Monday, January 31, 2011


Promotion, or more importantly self-promotion is a very sticky subject. Everywhere that people can post about their books, they do. I don’t have a problem with this. Hell, I do it myself in certain places, so can hardly complain. In their (and my) defence, if people are annoyed by the posts made, they can simply choose to ignore them. I’m not sure how much good posting on message boards does anyway to be honest, because most of the people promoting/reading on these sites are other authors, and other authors are notorious for not actually buying books. I on the other hand buy too many!

But what else is a struggling author supposed to do to promote their work? It’s easy for certain people to say ‘if it’s any good people will find it and buy it.’ To my mind that just doesn’t happen, because ‘how’ do people still find the book? They still need to hear about it. That’s why I appreciate anyone who takes time to review my work, whether they like it or not. I also appreciate anyone who posts anything about my work in messages or on forums etc. It all helps a tremendous amount.

There are lots of other things people can do to help authors too. Click on the ‘tags’ on Amazon which will help get the book higher in the searches for those words. If there’s a Facebook ‘like’ link on a review or on an Amazon page for a book, click on it to share it with your friends. If you post a review because you’ve enjoyed a book, cross post to different book seller sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. If you have friends that read, tell them if you’ve read something great. Believe me, everything, no matter how small, helps.

So are there any other ways to help promote books? How do you help? Do you hate all the self promotion? I would love to hear your views.


Bridget Squires said...

I love self promoting. I think posting anywhere and everywhere helps. Also I have found some fantastic readings from message boards and discovered great authors as well. Personally I rely solely on facebook and myspace to promote myself. I help my fellow writers by posting links on my fan page and on my regular page. Word of mouth goes a long way so I also reccomend sites like smashwords to all my friends. So I don't know where anyone else stands but i love it!

Shaun said...

It's hard to get noticed without promoting, Bridget, but I know it annoys some people.

Phil N. Schipper said...

It's hard for me to say much about this, being new to the business and unpublished, but I'm going to try anyway.

At most of the sites I've found where self-promotion would be possible, there are strict guidelines pertaining to it. Depending on purpose, some places don't allow it at all. Others restrict you to certain boards or formats (such as in your profile or signature).

Where there are reserved spots just for promotion, I would think it would be a fairly useless endeavor. The only reason someone would read those posts is to look for books, and I can't imagine anyone would think to look among a list of sale-hungry authors.

Unfortunately for most marketing methods, my way of finding books to buy and read consists mostly of asking a few certain people that I know I can trust to hand me a good one.

Guido Henkel said...

It definitely is a tricky subject. I think both you and Phil have it right in regards to the message boards.

Message boards that allow authors to promote their titles are highly frequented by other authors who, while readers, are not really your target audience. At the same time, as Phil points out, people looking for books certainly don't use the one spot where authors will have the chance to push their books on them unchallenged.
Aside from that, most these message boards are usually so flooded with title announcements that their value has become dubious at best.

For me, I still think reviews are the best way to promote your book. Even smaller blogs with a limited readership can help build interest, though overall it is slow going all around.

Shaun said...

Good points, Phil. I doubt any readers actually trawl through the self promotion threads, and it's just authors preaching to themselves.

Yes, Guido, reviews are usually a good indication of a works merit - I say usually because if I'm on a site like Amazon looking at a certain book with lots of reviews, I click through some of the reviewers to read their other reviews, and if the book's reviews are all by people with only one review to their name, then it casts a shadow of doubt over the reviewers integrity, and I deduce they are usually just a family member or a friend of the author. I prefer seeing reviews on independent sites and on blogs as I think they have more validity.