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Internet Title Publicity... Where to start

by Wendy J. Woudstra   


Do I need a Web page?

Publishers of all shapes and sizes have asked themselves that question often in the last few years. Most of them answer in the affirmative, some without knowing why.

I hate to stand alone on any issue, but I believe that a Web page is not necessarily the most important component of an Internet publicity campaign. In fact, many publishers that have Web sites have found that a site alone produces no noticable results whatsoever.

While selling your books with a Web page of your own is beneficial, if you're low on cash, and can't make the time to learn how to design a page yourself, consider the multitude of sites on the Web that can sell your book for you.

Even if you've never been on the Web before today, chances are your book is already here. If you're listed with Books in Print, or distributed by Ingram, you're likely to find your titles listed in the databases of online bookstores like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Enhancing your listing with these online bookselling giants (See Amazon's content submission guidelines) will likely increase your sales. Send them a cover image of your book, send their editorial departments a copy to review, fill in the author interview section, book information section, and post bits from any reviews you've received. If no customers have sent in reviews of your book, consider giving a few acquaintances, or even total strangers, a complementary copy if they will post a review to Amazon and B&N.

Once you've got that done, search the Web for sites with topics related to your book. About.com is a good place to start looking for high-quality topical sites. Email the site owners or web masters of the best sites, and let them know of your book. If they are an Amazon.com 'Associate' or a BarnesandNoble.com 'Affiliate', give them the appropriate link to your title. Offer them information, an interview with the author, or an article related to the book in order to help them build content for their site and better sell your books. If the site seems to enjoy a fair amount of traffic, offer to send them a copy for review. You may find that this method of spreading yourself all over the Net is more profitable that having your own site!

Spread your name around the Internet community even more by participating in email discussion lists about your topic. Offer good, reputable information, and be sure to include your contact information (and maybe even your link at Amazon) in your email signature. Don't overtly try to sell on these lists, but rather give out free information till you think you've given away too much. Then give a little bit more. You'll find that the more you give, the more trust you gain, and likely, the more books you'll sell.

One final note: Save all your posts to these lists, save any articles you've written, and before you know it, you'll have more than enough content for a good sized Web site, and a large targeted audience to announce it to once it's done.

by Wendy Woudstra