Stefanie Hartman In The Press

It’s who you know for your book promotion

Posted on 08 September 2011 by Stefanie

Here is the second great installment I found on book tours, from a company that is closing their doors soon, so I thought I would pass it on to you guys!

There was a study by Microsoft on their IM service and it proved that we really are closer to people than we realize. In this article Kevin talks about asking people for help. I agree with him especially if you make people feel included in the excitement and they begin to have a vested interest in your book doing well, After all this is an exciting time. Ask all your friends, family, neighbors for a favor. Don’t forget you do the exercise at the end. Enjoy.

All the best,
Stefanie

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Book Promotion: It’s Who You Know

In our last segment, we talked about how you, the author, must develop an airtight answer to the first question anyone you meet on the book promotion trail will ask you:

“Tell me about your book.”

In this segment, we’re going to discuss whom will be doing the asking. If book promotion is an act of matchmaking your book to the right readers, today’s segment is about how to find those “right readers.” The answer, you’ll see, is a lot closer to home than you think.

Everyone knows somebody. And by “somebody” I don’t mean Oprah or John Stewart or the Bestseller Fairy. I mean the circles of humanity we all have in our lives. Those circles are the first 75-100 readers of your book. They have the potential to be much greater if you ask them to be then work with them to make it happen

As an author who spends much of their time at the keyboard or in their imagination, it may not seem like your world is teeming with allies. But it is. Try this.

Make a list of:

  • Your friends and family members, the ones who will say “I’ll buy that” when you tell them you’ve got a book.
  • Your colleagues at work. Same criteria.
  • Anyone you are friendly with via your kids. Again, same criteria.
  • Friendly faces through hobbies and community work—at the ski club, dance class, church, neighborhood association.
  • Old friends from childhood, high school, or college.
  • Anyone you talk with regularly via social media (Facebook, Twitter or the like).

Unless you’re a hermit or just not very nice (I’m afraid I can’t help you there), you’ve probably got a good list of several dozen names. These names are where you begin.

Let’s take another look at that list and ask these questions.

  • Who on this list works for or knows someone well at the local media (newspaper, TV, radio)?
  • Who leads a social group (book group, synagogue committee, monthly dinner with friends) or professional association that would like to have an author as the meeting’s entertainment?
  • Who on this list has a blog, an active and well-read Twitter feed, runs an email mailing list, or has more than 300 friends on Facebook?
  • Who is a natural-born host who would love to throw you a book party?
  • Who knows someone in another part of the country whom would do any of these things for you as well?

Separate out that smaller list. Three months before your book becomes available, get in touch. Thank them for their support, their friendship. Tell them you’ve spend a goodly part of the last year or two writing this book and it means the world to you. It would mean the world all over again if you could enlist their help in matchmaking your book with the right readers via one of the means described above—if they could talk about/recommend your book in a way that’s comfortable to them.

You’re not asking List A to spam or make nuisances of themselves on behalf of your book. You’re asking to speak with sincerity and an open heart about the creative project of someone they like—you. Handled with honesty and grace, no one will hold it against them.

Those who don’t make the cut should get a separate email after the book comes out asking them to buy it. Because it would mean the world to you. And remember what we learned in the last segment about talking about your book. Succinct, precise, but leave a little to the imagination

Book promotion is a block party. If you’re lucky, the party is thrown by someone else (the New York Times, your well-paid publicist, Oprah) and you just show up. You don’t even have to bring potato salad. But that’s simply not the case for most writers, and everyone knows that. Which is why most publishers, publicists, booksellers and members of the media will be most impressed by the effort you put in yourself, by your willingness to bring what you have to the party, or to throw it yourself.

I know perhaps you are shy and it’s no fun to ask for favors. This is the time to get over it. If you can’t ask the people closest to you to invest in your book, how do you expect complete strangers to invest their time and money in reading it?

Why do this? Because effort breeds effort and work begets work. You want readers. You have to begin with the most obvious candidates. Starting there means a) at least you have someone interested in your book, and b) the more excited you can get those readers (who know you and are predisposed to support your efforts) about being part of the block party that is the promotion of your book, the more likely they’ll be to invite others.

An author friend of ours once spoke to 175 book clubs over a year’s worth of promotion for his second novel. Why, I asked, when he had a wife, two young children and a day job as a professor, not to mention writing a third book, to return to?

“I wanted to be the one responsible for my book’s success or failure. I figured as long as I kept the water running, the bathtub would eventually fill up. If it didn’t, it wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine.”

Exercise:  Make a list of everyone in your life who wishes you and your writing career well. Separate that list into two groups:

  • Group A, those that know someone, head up a group or would be willing to help in a larger way; and
  • Group B, those you just want to buy the book.

BookTour.com launched a ten-part series on Book Promotion called “Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask” written by CEO Kevin Smokler. Kevin has been advising authors and publishers on marketing and promotion for nearly a decade and has written and lectured on the topic throughout North America.

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Its who you know for your book promotion

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Richard Walters Says:

    Very helpful practical advise. In a sense I have been working on my book 16 Minute Body Sculpting Kit all my life, and it does mean the world to me. Thank you!

    Stefanie Reply:

    Congratulations Richard on your book! There are some great new installments that will come up in this series that you will enjoy and that will help you on your promotions. I’ll also give some tips and advice.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. On Publication Day, Feel Big, Start Small - Hart of Success Says:

    [...] promoting your new book. You have the tools now–how to summarize your book in a sentence, how to start building groups of allies and supporters. Your vision is optimized as that of a thoughtful, grateful, organized author, [...]

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