Here’s 10 things your friends and family can do to help you and your book catch a little online buzz:
I made a list of promotional efforts that I want to be more consistent about and decided to share my new goals.
Give out more bookmarks! I read about people who say they do this everywhere and with everyone, and I must get into the habit. Goal: Give out 3 bookmarks a day. And I intend to start ordering them in large quantities from online printers. (Nothing like having 2000 bookmarks sitting around to motivate you to give them away.)
Send out one e-mail a day to writer/mystery/review blogs offering to guest blog or participate in a Q&A.
Send out two e-mails a week to writers I know online offering a free copy of my novel. If they like it, they’ll probably say so. Free promotion from other writers is as good as it gets.
Spend 10 minutes a day on Goodreads in discussion forums and adding books to my list. This is a direct connection to readers.
Spend 10 minutes a day on CrimeSpace. I used to do this everyday, then got out of the habit when I started spending more time on Facebook and Twitter (and blogging everyday). As a result, I’ve noticed a drop off in the number of books I sell on Amazon.
Comment on two other blogs everyday. This one is easy, and I’d like to do more of it, but I have to leave some time for writing novels.
Write one article a month and offer it online magazines—even for no pay—just for exposure. (This will be the hardest one to keep up. I hate writing for free…except for blogging!)
Get all of this into an Excel spreadsheet so I can track it and not get sloppy.
Get up earlier to get it all done!
This seems to be a hot topic, and so it’s worth revisiting.
Even though I’ve been participating in the online community (in a significant way) for six months, I still feel like I don’t know all the rules about promotion. Yesterday, for example, a woman on a mystery list serv said she was in a funk and couldn’t get into any of the books she had at the house. So I sent her an e-mail and offered to mail her a copy of The Sex Club. Then instantly wondered: Was that improper? Will that be considered blatant self-promotion and therefore, unwelcome? So I sent another e-mail immediately afterwards and apologized. She was not offended and sent back her mailing address. But it’s so easy to cross this line. I know. I’ve done it. Because I’m never sure where it is. Especially after reading the following post from another blog about online promotional etiquette:
“You can’t just barrel in and announce you’re everyone’s friend and aren’t they lucky you have a book out now for everyone to buy. Well, you could. But I’m trying to be effective, not stupid. I get those emails a lot from people. I routinely delete them without reply. Every other blogger I talk to does the same thing. I see those kinds of posts on listservs I belong to, and I skim right over it as the ineffective mention that it is. The books I do mention on my blog, are by people I know, and like, and want to promote. The books I do notice on listservs are those talked about by actual readers as books they liked . . .”
I’m the kind of person who usually doesn’t hesitate to introduce myself or ask a question. I figure there’s no harm in doing so. But now I wonder if I can do actual harm to my writing career if I cross the line too many times or offend the wrong person by sending an unwanted e-mail. So what are the rules? Tell me what you think.