WAYS TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPPORT YOUR BOOK
by Roger C. Parker
A great deal of your book's success depends on your ability to promote it
yourself. Publishers are likely to be too busy to be able to devote
sufficient resources to your book's promotion.
But help is at hand. If you've written a book, you can easily and
inexpensively use e-mail and your web site to promote it. Here are 10
proven ways you can successfully promote your book on the Internet.
1. Create a separate web site for your book
Books tend to get "lost" when grafted onto existing web sites. For
best results, create a web site specifically intended to promote and support
your book. This permits you to focus all of the site's resources on
promoting your book and leveraging off of its success.
Choose a web site address based on your book's title, rather than your name.
If you have done a good job of choosing your title, your title will be
easier to remember than your name. You can easily cross-link your
existing web site to your book's highly-focused web site.
2. Distribute sample chapters
One of the best ways you can promote your book is by allowing readers to
download a table of contents plus one, or more, sample chapters from your
web site. Sample chapters "tease" readers into wanting more. To the extent
that your sample chapter communicates competence and easy reading style,
readers will be motivated to buy your book.
Remember that uncertainty is the biggest obstacle you must overcome when
making a sale to a stranger. In a bookstore, prospective buyers can thumb
through your book. Online, readers can't thumb-through your book, so they
must depend on sample chapters. Use a desktop publishing software program to
format your sample chapters for easy reading. Use Adobe Acrobat to create
PDF files that will be sent to readers as e-mail attachments.
3. Build your web site address into your book
When writing your book, include as many reasons as possible for visitors to
visit your web site. Success requires more than simply listing your web site
address in your biography or on the last page of the book.
Give readers valid reasons to visit your web site. Offer downloadable
versions of reader engagement tools like checklists and worksheets. Promise
updated content and new information, such as ideas and topics that occurred
to you after you completed your book. If your book is in black and white,
but includes photographs or charts, post color versions of the visuals on
your web site.
Don't view your web site as a strictly promotional tool. Instead, view
it as a "service" or resource intended to help readers make the most of your
4. Encourage reader comments and questions
Use your web site to create an interactive relationship with your readers.
Solicit their comments and questions. Offer a prize for the best question of
the month and answer the question on your web site's home page. Respond to
reader e-mail as quickly as possible. If their comments are critical, create
a dialog and try to understand the criticism from your reader's point of
view. You'll likely gain new information and ideas that you would otherwise
5. Include testimonials and reader reviews
Whenever a reader writes a particularly favorable comment, immediately ask
them for permission to quote the comment and either their name, or their
initials and their city. Many readers will welcome the opportunity to share
their enthusiasm for your book with others. Most people like seeing their
words and their names in print.
6. Offer media resources
Create a "press room" where members of the media can download files
containing scanned images of you as well as the front cover of your book.
Scanned images which can be immediately downloaded make your book more
attractive to reviewers and other writers.
Include a "backgrounder" describing you and your firm's background as well
as your personal side. Include information that emphasizes the timeliness of
your book and its importance to your readers. Provide answers to frequently
7. Offer products and services based on your book
E-mail and your web site permit you to offer readers personalized assistance
that offers opportunities for on-going relationships. These
relationships represent win-win situations for both of you. Readers get
access to your knowledge and expertise, while you get to develop additional
sources of profit. Opportunities include telecoaching -- where you offer
one-to-one assistance based on weekly one-on-one telephone calls.
You could also develop four, eight of 12-week training programs based on
your book delivered via e-mail and weekly telephone calls. Each week,
participants call a single number, called a "bridge," and discuss the
reading and assignments which you sent out as e-mail attachments. A list
serve permits participants in a telecourse to send e-mail to all other
participants, exchanging ideas and promoting a sense of community.
You can also use the web to serve your readers by developing e-books, short
electronic books, that you sell directly from your web site. These can
consist of in-depth treatment of specialized topics that are appropriate for
8. Use Premium Content to obtain reader e-mail addresses
Premium Content is limited-distribution, high-octane information that you
send readers in exchange for providing their e-mail address and permission
to contact them again in the future.
Examples of Premium Content include articles that focus on particular
problems that have been brought to your attention since your book appeared
or in-depth treatment of topics too specialized to be included in your book.
Premium Content can also consist of your "reflections" on your book in the
light of current economic and social trends.
9. Publish an e-mail newsletter
You can do your readers a favor, as well as maintain your awareness and
pre-sell your next book, by publishing an e-mail newsletter. Make your
e-mail newsletter as genuinely helpful as possible. Instead of a long,
infrequently-published newsletter, offer a short nuggets of information that
appear at a regular basis. Readers are busy and will respond favorably to
concise, easily-digested information.
When soliciting reader e-mail addresses, always include your privacy
statement, which should state that you will never rent, sell or share your
readers' e-mail addresses. And make sure you live up to your promise!
10. Promote your book's URL in your e-mail signature
Give your e-mail recipients a reason to visit your book's web site. Don't
just list its address, but provide an incentive for them to visit. Arouse
their curiosity or offer them a valuable information premium they can
download when they visit. This is especially true when you participate in
online discussion groups or contribute a comment to an article that invites
Roger C. Parker is the author of more than 30 books that have
generated more than $32,000,000 in sales -- and have been
translated into 37 languages. We recommend his new book, "How
to Profit from the Author Inside You."
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