Connect with Others to Promote Your Book

March is National Small Press Month, which celebrates small publishers and showcases the unique voices of the authors who choose them. This makes March the perfect time to promote your self-published book! To help you take advantage of this, I am offering promotion advice and ideas on the blog every Monday this month. Be sure to check out the previous posts: Why March is the Best Time to Promote Your Self-Published Book, 10 Ways to Promote Your Self-Published Book in March, and Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Self-Publishing.

This week I’ll share an easy way to connect with others and promote yourself and your work — blog comments.

1. Find blogs.

Find blogs by fellow small press author, other people in the publishing industry, and people interested in the topic of your book.

2. Read the blog.

Read several posts to get a feel for the author and his or her readers. Never comment on a post without reading the entire post! You can’t contribute to the conversation if you don’t fully understand what the conversation is about.

3. Position yourself as an expert.

This gives people a reason to take interest in your comment. Just be careful not to act like a know-it-all. No one likes that person.

4. Be professional at all times.

Disagreeing is okay, but always be respectful about it. It’s okay for other people to have a different opinion.

5. Add value.

Make sure your comment adds value to the conversation. Simply commenting things like “Thank you” or “Nice post” don’t add value.

6. Be brief.

Now is not the time to write a novel. Keep your comments short and to the point.

7. Include a link.

This is key! Always include a link to your website or blog. If you don’t, you are wasting your time. The link is how you will promote yourself and your work and allows people who were interested in your comment to contact you.

8. Fill in all fields appropriately.

Each blog will most likely have an area where you can enter your name, email (most likely not published), URL, text of your comment, etc. Don’t change up the order on this. For instance, you shouldn’t add your website address to the comment box; it should only be placed in the URL field.

9. Share the love.

Mention someone else’s book/blog/website where appropriate. All of your comments should not be “pushing” your book. Vary your comments. Others will have more respect for you and know that when you mention your book or website, you are making an appropriate reference.

10. Never SPAM!

Write your own comments, keep them relevant, and stay away from any questionable “blog commenting” services. A good rule of thumb is — if you would be ashamed to call the blog owner and let them know what you’ve done, you shouldn’t do it.

Check back next week for more promotion ideas.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 25 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Top 5 Tips for Blogging Success and Why Blogging and Self-Publishing Go Hand in Hand

Imagine being looked to as an expert in your field. Everyone will want a copy of your book when it’s published, right? If only it were that easy…well, now it can be! As a blogger, you can potentially gain an unbelievable online following of folks in your target market who will likely be interested in buying your book. Blogging is a no-brainer when it comes to marketing your self-published book. But way more than a handful of authors are missing the boat on this highly successful tactic.

Why? Many self-publishing authors are afraid of blogging. As a matter of fact, many don’t know what a blog is. However, if you intend to be successful at the whole “book publishing thing”, you have to learn this trick to gaining exposure — especially since blogging has been called “the most important thing an author should do to promote a book“.

Think of a blog as an online journal. In it, you can share your own thoughts while getting only as personal as you feel comfortable. As an author, though, you are able to write about topics related to your book. If you are a fiction author, a blog related to fiction books is a great idea. If you have written your own self-help book, share your expertise in mini-digests on your blog. Either way, be sure to post something interesting to get readers involved.

But, won’t I feel like I’m talking to myself? That is precisely how you will feel in the beginning. Many times it can takes months (or maybe even years) for your blog to be found and gain a steady readership. This won’t last forever. The best way to approach it is to think of when you’re planning on self-publishing a book. Are you 100% sure that people will read it? Of course not, but you keep writing because you have faith in your own success. Why should your blog be any different?

Wait a minute…so how do I even sign up for a blog? That’s a great question, and it’s one that someone else answers much more easily and efficiently than I do. So, here’s a video to help you learn more:

The above video walks you through the steps of signing up for a Blogger blog. There are several other platforms, but this is the least expensive and you can even completely personalize it by purchasing your own domain for it, which I highly recommend.

Once a self-publishing author gets started blogging, there are a few rules of thumb that must be following in order to be successful (skipping either of these is NOT recommended). I’ve listed the basics out for you below, but you may learn even more on a site like Blogging Tips:

  1. Define your niche early on and stick to it. The key here is to define yourself as an expert. That cannot be done if you’re talking about everything in your life all at once. Stay focused, and you will be surprised at the results.
  2. Come up with a posting schedule early on and stick to it. Post consistently, even if you’re only posting once per week. Try to schedule all of your posts around the same time.
  3. Use the “schedule post” feature that is available in your blogging software. You may not always be available at 8:15 am, but you want to remain consistent. So, instead of publishing your post right away, schedule it for sometime it for 8:15 am the next day so that you can be sure to have content up when your reader is looking for it.
  4. Purchase your own domain for the blog. This is SUPER important (I’m having a feeling of déjà vu here — didn’t I already say this?) You have to craft your own identity online if you want to be seen as an expert. The #1 ingredient for that identity is branding (aka – your own domain name).
  5. Participate in discussions on your blog. Make sure you post follow up comments to users who comment on your blog posts. This is crucial to networking and building strong relationships with your readers.

The above advice is just the tip of the iceberg. There is quite a bit to learn about successful blogging. However, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed because you can learn as you go. There are so many resources out there to help you, so get to blogging!

DISCUSSION: Are you an author with a blog? How has this help you build your brand and sell more books?

 

Guest post: Ask the Book Doctor

We’ve discussed how creating a blog can help organize your writing schedule, generate actual book content, and assist in ultimately marketing your published book by building platform and establishing yourself as an expert.

Guest blogger, Bobby Christmas, the Book Doctor, talks about generating blog traffic for self-publishing authors.

BLOG

Q: I have started a blog, which started out slowly, but I now get about fifteen hits a day. How can I increase that number?

A: First, for those not familiar with blogs (Web logs), they are online journals. One provider of Web log space is http://www.blogspot.com. Many authors have found that maintaining a blog builds a fan base for their books and keeps fans up to date when a new book is going to be released.

I’m not the expert on blogs or driving traffic to blogs, but I will give these tips:

What are you doing to make those people go to your blog and read it now? Do more of the same.

Register your blog wherever possible, and be sure your blog offers good content that people will want to read.

To drive traffic to your blog, write articles or a column regarding your subject matter and include a link to your blog. Send those articles to any site that may post them.

Embed key words in your blog, words that readers might use to search for the type of information you provide in your blog.

In addition to my very basic advice, buy and read a book on how to increase visibility and drive readers to a blog. I noted 164 books about blogs on Amazon.com.



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Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Visit Bobbie’s blog at http://bobbiechristmas.blogspot.com/. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at http://www.zebraeditor.com.

Affiliate Opportunites in Self-publishing

With the inevitable explosion of print-on-demand, there are more authors than ever before dipping their feet into the self-publishing game. In fact, the term dipping feet may be an understatement considering the volume of new, developing, and somewhat esoteric information involved in self-publishing. Some authors come from the traditional arena and have a degree of knowledge and understanding corresponding with their experience. Other authors may have independently published books in the past, consider themselves savvy, and are now seeking the advantages that come from joining forces with a full-service print-on-demand self publisher.

The great majority, however, are new authors, anxious to learn, but not possessing much history or background in the industry. They often rely upon the information they read on the internet, hear from friends/associates, or receive from their publisher. In fact, the term self-publishing has expanded in scope to include publishing content in blogs, forums, online newsletters, even videos.

You may find yourself somewhere along that continuum or in the process of researching publishing options for your own material. Have you considered that your expertise can benefit other writers while at the same time earning you additional income? The process is called Affiliate Marketing and a great opportunity offered through various self-publishing leaders.

Affiliates can often earn up to 10% or more for each author they refer. Here are the nuts and bolts:

It’s perhaps the easiest and fastest way to share your knowledge as an industry thought leader while at the same time earning extra income in the home based internet business, and you do not have to develop your own service. Instead, generate revenue by simply referring authors to recognized, professional custom self-publishing services through the credibility your experience provides. What’s more, you get to see the investment that comes from seeing authors reach their publishing goals.



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Have fun and keep writing

Start Summer Right. Write Now toward Publishing

Finishing a book is not as daunting as it sounds. The key is to write something everyday. Then, use the Internet for accountability. Interesting right?  Write everyday, and publish everyday—either on a bulletin board, a writing group, or on a personal “blog.”

There are a number of reasons to do this.

1) The public commitment will help motivate you. When you publicly declare that you will add content to your blog every day, or every week, you are more bound to complete your task.

2) If you choose the right forum, people may offer to help you. (Note, if you choose the wrong forum, and find people are being counter-productive, simply change venues).

3) By creating an Internet presence this early in the process, you can start to generate interest in your book when it comes out—either search engine interest, or human interest. Both are good when it comes time to promote and sell your book later on.

You may wish to search Google for some forums in which to participate. You’ll be writing and more and you may make some new friends and/or fans.

Then when you are ready to publish your book, consider all of those things we’ve discussed previously in finding the right self-publisher to meet your goals.

Have fun and keep writing.

Back to Writing on the Road to Self-Publishing

Ezines – they are a fast and free opportunity to self publish. Moreover, publishing in ezines can help you get motivated to write your book, and even promote your book after publication.

We’ve discussed the idea of publishing excerpts of your book as individual articles or stories. You can simply locate a website and query that site’s webmaster about publishing your article. Make sure you include your biographical byline, which mentions your book as well.

This is more of the same, but concentrating on ezine publication.

There really are countless ezines in existence now, each with a specific niche or category. And all of them are voraciously hungry for content.

Rather than seeking them out individually, you can place your articles into databases that ezine editors frequent for content. They use your article free of charge, and in exchange, include your biographical byline, which, again, includes information about you and your book.

Here are some to check out:

http://www.ezinearticles.com

http://www.ebooksnbytes.com

http://www.connectionteam.com

http://www.netterweb.com

http://www.ideamarketers.com

http://www.goarticles.com

http://www.knowledge-finder.com

http://www.articlecity.com

Don’t send an article you’ve already published last week. Instead, write another chapter of your book first (since finishing your book the main goal, after all.)

Have fun. Keep writing.



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Self-publishing on the Road to Self-publishing

The Internet is great. Really. There has been perhaps no more organic, democratizing invention in the world since Gutenberg’s printing press. How empowering is the ability to compose an original idea, or start a new novel, and upload it to a website for the world to see within minutes.

If you are like me and find great pleasure and power sharing your writing with the world, be sure to bring it to an appropriate forum, preferably in a place where it will provide long-term promotion assistance for itself down the road. You also want to post where you trust the people to provide worthwhile feedback, rather than pilfering your ideas for their own or criticizing your writing for the sake of self-promotion.

Where do you start?

The answer depends upon what you hope to achieve, and the way in which you want to “spread the word.” Writing online is no easier than writing offline. In fact, it may seem harder at first. The extra effort is worth it later on.

If you’re seeking instant feedback on your writing from other people, I would suggest participating in online writing groups and forums. Yahoo offers “Groups” specific to a wide array of writing subjects. You can access the Groups section by going to the Yahoo main page at http://www.yahoo.com

Google offers groups also, and you can find them on the Groups link on Google at http://www.google.com

By conducting a subject or category search from either of these venues you can find a number of possible groups in which to participate.

I recommend you spend some time exploring Yahoo and Google groups. Register for an account with the one you like best. Don’t necessarily start writing online yet. That comes later. Instead, just look around and become familiar with the “environment.”

Then, down the road you’ve accomplished two things in one – established a platform or presence in your market and generated content to bring to your self-publishing option for production into a book.



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