Thursday, October 29, 2009

Contest! Win a copy of BOOKLIFE: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer

Last week I told you all about Jeff VanderMeer's extraordinary new book for writers, Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer

This week, you can enter a contest to win one of five copies that Tachyon Publications have graciously offered up as prizes.

What do you have to do to win? Easy! Leave a comment below and share ONE GREAT IDEA for self-promoting a book, something you've either done yourself or have seen another author do successfully.
Teh Rulez:
  • One entry per person
  • Leave your great book self-promotion idea in the comments field of this post
  • U.S. Residents only
  • Contest closes Tuesday, November 4th at 5:00 PM EST. Or EDT. Or whatever the hell time 5:00 is in NYC next Tuesday.
Good luck!

71 comments:

Marjorie said...

Best idea ever: create a Web site long before the date of publication and start blogging. Find other like-minded souls who write about the same subject and post relevant comments on their site. That will hopefully encourage them and their followers to seek you out and link to you. Post often. Use it to develop your audience before the publication so that you won't be bursting out into the world completely unknown!

Cheers,
marjorie

George said...

Best Idea: Viral marketing much in the way that movies are being marketed. Involve the audience so that they're even more excited for the release of the product. Look at how well the Dark Knight did it and follow that example.

Jen said...

When you make arrangements with a local bookstore to do a public reading, make it a charitable event and charge a nominal fee, say $1.00, for your signature. The fee goes to the charity of course - you can even set up a little decorative box for this purpose. Put the word out with both the charity folks and the bookstore folks and you'll have two different groups trying to get people in to see you. Additional hint: any children's hospital will be all over this kind of thing and happy to help!

Gryvon said...

Start a blog (or Twitter account) from one of the main character's perspective, include short scenes from the character's life. It's a good way to build up interest in the story and give readers a taste of what they can expect in the book.

thelittlefluffycat said...

Learn your own way around social media. People like Joe Konrath have great insight on how to go about this. Start right away and you'll find support, advice -- community -- and when the time comes to promote, the same people you've found to help you get it written will help you get it out.

Christine said...

Use YouTube! Make vlogs, do book reviews, author interviews, run contests surrounding your book launch!

cvillewords said...

I was impressed by the "lending library" Stephen Elliott created out of the ARCs for The Adderall Diaries, and how he linked the library to his book tour. More info at therumpus.net.

P.S.: Hope I win!

Turbo said...

For historical fiction: Host a trivia contest on your blog with characters/events tied in to your novel to draw out fans of the period. Challenge geeks intellectually and you have their attention.

venessag said...

Blog tours! Make arrangements to "visit" other folks' blogs to talk about your book. I've seen this done as both the author and the character from the book being pimped. I love it when it's actually both. The interaction between the character and the author can be hysterical!

martyhalpern said...

Someone has already mentioned linking a charity with your book-signing appearances, but your local bookstores need to know who you are first. Most bookstores will happily support and promote local authors. Visit your local bookstores, introduce yourself to the store's bookbuyer and/or events manager. Arrive bearing a couple reading copies of your book. See if the store is willing to set up an end cap, or table, or other such display promoting you as a "local author." If you are not well-known, try to arrange a group reading and signing with other local authors. Once you are successul in your area, you can branch out to other parts of your state -- especially if the bookstores are chains.

Beth said...

I recently took part in a new spin on the blog tour idea. WOW! Women on Writing coordinated the event to promote Therese Walsh's book The Last Will of Moira Leahy, and asked for bloggers to participate on October 13th by posting a blog on the topic of family relationships. The blogs were all linked to from the WOW! blog and each entry had a random chance to win prizes.

bernard crowshit said...

Give away your book as an e-book thru the various e-book websites, this generates an interest in the authors works and name, and seems better than the free first chapter deal as you get the whole book and don't feel like your being scammed with a first chapter of something you'll never hunt down the rest of, instead readers get the book and (hopefully) love it then buy it to support the author and have in their hands to re-read.

Lauren M. Hunter said...

Hit up your alma mater for publicity. Get your name in newsletters, do a display/signing in the bookstore, read and network at alumni events.

Conni said...

Put tie-ins on your website - recipes for your character's grandmother's pumpkin pie, or craft patterns. Link to them through your blog (which you, of course, have, yes?)

Lindsey Himmler said...

Since I work at a school, I see a lot of children's books. Coming to speak at our school makes one the best author ever, according to my children. Patricia Polacco came by my school 4 years ago, and the children still talk about it. The kids and families bought so many books they were staggering out of the building.

Rebecca Knight said...

Make friends with your local booksellers and attend community events there long before you expect to do your own event. Team up with local authors for a group signing to attract a larger audience :).

What a great contest! I'm learning a lot from the other commenters already.

EASchechter said...

Something I learned from Joshua Palmatier is to donate your books to libraries. If someone reads your books and likes them, they're more likely to buy one the next time they are in the bookstore. And supporting the local library is always a good thing.

Deb Salisbury said...

If you are writing YA, schedule a talk at your local high school.

If you survive that experience, ;-) schedule with other high schools.

Kelly Bryson said...

Hello. My name is Kelly, and I am a writer. It took me almost a year before I could say that. Getting over the "Am I a writer? Or is this just a life-consuming hobby?"-angst has allowed me to begin all of the great suggestions that these people have. I don't let that dominate my conversations, but I don't hide that I spent all day on my laptop, either!

Tere Kirkland said...

I started a series of virtual tours on my blog to promote the novel I'm querying. Interested readers can experience part of the main character's world through a series of photographs and captions.

The tags I use to label these posts help people serendipitously find my blog when they're searching for Jackson Square or other New Orleans locales. Knowing how to use your tools is an important aspect of self-promotion.

Thanks for the great contest. I've been interested in VanderMeer's book since you blogged about it.

Susan Quinn said...

Start a blog about the kind of books (or lack thereof) that inspired you to start writing your WIP. Which is what I did: Ink Spells (www.ink-spells.blogspot.com) talks about finding great middle grade books for advanced readers (ages 8-12). Finding books that let kids be kids, but that are also challenging reads, can be difficult for parents and teachers when those kids read substantially ahead of grade level. Oh, and I'm writing a MG book as well!

Great Contest!

Nicola Morgan said...

Since I have my very own free copy of this ace book and am blogging about him/it later and reviewing it, I won't enter the comp, but will say I really liked the book. I don't normally go for books that tell me what to do but his advice is refreshingly non-loopy and makes utter sense. Actually, I started following some of his suggestions a few weeks ago and feel unsually in control of my "booklife"

Nicola

ann said...

You can get postcards printed very cheaply online nowadays. Have some printed with a compelling, eye-catching image/photo on the front; on the back, put the book's cover art and a great quote from the work. Leave them all over town - bookstores, coffeeshops, gas stations, anywhere you can. Better yet, make it a series and use a variety of quotes & images, so regular vistors to those places will develop a connection with & build their curiosity about the book.

Bill Peschel said...

Simple: Make a book trailer.

Even better: PhotoFilmStrip

I just got this free software that lets you make "Ken Burns"-style footage, where you take a photograph and zoom in, out or across it.

String together four images, add fades in and out and a narration track, and you've got a pretty quick-and-dirty trailer.

The link below takes you to the SourceForge download page: http://sourceforge.net/projects/photostoryx/

Here's their web site:

http://www.photofilmstrip.org/home.html

Michele Lee said...

Actually the best self promo technique EVAR is posting excerpts of your work. Bookmarks and ads and reviews can create an awareness of your book, and catch a reader's eye. But as a reader I always look for an excerpt on an author's website or on a book site like Amazon, but only reading a sample makes me rush to the register, book in hand.

I've randomly read excerpts as well from Twitter links or on message from books I never would have looked twice at, but I grabbed them because I loved the concept or the writing style.

Michele Lee said...

Someone mentioned Tweeting from a character's point of view. I don't recommend this (in fact I find it a little annoying to friend or follow every book someone publishes), but I tweeted lines from my novella and got a fantastic reaction and lots of interest from people. I think this could be another great promo idea.

Kat O'Keeffe said...

I've seen some effective book trailers or other video promotions, but those can be tricky. A good book trailer can create interest in your book. But a bad one can certainly take the book's reputation down a notch or two.

Miriam S.Forster said...

A note on social networks: It's not all about you. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc, work best when you are using them to build relationships with other people.

Share your good news and book info by all means, but don't become that person who can't interact without trying to sell something.

bookofkell said...

A couple of commenters have mentioned networking with your local bookstore, and I agree. It may not be as flashy a technique as your online marketing, but people who work with books still have enormous influence with readers. And, having been a librarian and a bookseller, I can still name the authors who were consistently a kind, pleasant part of our reading community. I loved talking up their books, and it was fun for other customers to hear that the author shopped in the same bookstore they did.

Consider:

1. Buying books you'd buy anyway from a local bookstore or borrowing them from a local library rather than ordering them online.

2. Having conversations with booksellers and librarians about other peoples' books -- ask for recommendations, and make suggestions that you've enjoyed if you find someone with similar taste.

3. Please, always be pleasant and professional with bookstore and library staff. Authors who aren't really stand out, and not in a good way.

I think it will be much easier (and more exciting) to go tell the nice folks at the bookstore when I sell my first book than to ask a stranger to purchase my book for their store. And I remember how exciting it was to hear that someone who'd been discussing other people's books with me for years had sold a book of their own!

Jennifer K. said...

Host a series of "character interviews" were people can learn about the book and characters by asking the characters questions.

Cheers!
Jennifer

kiaras said...

I LOVE goofy author swag. Postcards, magnets, bookmarks (I *always* need bookmarks!), pens, etc. I'm in love with how Kim Harrison has a special book-related item for every release. My favorite is still her Hollows bus token.

There have also been casino chips, toe tags, arm bands, even tomato seeds!

I think the one thing that makes me pick up a book, though, is a contest. Especially if it's a contest on a guest post for an author's blog that I already read. I've picked up a metric ton of new books that way.

BrigidsBlest said...

Hold a contest for the readers; have them dress up as characters from the book and offer prizes (ARCs, swag, etc.) to the best entrants.

Jennifer

nicola said...

Write a really good book.

Then tell people who like really good books. Tell them to tell their friends--and their enemies. Tell everyone. Word of mouth is king. But it starts with the good book.

stephanie said...

I really love Conni's idea.

And well said Nicola!

How about a bumper sticker or window decal with the URL of your blog or website? Friends and family in different areas could put them on their cars, intriguing gross numbers of strangers... particularly if the URL is easy to remember and intriguing.

Victoria Dixon said...

Create an outstanding book trailer and post it on youtube, using every method imaginable to draw people in to watch it. Make sure your blog/website address and release date are included!

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

If you are in to childrens writing like I am. I would talk to the local library about reading the book during story. Parents often stay and get involved giving them a chance to meet and great...then get a copy. Sounds great to me and the kids will love it.

Jo Ann said...

Lots of research and I love research. I went to each school website and downloaded their teacher list of email addy. then sent them a press release of my YA book. Got tons of request for presentations at schools.
best,
Jo Ann

rsdevin said...

I enjoy tie-ins on an author's website: character biographies, story prequels, or stories set in the same universe/environment/time period. Chapter samples often seduce me into buying physical books as well.

Nita said...

A friend of mine discovered a typo on the back cover of the first run of her trade paperback nonfiction book about balancing life. She followed her own advice and made the best of the situation. Instead of throwing away the misprints, she created a "Waiting Room Copy" label for the flawed books which covered the typo. At her book launch, she gave one of these "waiting room" copies to anyone who purchased the error-free version of the book and asked them to drop it in the lobby of their nearest doctor's office. Her books can now be read in medical facilities all over central Ohio.

Pat Lowery Collins said...

Drop into a bookstore and ask them to order your book or books and you will come back and sign them. Depending on how many books you have in print, this will not take much time, your signed copies will be displayed prominantly, and the store will be reticent to return them to the publisher. Over time, you can often sell more books this way than at a readings or public signings.

Enchanted Crystals said...

print some tee shirts that end in the middle of a sentence, then put- ask me what happens next. Wear it everywhere!

Also, think about niche groups that might be interested in your books and go to events where you'll find them. Mine might be Great Dane lovers or B&B travelers.

And leave your business card with a teaser on it EVERYWHERE you go. Even gas station bathrooms.

Barbra Annino

theWallflower said...

Make desktop wallpaper based on your cover (or other art). I rotate my wallpaper on an almost weekly basis, both on my work and home computer. Great exposure for all the people passing by your cube.

burger-eater said...

Get your book in the hands of bloggers with a large audience. I've been asking permission and then mailing them off.

Delilah S. Dawson said...

I'm an artist querying agents for my first novel. My book is like Charlaine Harris on vacation in Greece, so I plan on developing a body of artwork based on the images and characters in my book and exhibiting in local galleries with excerpts under each painting.

Kristine Overbrook said...

Create bookmarks that list your book, where to buy it, your website and blog. Then send stacks of them to indie book stores, family members and libraries all over the country.

Hold a contest...the person that gets the sticker on their bookmark wins a free copy of your book.

ash-krafton said...

A friend who recently published made bookmarks and laminated them. I know it sounds so "eh--a bookmark"ish, but she autographed mine with a "thank you" note.

It made it personal, and makes each of my friends want one of their own. (That equals sales for the author.) An autograph makes a special kind of connection between author and reader.

Being a collector-geek, I consider it a special-edition-signed and therefore most covetous. Bonus for me.

S. E. Ward said...

For a SF/F/H novel, become involved in fandom (like you aren't already if you write any of that good stuff). This can mean cosplay, conventions, fanfic communities, you name it. As you make friends (and you will), talk to people about your work. Word spreads fast in fandom, and people there aren't afraid to spend money on things they consider important to fandom and the fannish community--including books written by fellow fen.

Emily C. said...

An author can offer some of his/her previously published books in a discounted or even free package if the consumer buys their latest book.

emily-casey [at] comcast [dot] net

jessrosen said...

These days it's so important to be known before the book deal that it's critical to have a website and an active blog with an audience. That "active" is key. It's crucial to not only have a blog, but to post in it regularly along a theme so that your audience is built along that theme.

It doesn't have to be the same thing, day in day out. I post a writers' links page once per week. I also blog one or two times during the week on subjects that are impacting my life as a writer. That's building my audience, what I like to think of as a community with the comments.

Take care,
Jessica Rosen

skogkatt said...

Three things that have gotten me to buy books:

1) Cat Valente's book reading/music tour launch for Palimpsest, with S.J. Tucker.

2) John Scalzi taping bacon to his cat (not directly related to a book, but it directly led to me buying Old Man's War.

3) Lara Zielin's Editing Letter video, put out just before Donut Days was released.

I guess the lesson here is to be interesting?

Miss Tammy said...

Kelley Armstrong created a Twitter account for Elena Michaels and had her tweet up to the release of FROSTBITTEN. I normally would have got around to reading it whenever, but because I was already hooked on the story line I had to go out and buy it the day it came out. Social networking is a writer's new best friend!

catehart said...

I'll admit I still act like a dorky teeny-bopper - I write YA so it helps. But this is what I did, I made Flair on Facebook for my novel that I'm querying.

I will say this, I would have never ever heard of Twilight had it not been for the flair, hundreds of flair, that said Edward and Bella. It made me curious.
Okay, I know I'm a dork. But I guess in general make a presence online, especially if you are trying to reach the younger generation.

slushpilehero said...

Cross promotion with the music industry.

My books feature bands. My brother-in-law, who plays in a band that frequently tours, can push my books along with his t-shirts (designed by me) and CDs. He has also agreed to help run a bogus website, supposedly run by my fictitious boy band, where he and other band members will interact with my readers and maintain a rivalry with the ex-lead singer of the band (my book's MC).

Maybe, just maybe, his band could do a gig or two under the guise of said fictitious band...

jonathandanz said...

Participate in as many relevant conversations as possible via the web (personal website, blogs, twitter, facebook), locally (libraries, local book stores), and your alma maters (from grade school on up). The key is to listen and get a feel for the conversation and be a part of it before just blasting away with your stuff. This gives you credibility so when it's time to pimp your book, people will listen. Generate excitement by being excited.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Connect with special interest groups that may be especially interested in your book. For example, I am writing about an adopted girl from China so am on some e-mail groups with parents of adopted children who may be especially interested in my book. I also am a member of an adoption support group where I live and plan to join more as soon as it looks like my book might get published in hopes that they would review my book.

JMLee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yella said...

Set up a booth with your books at the local farmer's market or street fair.

Urraca said...

Combine a reading of the book together with a live band or theater performance, gearing it toward writers. Think Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind from the Neo-Futurists (in Chicago and NYC)

L.L. Barkat said...

Promoting a book. Well, giveaways are good. :)

JMLee said...

I uh, threw a costume contest. Readers had a year (since last Halloween) to put together a costume of a character from my books, and then they had to send in their photos to prove they wore it. The deadline is today so they could wear the costumes out on Halloween.

Good conversation fodder for them at awkward costume parties...

[old comment deleted for ridiculous typo, reposted for justice]

KLM said...

Borrow your brother's car. Paint the name of your blog/website/new novel on the roof and head west. Do not sleep. Alternate between pounding espressos and drinking cough syrup. Throw candy and loose change out the window during those rare periods when you slow down. Take detours through demographic areas where, after 34 straight hours of driving, you have come to believe you're already popular. By the time you reach Los Angeles, police will be in hot pursuit. News helicopters circling above will provide all the necessary PR and all at taxpayer expense. Use your one phone call to contact your agent with the happy news.

KLM said...

Whoops. My bad. Now I see it has to be an effective marketing strategy an author has already employed. Better turn this thing around and bring my brother's car back then.

Samantha Cummings said...

There are so many good ideas (scribbling them all down). My best idea was to create twitter accounts for characters of your books and have them interact with each other and followers. This could generate a lot of interest in the book...

Billie said...

Make the book tour events more vibrant than just readings. A friend's recent national book tour included a dynamic multimedia presentation with voice recordings of her character's source, drawings that inspired some of the book content - all material that was related to to the book, but not part of the book. Then she used social media (quite effectively) to build excitement for each event.

LilySea said...

Once my historical novel is published I'm totally having a period costume release party at the rockin'est feminist bookstore on the planet, Women and Children First, of Chicago.

Robin Connelly said...

Just wanting to make sure my comment...left on livejournal...was being counted since I'm one of two people who commented there.

DM said...

Be ever-present with a consistent message. Give more than you ask of others with rich content on a blog, via Twitter, on Facebook... Anywhere and everywhere you go, spread the message with something people will find useful. Educate, Entertain, Inform. Be 100% authentic. Think of yourself (as well as your book) as a brand. Don't be afraid to give something away for free, including parts of your book.

Debra Marrs
Editor and Coach for Writers
http://www.yourwritelife.com

clindsay said...

Robin -

I have no control over the Livejournal feed for this blog; someone else created it. I don't go there to read comments ever, so if you want to enter this contest you need to enter it here in the comments field.

Colleen

Jamie Eyberg said...

People are suckers for personal appearances. Even if it is signing postcards or bookmarks in front of the bookstore.

vivvy said...

Become romantically involved with a scheming overachiever--sort of Sonny Mehta meets Bette Davis--who will obsessively promote your book in a variety of ways indicating that on a personal level he/she has no sense of decorum or modesty whatsoever but in a broader culture sense is actually indicative of a marketing genius. Hone your sexual skills to keep them satisfied for the duration of the affair, or if you are planning multiple novels, marriage.

Divorce/estrangement is inevitable, but the resultant scandal will prove a windfall of PR for both new and existing projects. Good luck!

Sandy Shin said...

Best ideas for promotion: funny vblogs, extra points for creative ones. It also helps to keep an active and informative blog that is about more than just promoting your own book. Posting snippets from your novel in your blog/website is also a wonderful way to entice readers. :)