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Promoting Books At The Speed of Thought

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Written by Dan Poynter   

Dan-Poynter-photoPublishing is changing—for the better. There is a New Model for book writing, producing, selling and promoting. One part of this revolutionary change is in book promoting.

Here are several ways to use new technology to promote your book faster, easier and cheaper.

Broadcast email, done properly, is not spam. Book announcements should only be sent to existing customers, potential customers on opt-in lists and targeted members of the press. Most of these people are in your personal address book. Match your offer to those who have already expressed an interest in this type of information.

Make your publishing company Web-site centric. Put your book and all your basic promotion documents on your site and print from the site when you need hard copies. Don't maintain a stock of dealer bulletins and news releases in your office. Keep the masters in your cyber pressroom and retrieve them when required. For an example of a pressroom, see http://parapub.com/getpage.cfm?file=pressroom/pressroom.html.

If you speak on the subject of your book, set up a speaking sub-site with all the information on what you can do. Post your speech descriptions client list, fee schedule, facilities forms, speaking calendar, audio/video clips, etc. Replace your press kits; avoid printing and mailing.

For an example of a speaking sub-site, see http://parapub.com/getpage.cfm?file=/speaking/index.html.

Help the information-seeking potential customer to make a buying decision. Give enough information on the book. Provide the same shopping experience they have in a store. If you are publishing fiction, put the first chapter on your site as a free read. The first chapter in a creative work will give the reader a taste and is designed to keep the buyer reading. If your work is nonfiction, provide the first page or so of each chapter to give the browser an idea of what is in the book.

If you need help setting up your web site on this model, contact Mary Westheimer at http://www.BookZone.com. BookZone hosts the websites for some 3,500 book publishers.

For the media, put the entire book in a unique address section (URL) along with your promotional materials. Email a pitch letter to the editors and reviewers and invite them to your web site to see your book, and media kit: bio, testimonials, news releases, etc. Tell them what is in the "media kit" and remind them they will save time because they do not have to retype the material. Let them read the book free online. Capture the reviewer's address when they log on. Add the reviewer to your list and notify them directly when you are promoting your next book. The mission is to design an online media kit that is so useful, the reviewers will flock to use it. And, self-service will save you a lot of time and money.

Publishers Weekly and USA Today recently reviewed their first eGalleys. Invite reviewers to your site and offer to send an eGalley. Promotion @ the speed of email is the wave of the future. Do the reviewers want eGalleys? PW, for example, receives over 100 galleys each day. They select a handful and the rest go to a holding room. Periodically, someone comes to clean out the room. EGalleys avoid this solid-waste disposal challenge.

Subsidiary rights

Send an email to editors of newsletters, magazines and ezines and offer them the opportunity to excerpt parts of your book free. Ask them to include source, copyright and ordering information at the end of the excerpt. To find the email addresses for magazines and newsletters, see http://parapub.com/getpage.cfm?file=/bookprom.html and http://www.opinion-pages.org

Email promotions can result in slightly fewer responses than traditional mailings and follow-up telephone calls. But the costs in time and money are far less and the responses begin immediately.

Foreign Rights

Use email to ask foreign publishers if they would like to buy subsidiary rights and translate your book into their language. Send publishers directly to a rights section on your Web site. That section will provide a complete book, author bio, testimonials, cover image, newsreleases, back cover sales copy and other promotional materials. Capture their address when they log on. Then follow up with email. For foreign publisher email addresses, see International Literary Market Place. It lists publishers outside North America by country. Start with the major language groups: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. Select publishers that publish in your subject area. If you can't find many, email the national publishing association for that particular country, describe your book and ask for suggested matching publishers.

See the RightsCenter at http://www.rightscenter.com and PMA's Foreign Rights Virtual Book Fair at http://pma-online.org/pmafair/index.cfm .

Use every means possible to send people to your site. List your URL inads, your .sig, and anywhere you might ordinarily leave your telephone number.

Replace expensive four-color brochures with less expensive business cards. Your card should have a photograph of the book's cover, your usual contact information and a list of all the resources that can be found on your Web site. Use the cards to drive traffic to your web site. For great prices on cards, see http://www.MWMdexter.com

Related Web Sites

Surf the Web for sites related to the subject of your book. When you find one that matches, contact the owner and suggest a dealership. Get as many outlets as possible to sell your book.


Take part in newsgroups related to your book's subject. Answer questions and become known as an expert on your subject. For a list of newsgroups, see Groups at http://www.excite.com, http://www.YahooGroups.com and http://www.deja.com


Promotion services

Do not hire the spammers who flood your email box with offers to promote your site or product. Doing so will cost you a lot of money, incur the wrath of potential customers and will encourage more spam.

Direct Contact Media Services will send out your news release to carefully selected media via fax and email. Paul Krupin will rewrite your news release to make it more useful to the media. He will send the announcement to 1,500 to 2,500 targeted print, radio and TV outlets. 1500 one-page releases cost $300. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and see http://www.book-publicity.com .

For more ideas on promoting books online, see U-Publish.com by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow. See http://www.u-publish.com .

New computer programs, new printing processes and the Web are transforming the writing, producing, disseminating and promoting of information. Books will never be the same. The winners are author, publishers and readers.

In the future, nonfiction book publishing will see minimized inventories and maximized relationships between authors and customers (readers). Publishing will become customer-centric and "books" will thrive on uniqueness, customization and variety. Book writing, publishing, selling and promoting are changing—for the better.


Writing periodicals:

Dan Poynter does not want you to die with a book still inside you. You have the ingredients and he has your recipe. Dan has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and The Self- Publishing Manual. For more help on book writing, see http://ParaPub.com

Book Publishing periodicals:

Dan Poynter, the Voice of Self-Publishing, has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and The Self-Publishing Manual. Dan is a past vice-president of the Publishers Marketing Association. For more help on book publishing and promoting, see http://ParaPub.com.

Professional Speaking periodicals:

Dan Poynter has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and The Self-Publishing Manual. He is past-chair of NSA's Writer-Publisher PEG and the founder of the PEG newsletter. For more help on book writing, publishing and promoting, see http://ParaPublishing.com.