Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marketing & Promotion on the Internet #2

Marketing & Promotion using the Internet #2

Listen and Contribute
By: Stephanie Burkhart,
author of: The Giving Meadow

Nowadays, as the traditional publishing industry is challenged by bankruptcy, declining income, and the availably of books online with ereaders, more and more authors are embracing the Internet for self-promotion. Why? It's affordable. It allows you to reach potential readers outside of your normal sphere of influence. Self-promotion may seem a little overwhelming at first, but its okay to go at your own pace.

First, we all know you're a writer, but in order to sell books, you have to dedicate a certain amount of time (and money to marketing)

Consider this: If you're just starting out commit to spending 1 hour a day on marketing efforts. Also consider how much you can put aside for a marketing budget. I know several websites that will host the cover to your book for $10.00 a month or your book trailer for the same fee.

#2 – Think about who you audience is. Is it adults with children and preschoolers? (I'm lucky in that I write romance and children's stories. Both crossover well, as most romance readers are moms or grandmothers with school age children)

#3 – Target your audience. Join those Yahoo Groups where readers of your genre are and just listen for a couple of days to get the feel of the loop. Introduce yourself and let others get to know you. I know a bunch of authors on the Bragging Rites Yahoo Group and have made several valuable connections that way.

Remember: to build readers and a fan base, it's not all about you. Listen. Get to know what your readers like. Interact with them and build community.

Here are some "listening" ideas:

Set up Google alerts. This will notify you when your name, articles, books, and even Twitter handle are used on the Internet. When you get the alert that someone is promoting your name or work, pop on over and say "thanks." A small thank you goes a long way.

If there's something you don't understand – ask. It stimulates conversation.

Be polite. Just like w" Please," "thank you," and "you're welcome" along with a friendly online presence goes a long way.

"Contribute" ideas:

By contributing, you show you're "down-to-Earth," just like the readers you are trying to attract. Here are some tips.

Give it away. Write a short story as free read. Give it away. People love to receive free things.

Your Blog:

Use your blog to contribute. Don't just talk about you, your book, or how great you are – but really engage your audience. You can start with your hobbies. Do you love to watch baseball? It's baseball season. Have a baseball day on your blog and talk about the different teams. Talk about the differences going to a game now versus when you were a kid. Talk about gardening and flowers. Share your thoughts and impressions on the latest movie you saw. Ask other authors to visit you. If you have a cause you support like breast cancer awareness or the Japanese Relief, don't be afraid to talk about it. Many others support causes as well. I like to talk about lighthouses on the California coast on my blog.

NOTE: Engage, but don't feel like you have to get too personal. You can discuss hobbies, movies, books, favorite authors, even coffee, but it's all right to keep your personal life to yourself.

TIP: Widgets send readers & followers to your BEST places on the net.

Book Reviews

Don't be afraid to share reviews of books you've read. It's a great way to contribute and interact with READERS.

Here's a Net checklist:

Home Base
Your Website
Update these sites frequently and often. I use tripod as my host. They offer free packages (you have to allow for ads) or at their cheapest: $5.00 a month you can get a basic, ad free website. Most web hosts have templates and you can create the website yourself without having to pay big bucks to have someone set it up for you.

Hang out on:
Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Ask a question to stimulate conversation. For example: What's your favorite 80's band? Get people talking in a general way and talk about your books will come.

Home Away from Home:

Your author page.

Visit your Friends:
Forums, Yahoo Groups, Good reads, Shelfari & JackFlap.

Reference for this Article: "50 Simple Ways to Build your Platform," by Christina Katz, Writer's Digest, March/April 2011, Pgs. 40-45.


  1. These are some great tips. I use most of these techniques, myself.

  2. Steph, we seem to be giving everyone enough information that they should be well prepared to build a platform and to maintain it.


  3. Aidana,
    I agree - like these tips a lot.

    Vivian, I agree - I wanted to focus on marketing with my posts because that's something I think people need a little more support in. It's not easy to market one's self.


  4. some great tips there, thank you x

  5. Great tips, Steph. Persistence will win the race in the end.


  6. Thanks for popping in ladies. I love Writer's Digest. They really do a great job getting info out there, and I know Online Promotion is important to all of us.