February 27, 2008
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING THAT WORKS - Part VI: Subtly Marketing Your Book to Online Discussion Groups | printable version
During Week I, we talked about sad assumptions and irrational expectations new authors usually have about book sales. We then discussed the dire need for an author to have his OWN website (not a URL controlled by someone else!) and a periodical (ezine/blog) to market their book.
During Week II, we discussed how important it is to offer a free excerpt of your book. We also shared URLs to "free article" websites where you can post your excerpt as an "article."
During Week III, we talked about posting your free book excerpt on FreeBookExcerpts.com, a free service for everyone, including book lovers. Authors can post excerpts and readers can discuss them.
During Week IV, we cozied up to websites that have a good Google ranking.
Last week, we asked websites, ezines, blogs and magazines to publish an excerpt from our book.
This week, we're going to meet some new groups of people while subtly marketing our book.
I'm quite a social butterfly online and participating in online discussion groups is something I'd do for fun - if I weren't so busy promoting my books and publishing books for other authors through Booklocker.com.
There are really only two things you need to ethically promote your book to discussion lists/groups. They are:
1. a sincere willingness to help others
2. a very short signature that subtly promotes your book and that doesn't give the impression you're spamming the masses
The only way for me to teach you how to do this is to show you how I'd do this with one of my books. This week, I'll use my book, The Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women, as an example. Sadly, since so many marriages end in divorce, there is a never-ending source of online discussions for unhappy married people, victims of domestic violence, people involved in ongoing custody disputes, and even people whose children have been kidnapped by their spouse. Before you start to think that I wrote this book to prey on suffering people's pocketbooks, I need to tell you that I offer the entire ebook as an instant, free download to women who can't afford to buy a copy. It's my way of giving back to the community that helped me when I was going through a nasty divorce.
However, YOUR book is not free so we won't discuss the free part during this exercise, okay? Here we go.
Keywords are topic-specific descriptions (single words and phrases) that generate the results people see when they use a search box on a website. The top five keywords/phrases I use when promoting my divorce book are:
Discussion Groups/Lists are places online where people congregate to discuss a certain topic. There are large websites that host numerous discussion groups/lists.
What I'm going to be looking for online today are my keywords in some of the top online group websites, which are:
For this example, I'm going to type my top keyword, divorce, into the search box on this page: http://groups.google.com
The top two results are active discussions under these groups:
When I click on these links, I enter a page that takes me to numerous other pages, almost all of which contain prospective buyers of my book (women seeking a divorce). I can then start clicking and actively participating in these discussions, offering advice when/where appropriate.
I found one discussion on parental alienation. Not only can I offer advice to the woman who posted that note (as well as the other moms who are actively discussing this with her online) but I can also post the entire chapter from my book that covers that subject directly into my response. It's free information and I'm sure nobody will object.
I will, of course, mention that it's an excerpt from my book.
Whether just participating in a discussion or posting an excerpt, I will always use this signature underneath my posts:
Author, The Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women
My book, published by Booklocker.com, is available for special order anywhere so the title is all people need if they want to find my book on Amazon.com, anywhere else online, and even in their local bookstore's system.
After I finish searching all the sites above for "divorce", I would move onto my next primary keyword/phrase and start all over again.
This should not be considered a one-day-only marketing exercise. Since these groups are so active and often have participants who post all day long each day, participating in discussion groups/lists should be considered an ongoing marketing activity. At least once a week or even on a more frequent basis, come back to each page and see if anyone has left you any questions/comments, and also look for new discussions to participate in.
Fiction Authors will also have no shortage of discussions to participate in. Readers love to discuss books online! Fiction authors can find reader groups online, at the sites above, who are discussing books in their genre. They can actively participate in those groups and also subtly market their book(s) in their signature as I have above.
For example, romance authors can participate in these groups:
Mystery authors can find discussions about mystery novels at:
rec.arts.mystery (717 members!)
And, guess what? You can even set up your very own discussion list on many of these sites. Romance author Rebecca Goings has one here that has more than 300 members:
Once you're an accepted and welcomed member of a group, you can add more to your signature, like a plug for your žfree ebookÓ (if you're offering one to get people to sign up for your ezine/blog) or even a plug for your website.
Next week, we'll learn how to subtly promote our books on other people's blogs. See ya then!
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