in the URL field you link to your Web site.

    You post honest, engaging, and genuine reviews of books you like on Amazon, and GoodReads and Library Thing. You don't slam other people's books, but you don't always create 5 star reviews. You are not mean-spirited, but you are always honest. Your profiles connect to your author Website.

    Second: You do not engage in the Author's Big Mistake.

    • You Never Ever Comment On a Review of your Own Books at ALL Ever in public.
    • You Never Ever Review Your Own Books Ever At All Under ANY Name or Account Or Sock Puppet. Ever.
    • You Do Not Engage With Reviewers of Your Books or Trolls
    • You DO offer book giveaways on your blog, on the blogs of those who review similar books, and you do politely email reviewers and offer them a free copy if they'd be interested in reviewing.


    1. You post on your own blog about new releases, or issues with plot or character or research you're working on, or thoughtful reviews of other people's books, or writing techniques you have found helpful. You link to other writers' and readers' posts in your posts when that's appropriate. You email people who you think have said something fabulous, and ask permission to link, or to let them know you've posted about what a super thing they wrote.
    2. You have a sig on your email that links to your Web site. You Do Not send a cover image of your book, or list its title in your sig. Your sig has your name and your Website, and possibly, your Twitter account.
    3. You may post a snippet of your blog posts on your Facebook, and other pages. You may Tweet a link. You do not splatter the Internet with the same content on every single venue.
    4. You're participating in a conversation in order to find readers, and to converse with people who share your interests in books and writing.

    You're not constantly selling your book, or making forum posts or blog comments just to market your book.

    People, because we are curious monkeys, will click your link to see "who is this?"

    But by engaging honestly, and creating conversation and community, you will have readers, and some will buy your book. And if they like it, they will blog about, or post reviews, or tweet about it.

    And thus more people will find your book.

    And if it's a good book, they will read it and find things to like.

    And they too will participate in the conversation.
    Last edited by AW Admin; 07-15-2016 at 12:26 AM.

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