More Sites For Marketing Your Books Online

Max Sindell of Red Room says:

Well I may be a little biased, but I came across this great resource and saw that you didn’t mention Red Room. We have thousands of authors including some of the greats like Salman Rushdie and Amy Tan, and an entirely free and elegantly designed site.

I apologize for the promotion, but it’s a seriously powerful tool for writers, and a great place for people who love books.

(Book Marketing Floozy says: no need to apologize, Max. All good leads are welcome.)

 

BiblioScribe.com provides a place where authors and publishers can still market their books in the same place that they can be purchased. BiblioScribe.com allows members to use free article and Press release tools that embeds their book as part of the article, and readers have the opportunity of locating and buying the subject book directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, as well as corresponding UK and Canadian online booksellers. Additionally, the Biblioscribe.com members’ public profile provides links to multiple books specified by the member, as well as the member’s own website. BiblioScribe membership is also free as well as an account on the BiblioScribe Blog.

(Book Marketing Floozy says: The BiblioScribe as was comment spam that got through the filters, but it seems worth checking out.)

 

Mark, a reader of this blog, says: The Young Writers Society and The Writers Society are both great websites too.

And Book Marketing Floozy found this great site: How to Market Your Writing and Books Online.

Feel free to post any other worthwhile links under comments.

The Most Important Word in Book Marketing

A small town near where I live does a big spread in the county newspaper every December with ads from all the stores under the headline, “Shop Locally.” A nice sentiment, but that’s all it is. Why? There is no “because.” The merchants give no one a reason to shop locally. If they said the prices were lower, the merchandise unique, the stores specially decorated, or even that the clerks were friendly, people would be more willing to spend their Christmas dollars in those places, but as it is, all the merchants are saying is “shop here” and nothing more.

“Because” is the most important word in marketing, and that goes for books, too. You tell your friend, “You have to read this book because . . .” Without a because, the plea to read is just that, an empty plea.

Nonfiction is easy. “You have to read this book because it tells you how you can get rid of that big lump on your neck without cutting off your head.” (Okay, a silly example, but you get the point.) Fiction is harder. Saying, “buy my book because it’s a romance like every other romance you’ve ever read only different,” might work. But what if you don’t have a romance?

Two of my novels are being released next month by Second Wind Publishing, and I’ve been trying to figure out the becauses.

Buy More Deaths Than One because . . .

Buy A Spark of Heavenly Fire because . . .

And that’s as far as I got. My books don’t easily fit into a genre, which is the type of book I like, but when it comes to selling them, it’s a drawback. So I have to look to the story to find the because.

More Deaths Than One: Bob Stark returns home after 18 years in Southeast Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. He attends her funeral and sees himself married to his college girlfriend. Is his other self a hoaxer or a doppelganger, or is something more sinister going on? Even worse, two men who appear to be government agents are hunting him for no reason that he can fathom. With the help of a Kerry Casillas, a baffling young woman Bob meets in a coffee shop, he uncovers the unimaginable truth.

A Spark of Heavenly Fire: In quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable disease called the red death, insomniac Kate Cummings struggles to find the courage to live and to love. Her new love, investigative reporter Greg Pullman, is determined to discover the truth behind the red death at all costs, until the cost – Kate’s safety – becomes more than he can pay.

The because is in there somewhere. I just have to find it.

Writer Cliff Burns Talks About Book Promotion

When I asked Cliff Burns, author of So Dark the Night, if he’d like to guest host my blog, he responded that he’d rather have a discussion. I was thrilled. I enjoy talking about writing, but even more than that, I love learning how other writers approach the craft. This is the book promotion part of the discussion.

BERTRAM: is possible to become an author people will read even without the “help” of corporate publishing?  

BURNS: I self-published my first book back in 1990 — it sold out its print run in less than 5 months and earned praise from various reviewers, as well as Governor-General Award-winning writer Timothy Findley. I started my blog, “Beautiful Desolation” 18 months ago and since then I have ceased submitting work to other venues — my work (including 2 novels) now goes directly to my blog and I’ve never been happier. Corporate publishing is dying, the profit margins aren’t big enough and soon the Big Boys will be dumping their publishing arms. The new technologies allow writers to have access to readers around the world — I only wish this stuff had been around ten years ago, it would have saved me a lot of frustration and fury. Kindle? E-books? POD? Why not? Anything that allows the writer to get a bigger slice of the pie is all right with me… 

BERTRAM: How did you promote your self-published book in 1990? What would you do differently today?

BURNS: That was my book Sex & Other Acts of the Imagination and a lot has changed since then. For one thing there are far fewer independent bookstore and those were the folks who sold the lion’s share of Sex. I took copies with me everywhere I went–Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto–approached every indie bookstore I could and sold them (usually on consignment). The vast majority of those book stores are gone now, sad to say. Sex cost $3000 to publish, my second collection, The Reality Machine, cost $6000 in 1997. Nowadays print-on-demand might save me some money–that’s something I’m looking into, likely using Lulu.com. Can’t quote you any price for that (as yet) but I’ll be using my blog and the vast reach of the internet to spread the word..

BERTRAM: Is there one website more than another that brings you readers? Any suggestions for authors just starting to promote?

BURNS: Hmmm . . . well, I try to reach out to sites that discuss writing and publishing and I have a RedRoom authors page. I comment on a lot of blogs, replying to posts that amuse or annoy me for one reason or another. My blog, Beautiful Desolation, is my primary promotional venue, to tell the truth. I’m also on LibraryThing, a place where bibliophiles can hang out and chat. They don’t encourage “blog-pimping” (a term I loathe, by the way), which is ridiculous because often I’ve written a lengthy post on “Beautiful Desolation” regarding a point under discussion. So I refer people to the post anyway and slap down anyone who dares accuse me of self-promotion.

BERTRAM:  It seems to me that this is one of the best times to try to peddle a book because of all the online resources, such as blogging and discussion forums. It also seems as if this is one of the worst times because of the hundreds of thousands of “writers” looking for readers. (Some of those so-called writers are barely literate.) I’m hoping that someone like me who is willing to do the work to promote can reap the rewards.

BURNS:  Yes, everyone can claim to be a writer these days and the new technologies allow people to publish their crap, regardless of the quality of their work. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff? I chose to publish on-line, I chose the “indie” life because I detest the notion of anyone having control or input re: my writing. Some folks who don’t like me would say I’m doing it my way because I’m not good enough for traditional publishing. I say the quality of the work wins out in the end and I’m willing to let readers decide if my work is worth reading. But the surfeit of bad writing on-line drags down the professional status and quality of craftsmanship of those of us who struggle mightily to compose good work. I implore potential readers to use their critical thinking skills and don’t lump us all together.

Writing Discussion with Cliff Burns — Part I

Writing Discussion with Cliff Burns — Part II

Writing Discussion with Cliff Burns — Part III

Writing Cover Copy and Book Bios

Reprinted from Dog Ear Publishing.

Well, it’s not exactly book “design” so to speak – but it is all part of your cover and the initial impression your reader will have about your book. It’s also the world’s smallest space for getting a potential reader to turn into a sold purchaser. You need to grab your target customer’s attention and MAKE THEM BUY… all in two paragraphs or less… and you thought writing your book was tough – creating less than 300 words of copy from a 100,000-word manuscript is difficult to say the least- there is so much you want to say!

On virtually every traditionally published book, the exciting and graceful words working their magic on the back covers of books weren’t written by the author, but by a copywriter. Like any creative endeavor, Copywriting is a skill and craft all unto itself. This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t be extremely successful writing your own back cover copy – it just presents it’s own unique challenges.

The words on the cover of your book are intended to offer a brief description of the book that will hook your reader into your story and motivate them to open the pages and buy your books. It is also a good area to highlight any reviews a book may have received, as well as promote you – the author.

First – Read the cover copy on other books in your genre.

Go to the bookstore or a library, pick up books in your genre, and read the cover copy. Take a friend so that you can ask them why they liked certain books. Compare the writing side by side on several books, watching how they build the case for each book – what information they reveal, and that which they keep hidden. You’ll see some books that really grab your attention (and ENGAGE you!) – write down the titles, what you think makes their cover copy successful, and how well the writing on the cover is representative of the impression about the book you get from looking at the cover. Now – think of ways to apply it to your own book. Pay attention to how few words really get to show up on the cover.

Second – Have a friend write a description of your book.

Tell your friend about your book – then have them read it. Get them to write a quick description of your book – highlighting elements within your book that they found most enjoyable. This may give you a new set of ideas about what is or is not important in your self published book.

Third – “KISS” – or Keep It Simple Silly – it’s about the quality, not quantity.

The best promotional and cover copy doesn’t cover every character, scene, plot twist, or feature of your book. Remember this – the goal of your promotional copy is to ENGAGE your reader, CREATE a desire to buy your book, and DELIVER a brief summary of your book. It’s about being descriptive without being all-inclusive and cumbersome, engaging but not exaggerated. Your cover text should complement your book – but never, ever over or understate what your book will do for the reader.

Fourth – Borrow from your own work.

Sometimes it can be very effective (not to mention efficient) to just use passages from within your book. If you’re having trouble cutting your epic novel down into a few brief paragraphs, then skim your manuscript looking for paragraphs to excerpt. Remember that this is most effectively used if you have strong content that can be taken out of context and still make sense. Place the passage in quotes and underneath the quote identify the passage as having come from your book.

Fifth – Got Reviews?

Someday you’ll have lot’s of great reviews – if you happen to have any of them at this point in your career, then by all means, put at least one of those reviews on your cover! Pull the most complimentary sentence or two from the review(s) and put them in quotes on the back cover (or front cover if you have room).

Sixth – Brag a little!

Readers are curious folks – and they want to hear about you as an author. For fiction or other more fanciful works, tell the reader a little about your background (especially parts that may be relevant to your story) and if you have published any other works. On the covers of nonfiction books – you need to establish yourself as an expert in your topic – list your success, affiliations, or even degrees if it’s important.

It will take some time to get your copy written – especially if this is your first time. A couple more suggestions – look at your work as impartially as possible, try to identify features that set your book apart, try to visualize how the copy will look on the jacket and back cover of your book, and last – keep it short.

Your promotional copy is meant to give the reader an emotional connection to you and your book – as well as motivate them to BUY it -don’t neglect this often overlooked (and so very important) communication tool for your book.

(reprinted from http://www.dogearpublishing.net)

Book Marketing on the Internet: Sites for Writers

A. F. Stewart is a writer of fantasy stories and poetry. Stewart has been writing for several years, periodically interrupted by those pesky events called life. Stewart has three published books: one volume of poetry, a short story collection and a non-fiction booklet about action movies. All are currently available at Lulu.com. Stewart graciously shares what she has learned about book marketing sites: 

A comparison of the three social sites I have joined (Squidoo is not included, because we all know it is just wonderful), and list the most useful aspects I’ve found:

1- MySpace:

THE GOOD:
-Lets you categorize both your page and your blog posts under a writing category.
-Comes with a blog that can be used for promotion or posting online writing, or both.
-Fairly easy to post links, banners, widgets and other promotional tools to your page.
-Excellent place to connect with other writers, editors, writing services, etc. Just beware of scams(that is a hazard on any social networking site).
-Easy to find new friends and contacts, and groups; their search is excellent.
-Easy to maintain, without annoyance.
THE BAD:
-Spam mail. My advice just delete it.
-Occasional glitches in the profile editor.
-They have had problems with profile hacking (although I have never had a problem)

2- Gather.com:

THE GOOD:
-Easy set up and has a nice profile page.
-Promotes publishing articles, pictures, videos, and your articles get on Google.
-Excellent network of authors, unpublished writers, and writers who are dabbling. You can give and get useful feedback and advice.
-Great place to establish a list of articles, and get a voice on the internet, or do a little shameless promotion.
-Great writing groups you can join.
THE BAD:
-sporadic glitches in the article editor, and in other features.
-occasional lack of interest in articles. My advice: Use the spotlight feature for your post.
-A limited help section.

3- Facebook:

THE GOOD:
-If you are an author you can (if fact should) create a fan page as well as your profile page. On the fan page you should post links to your books and sites, add widgets, and interact with your fans. You can also send out updates when you add to your fan page.
– Many writing groups to join, or create your own.
THE BAD:
-Annoying applications
-Not easy to find new friends, or preview profiles.
-Glitches galore
-Cannot realistically post articles or stories.

I also recommend joining Twitter, Stumble, and the bookmark site Del.icio.us.

SITES SPECIFICALLY FOR WRITERS: 

A list of websites designed to showcase authors and writers

Here is a list of good sites where writers and authors can publish profiles, samples of their work, and their books.

1- AuthorsDen :
An excellent place to put your author profile and post books; it gets you a link on Google.
Features both a free subscription and a paid upgraded subscription. The free subscription is limited, but not overly and the paid upgrade has three levels; the Bronze being quite reasonable at $40/yr.

2- WritersCafe.org: A wonderful site for writers to post their books, writing samples and their profile. They encourage feedback between their members, and it’s free to join.

3- WritersNet: It’s free to join, and you can post a profile and your books. The site also lists editors, agents, publishers and writing resources.

4- Nothing Binding: It’s free to join, and you get a personal profile page. There are also writer’s groups you can join, and media add-ons you can purchase.

5- Ebooks Cafe: It’s free to join. It allows you to post a short profile and your books to the site.

6- Self Publishers Place: A relatively new site where self published authors can post their book information. Free to use, and there is a writers discussion forum.

Review Sites 

A list of book review sites. Many list independently or small press published books, and some offer promotional or editing services.

Rebecca’s Reads
A book review and publicity service serving the reading audience, authors, publishers, publicists and buyers/sellers.
The Compulsive Reader
Reviews of books by some of the hottest writers working today, exclusive author interviews, literary news and criticism.
The Midwest Book Review
The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. The Midwest Book Review gives priority consideration to small press publishers, self-published authors, and academic presses.
The Muse Book Reviews
The Muse Book Reviews reviews a variety of books and accepts books from self-published authors, traditional or POD published authors.
Armchair Interviews
Features book reviews and author interviews, with helpful articles and links.
Bitten by Books
A site featuring paranormal fiction. Has reviews, interviews, contests, etc.
Welcome to Scribe & Quill ~ The site for all writers!
Writer’s resource that includes articles for writers, writing courses, book reviews and news and information for writers of all genres.
Reader Views
Book reviews of all genres. Also provide editing and publicity services, literary awards, contests and book giveaway.
New Mystery Reader Magazine
Introducing a new mystery magazine featuring information on new mystery releases. Includes mystery book reviews of new mystery releases, mystery short stories, and recommendations.
Road to Romance
Romantic and Women’s Fiction: For Readers and Writers of Romantic and Women’s Fiction Books
BookLoons
Your corner bookstore in the global village with book reviews across genres, columns and contests, and sections for teen books and children’s books. 

Book Marketing Tips From A. F. Stewart

A. F. Stewart is a writer of fantasy stories and poetry. Stewart has been writing for several years, periodically interrupted by those pesky events called life. Stewart has three published books: one volume of poetry, a short story collection and a non-fiction booklet about action movies. All are currently available at Lulu.com.

Here’s what Stewart has learned (the hard way):

A quick how-to guide on book marketing, for those who have no funds for professionals.

The Must Have Items:

1. A Website
2. A Press Kit (online and/or for mailing out)
3. A Media Kit for individual books
4. A Press Release

* A Website:

Find a webhost. There are free hosts out there, (Geocities and Bravenet, for instance, and of course Squidoo), as well as inexpensive ones. Just make sure they are reputable.

You will have to decide whether you are going to use CSS or HTML; either way it is a good idea to become familiar with both forms. (Just use Google, there are a lot of tutorials out there). I recommend CSS, it is more confusing to edit, but it gives a nicer website.
As for editing, it can be done in notepad.

Use a website template. It will make creating a website far easier. Some webhosts provide you with free templates, but there are other places to find them as well.

Meta tags. Use them: title, description, keywords. They can be useful for search engines, and they don’t hurt.

Add webtools. Whether you get from your webhost or another source, they are handy things. You can add a newsletter, forms (for surveys, contest entries, etc.), a guestbook, a message forum, polls.

Add your books to your site. Post pictures and weblinks so people can see and buy your books, or if you can, use a widget (Some publishers have widgets that link to your books). Also add any links to reviews or other sites that have your book info. Put book excerpts on your site, plus any book freebies such as brochures, flyers, media kits, etc. And list any future books; you never know who will be interested.

A link page. Now you can add one or not, but I’ve found a lot of free directories want a reciprocal link, and it makes it easier if your links are on one page. Also, you may wish to offer a link exchange with other writing sites, or other authors.

To see what I’ve done go here:
Afallon Website
Enter Afallon

* A Press Kit:

This is for promoting yourself as an author. You will need:

* A short Biography of yourself, written in the third person.
* A good quality photo of yourself. (Although I did use an icon in my online press kit.)
* A list of your books, with all their information and a good synopsis. Also including any good reviews won’t hurt.
* A list of any awards or accolades, if you have any.
* A list of your writer’s groups
* A contact list; email, websites. (If you are mailing a press kit, you may wish to include a phone number.)
* For an online press kit, add a link to your blog.
* Freebies such as flyers, brochures. (Hard copy for mailing , downloadable for the online kit). And if you are mailing your kits out, throw in a business card.

You can have a separate site for your online press kit, or simply make it a page of your website.

To see what I’ve done go here:
My Press Kit

* A Media Kit:

I use this as a press kit for each book. I include:

* A fancy cover page. A pretty design, with the name of the book, my name, the date and where I published.
* A cover sheet. It includes a short descriptive blurb about the book, and a list of the media kit’s contents.
* A photo of the book cover
* A fact sheet on the book. It includes a description of the book, the publisher, where it is available, the price and the product details. (such as copyright, page length, binding, etc.)
* Any book reviews
* An Excerpt from the book
* An sample author interview, in the form of a Q and A. (This is only for the online version.)
* The book’s press release

You can find my media kits on my website or at my online press kit.

* A Press Release:

I use the free online press release services like Sanepr and PRlog. You will need a press release for each book, and you can also send out releases for book events, the launch of your website, for winning awards, etc.

For a how-to on writing a press release go here:

Press release tips
OR
Write a proper press release

A Sell Sheet 

(also called a tip sheet)

A sell sheet is a cross between a flyer and a fact sheet. It is usually one page, designed to catch the eye and promote your product, in this case your book.
It can be used for promotion at events, sent to bookstores/libraries, or added to press kits.
It most often consists of:
The book title and book cover thumbnail
Book Facts
Book Synopsis
Reviews
Marketing strategy such as book tours, appearances, book signings, advertising, etc.
Contact and buying information
Author Biography

You can have your sell sheet designed for you, or you can attempt your own using Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. I recommend using Microsoft Office Powerpoint.

How To Advertise Yourself as an Author

A. F. Stewart is a writer of fantasy stories and poetry. Stewart has been writing for several years, periodically interrupted by those pesky events called life. Stewart has three published books: one volume of poetry, a short story collection and a non-fiction booklet about action movies. All are currently available at Lulu.com 

Here are Stewart’s free or cheap marketing wisdoms for marketing a book online:

1. Get a Website: An essential selling tool. You can sell your books directly from the site via links, or you can set up a store of your own. (It can be done, there are helpful sites that show you how).
There are plenty of free, or inexpensive hosting sites that you can use for your site. I went with Bravenet.com; you get some nice free website add-ons, such as hit counter, guestbook, email forms, etc. If you would like a look at my site here it is: Afallon Website

2. Get an Online Press Kit: You need to sell yourself and your book. This is an excellent way to do it. Create a bio, book list, post your reviews, press releases and any other promotional stuff.

3. Join the online social networking: Get your presence as an author out on the World Wide Web. Join Squidoo, MySpace, Facebook, Gather.com, AuthorsDen, or any other writing form that suits your needs.

4. Promotional freebies: It is not to difficult to create your own brochures or flyers, (using a program such as Powerpoint), that you can make available for a free download. And a definite must is a downloadable Media Kit for your book.

5. Book Trailer: You can get a professionally done book trailer, (if you look there are inexpensive options) or do your own. Windows Movie Maker can be use to make an interesting promo with some imagination.

6. Write Articles: Excellent way to spread your name as a writer. There are plenty of places to post them for free.

7. Get a Blog: Write your opinions, your experiences, post excerpts from your books, write online stories, whatever.

Trying to market your books, and make a name for yourself as an author can be tough, especially if you self-publish. And it can be expensive, if you listen to all the big marketing companies. They are loads of sites that try to sell you on their new and improved, breakthrough system, guaranteed to get you sales or bring traffic to your website. Maybe they can, but they usually cost hundreds of dollars.
So, I went looking for free advertising. And, yes you can find it, but you get what you pay for. I tried some of the free classifieds, the ads where you put code in your website, places where you can add banners, the advertising forums; basically a waste of time. Skip the freebie advertising.
Now for the free stuff that does seem to work.

Advertising your Website:

1. Put the URL in as many places as you can: on your blog, social networking sites, press releases, emails, media kits, website guestbooks, generally anything that goes public. And don’t forget to put it in your books.

2. Get in the search engines. Submit to Google, Yahoo, DMOZ, etc. Submit manually or use free search engine submission. Just keep in mind the free search engine submission sites also have pay versions and will try to sell you on those. Free bulk submission is easier, but I have found free manual submissions work better.

3. Get indexed by Google and Yahoo. You have to be indexed to use their helpful website monitoring tools.

4. Get Links. One useful way is link exchange. Link Market is an excellent free link exchange site, and you can pick and choose who goes on your site. And do not put just any link on your website, make sure they relate to your site in some way.

5. Submit your URL to free directories. You will have to this manually, but get it out there. Do a Search, and find those directories. There are several niche directories to which you can add your website.

6. Advertise your website with a free press release. Tell the world that you exist, and what you are all about. If you would like to see an example, my press release can be viewed here: Press Release

7. Hold a contest. I’ve created several contests and posted all on Grandma Jam’s Sweepstakes Guide to advertise. I got interest, and website traffic.
My Contest Page

8. Join webrings. Find rings that pertain to your website and join. It gets you on Google.

9. Join one of those online bookmark sites, and add your own website. I’ve joined del.icio.us and Stumble.

And if you have a special site, or preview page, for your book, make certain to list it in the directories and search engines as well. Also add to your online bookmarks.