February 20, 2008
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING THAT WORKS - Part V: Free Advertising For You / Free Content For Them By Angela Hoy | 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 book 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 comment on them.
Last Week, we cozied up to websites that have good Google rankings.
This week, we're gonna drum up some free advertising in ezines, blogs, websites and maybe even some magazines.
If you can't/won't spend money to place ads in magazines, ezines, blogs and websites, you might still be able to get them to mention your book. How? By offering them free content to publish.
Remember the book excerpts we formatted during Week II? Well, let's see if we can get those published in some periodicals that are already serving your book's target audience.
It just so happens I have a new book that I launched this week, BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts that I will use as an example. Follow along with me, but use your book instead of mine.
THE INITIAL PITCH
I'm going to come up with a simple form letter that I will personalize and send to the editor/publisher of each periodical. I've found that a very personal, friendly approach works best for me but you may want to make yours a bit more formal, depending on the topic of your book. My letter will look something like this:
Hi [name of editor/publisher/blogger],
This is Angela Hoy, publisher of WritersWeekly.com and author of BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts.
I was wondering if you'd like to run a free excerpt of my book in your [newsletter/magazine/blog/etc.]. I would be happy to send you the excerpt as well as a free electronic copy of the entire book for your review.
If you have any questions, I'm right here.
Have a beautiful day!
FOLLOW-UP WHEN THEY BITE
Howdy [editor's first name],
Thanks so much for responding so quickly! Please find attached the free excerpt. It's in text-only format for your convenience. If you need it in a different format, no problem. Just let me know. You can publish the excerpt freely in your
publication and on your website.
If you have an Amazon affiliate account, you can point your readers to that link instead of to my website. That way, you'll make some money each time one of your readers buys a copy. If you're not familiar with that, let me know and I'll walk you through it. It's really easy. If this isn't something you're interested in, you can just put a link to my website under the excerpt (it already appears in my bio).
The actual book (not the excerpt - the entire book) is [1.2 megs]. Is it okay to email a pdf file of that size to you or do you want me to put it on our server for you to download?
Have a super afternoon!
FINDING THE PERIODICALS
1. Let's go to google.com and try to find ezines, websites, blogs, magazines, newsletters or any periodical that might be serving your target readers. For this lesson, I'm going to type in the key words and one type of publication at a time. I will
use the top five results. When doing this exercise for your book, you will want to use a variety of keywords and contact more than just the top five. The more, the better!
For my book, I'm looking for periodicals that serve writers. So, I'm going to type this into google for my book:
"freelance writers" blog
"freelance writers" ezine
"freelance writers" newsletter
"freelance writers" magazine
"freelance writers" website
I will also spin this into other keywords (like "freelance writing", "new authors", and more), thus ensuring I have an almost unlimited supply of periodicals to approach.
Okay, Google, here I come.
Results for "freelance writers" blog:
This is the blog written by the famous Debbie Ridpath Ohi. I should definitely contact her.
This is a freelance writing service and not really a publication so I'll skip it.
The freelance writing guide at About.com, Allena Tapia, might be interested in a free excerpt and a review copy of my book. I should contact her.
This is run by Angela Booth. She sells her own books on her site but she might be interested. I should contact her, too.
These are people I actually know and have run markets for in WritersWeekly so I'm definitely contacting them.
Let's try one more term before I wrap this up.
Results for "freelance writing" newsletter -
Gee, we own this. Nice to know our keywords are working!
This is a newsletter for writers so I'm definitely going to contact them.
This is another newsletter and they have extensive resources online. They might be interested in a free excerpt, too!
Food writers like to write cookbooks so I'll be contacting her for sure.
Marcia Yudkin has a great writing FAQ on your site. I'm going to contact her to see if she wants to publish a free excerpt.
This exercise is easy for fiction writers, too. If your book a romance? Try googling: "romance readers" newsletter. I did, and found Linda's Place: A Site for Romance Readers and Writers, among others.
Is your book a horror novel? Try googling "horror readers" blog. I found LibrarianInBlack: Horror readers advisory resource.
If you're having a hard time coming up with keywords, figure out which ones your competitors are using. Go to your fellow authors' websites and click View, Source or View, Page Source (different browsers have different commands but you're basically looking for the "source" on the page).
Have fun getting free press!
Next week, we'll start actively participating in discussion groups where our readers might be hangin'.