Thursday, February 28, 2008

Promoting a Book on Self-Promotion Sub-Forums--veinglory

Many forums have an area that is specifically set aside for promoting your work. Examples that spring to mind are the Lulu and AbsoluteWrite forums, and I have actually purchased books promoted in both of these forums. I go to these forums not only to see which authors are taking the trouble to promote their work, but to scan for genres that I like or anything clever, quirky or different. I feel like authors should keep some of the following points in mind when posting to a self-promotion forum:

1) Compose your message separately in a word processor and proofread it. Avoid any use of capitals, text speak or other affectations.
2) Post just once, in one sub-forum and in the correct sub-forum
3) If at all possible take part in the forum for a while before promoting. I find I am immediately more interested in a member of the forum who has been around, shared the discussions and become somewhat familiar.
4) Choose a specific, intriguing subject line that will appeal to your target audience. i.e. not ‘my new book is out’ or ‘you will love this’.
5) Within the post start with a short message that connects to the members of this specific forum and recommends your book to them. Avoid material that seems like it has been ‘cut-and-pasted’ all over the internet.
6) Include the title and blurb, and a link to a point of sale that offers an excerpt from the book. Ensure that the link works. Ensure that the excerpt is easily accessible.
7) Come up with an approach that is fresh without being offensive, gimmicky or in any way misleading.
8) Reply to any comments left in the forum. Even if the comments seem less than polite respond courteously and constructively in a way that demonstrates you really read and thought about what was said. These replies are also part of your self-promotion and contribute to the impression readers will form of you and your work.

What makes me check out a book and potentially buy it is 1) it is clear what the book is about and that is something that interests me, 2) I feel some kind of connection to the author, 3) the author conducts themselves in a way that is intelligent and courteous and 4) something sets the book apart from the crowd. And of course that last point is the difficult one. I think authors sometimes struggle to express what really makes their book something special or unique. I suspect authors are often too close to their work even to know.

If I look through the last few reviews of self-published books that I have written I would offer these examples of what the X-factor of the book is, in my own humble reader's opinion:

'20 Years After Night' by Dillon Langlands: stepping outside the usual novel format, going for a completely new look.

'Chion' by Darryl Sloan: Just astoundingly well written.

'ClimBing' by Henk van Os: A humorous and quirky perspective expressed in illustrations rather than words.

'Vermin Street: Life in these Walls' by Mike Robinson: Furry noir, that's all I needed to know.

'A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story' by Charles Emery: The story has genuine warmth and an 'everyman' perspective that makes a connection to the reader.

So my question to authors is: what sets your book apart from the rest, and how could you describe that to readers in one sentence?

1 comment:

chris-gerrib said...

Emily - don't confuse the folks at Lulu with logic or stuff like that! :-)

I've sworn off the forums there because I can't sort through pages of "My Novel Iz OOT!" headers.