Monday, February 11, 2008

Book Promotion: Brave New World

More and more authors are turning to the Internet to promote their books. Authors have websites – that’s practically a requirement now, not a novelty. Everybody knows about blogs -- I know you do since you’re reading this one. Authors are revving up their web pages and blogs with video, audio, slide shows, book club questions, sample chapters, and more. Authors now use MySpace or YouTube. They go on virtual book tours by visiting blogs instead of bookstores. They join blogospheres to get their names out there. They subtly promote themselves and their books through discussion groups and listservs.

Hell, book promotion can take over a writer’s life! But it has to be done. If you don’t have good sales on your first book, you may not have a second book. If you don’t have strong sales on your third book, you may not have a fourth.

Publishers are now entering the virtual promotion world. They now offer web pages to their stable of authors, with ways for their writers to connect with readers. When a writer is going on a blog tour, they help out with copies of the book to give away at “stops.” And sometimes they go all out.

Like for author Douglas Coupland. With books coming out almost every 18 months, he’s been practically on a non-stop tour. He was tired of it, exhausted. So he came up with a plan to promote his latest book without having to leave home. And his publisher loved the idea. (Keep in mind, he’s already a best-sellling author.)

His publisher, Random House, ran with his idea. They hired a graphics and post-production studio who created videos, complete with actors, to make some of his characters come alive on YouTube. They were a hit.

Random House bought ads and promoted it on Facebook, plus did some of the regular book promotion. Coupland did one author event.

Keep in mind, this was an author who already had an established following. But he went with something new and it worked. Someone’s gotta blaze the first trail or others can’t follow it.

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