If you’ve done the book launch, press releases, newspaper interviews, library talks, store signings, school visits, etc, and you’re wondering what to do next, then you might like to try promoting your book online.
There are millions of websites and blogs aimed at book readers, writers, teachers, children, teenagers, and so on. And there will be hundreds (perhaps thousands) more that cater for each of the subjects and issues covered in your book.
You can think of each of these websites and blogs as a “virtual venue” where you can promote your book.
There are two main ways of doing this:
1. Interview: the owner of the website or blog (or one of their staff) emails you a set of questions and you email back your responses. Their questions and your (possibly edited) answers are then posted on their website. They might also include it, or promote it, in their newsletter or ezine if they have one, or invite their subscribers to submit questions for you.
2. Articles: you arrange to write one or more short articles, which will be published on their website, or in their newsletter or ezine.
At the end of each interview or article you can mention your book and where to buy it. That’s your payback. You shouldn’t expect any payment for the interview or article itself – you’re doing it for the publicity not the money.
Start by making a list of all the things your book covers – the main subject, sub-topics, locations, issues, angles, and so on. Also list the things that you researched while writing the book, even if they didn’t make it into the final text. And there will be other topics that you now have some inside knowledge of – writing books, finding an agent or publisher, perhaps self-publishing, finding and working with a cover artist, giving talks, book signings, and so on. You’ll probably be surprised at just how big your final list is.
There will be a staggering number of websites and blogs that cover each of these topics. And many of these virtual venues will be looking for new material. So use your favorite search engine to search for each topic on your list.
You’ll probably end up with millions of results for each topic. Look at the first page or two of results and choose a few websites that seem to be the most relevant. Then approach the site owners by email to see if they’d like to interview you or have you write an article for them on a topic that’s relevant to their site.
Keep a record of the sites you’ve approached and their response (if any). If some of the bigger sites don’t respond, try again a week or two later, and maybe again a week or two after that. You might even consider contacting them by phone or post rather than email. Don’t give up on those big sites until they give you a definite “Yes” or “No” – because they probably get thousands of visitors. Imagine a book signing event in the real world where thousands of people turned up! You don’t want an opportunity like that to slip away just because the site owner was busy and ignored your email.
There are several big advantages to online book promotion, compared to attending promotional events in the real world:
1. There’s no traveling – this will save you huge amounts of time and money.
2. You’ll never run out of venues – just move on to the next page of search results or try the next topic on your list.
3. You can cover multiple venues in one day.
4. You can cover a much wider area – the whole world in fact.
5. Even the smallest online venue will usually have a much larger audience than a single book signing event in the real world.
6. Your article or interview will usually remain online and go on generating sales for years afterward.
7. You don’t have to have a great speaking voice or be able to come up with instant responses.
Once you’ve done a few of these articles or interviews it will get much easier as you can keep recycling the same basic responses and ideas, with just a few tweaks as necessary.
But just as no two talks or interviews in the real world are ever exactly the same, you should aim to make every online event slightly different too. Try to tailor what you say to suit each site’s style and readership. It will take a little time to do each one properly, but think about how much time you’d spend on such an event (preparing, traveling and presenting it) in the real world. You’ll be able to do the online event in a fraction of that time, and probably achieve significantly better results – without ever leaving your desk.