Lately book marketing has jumped out of its box. Though the touring author making appearances to read and sign at the local bookstore might still happen, there is definitely a trend toward virtual marketing. Here are some strategies that I've come across (even participated in) in the past few years.
1. The blog tour:
A publishing house or author lines up bloggers who are willing to do one or both of:
- review a newly published book on their blog.
- interview the author on their blog.
Each blogger is assigned a date to post. The interviews are usually done by email -- or podcast if that's the medium of preference.
For example, I participated in Sharon Hinck's blog tour for The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House) in 2006. Here's the author's side of it. And here's my interview.
The blog tour puts the book on display in front of various audiences and helps connects readers with authors.
2. Social networking:
If you're a writer and a member of Facebook, you've probably been asked to be part of a book promotion network. My latest experience is with author Jeanne Damoff. Her book Parting the Waters, the story of her son Jacob's life-changing accident, has just been released. The "Parting the Waters Group" includes information about the book, a photo album, lots of opportunity to comment and has 273 members. As one of those I got the word as soon as it hit the street (and also knew that I could pre-order before that).
3. Virtual film festival:
David Athey, author of Danny Gospel (Bethany House), is sponsoring a contest for videographers. The challenge is to make a three- to five-minute video of a scene from his book (not from the final two chapters though), submit it to YouTube, and email the link to him. There will be a big screen viewing of submissions in real time and a cash prize to the winning video. (Now there's a way to get people to read your book -- and closely too!) Danny Gospel also has a Facebook page.
And how is David Athey getting the word out? One way is by asking former reviewers -- moi, for example -- to post a notice.
4. Sizzling web page:
Your book should have its own web page. The page for Ted Dekker's newest release Sinner (www.dontdenythetruth.com) is an example of how multi-pronged such a page can be. It includes:
- video clips of the author explaining what the Sinner is about and talking about the process writing it.
- a club to join.
- free youth leader resources.
- link to YouTube channel with five short videos that explore issues discussed in the book.
- a form to email the site's URL to a friend.
- an essay discussing issues in the book.
- a podcast about the book.
What's common to all these ideas? They all aim to:
- Get people involved with the book and its ideas.
- Get people involved with the author.
- Get people to spread the word.
For more about what's happening in the realm of writers, books, readers and the media, especially in Canada, visit the Future Tense blog.