Monday, March 17, 2008

Kitchen reflections

Have you run out of inspiration for the moment? Take a break from book promotion, and do something personal for yourself. In this way, you will create a better balance in your day. Trust that the things you have set in motion are working for you. Allow them time to bear fruit.

Sometimes, the best ideas come while we are not fully engaged in thinking about them. Small manual tasks such as washing dishes or walking often allow us to get into the relaxed, day dream state which allows new solutions to appear in our thoughts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Get yourself a HubPage, and a little about Web 2.0

HubPages is similar to Squidoo. You get a free page where you can write an interesting article to entice people to look at your book. You can add a photo and links, an Amazon section, and so on. Mine looks like this: Reclaim your life and find happiness again

When you use a site like HubPages or Squidoo, you are harnessing the power of the collective to give your page greater authority and search engine recognition.

This is the power of what the marketing experts are calling Web 2.0, a great networking of individuals. For more on Web 2.0, see Wikipedia.

Be a part of the great sharing!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free publicity at Squidoo

Squidoo's philosophy is that everyone is an expert. They are allowing anyone to have a page on any topic, for free. The system is funded by advertising revenue.

The benefits are all explained on their home page, here:

You can showcase your book, add links to it's page at Lulu or wherever, links to your blog and Amazon, say what you want about it, and get feedback too. There are common interest groups you can join, and the system will allow you to create a page about yourself. In addition, there is a lot of cross-linking on the site, which gives you higher ranking on Google and other search engines.

Here is the link to my page, by way of example:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Author websites which promote your book for free

There are websites which will promote your book for free. The ones I've seen seem to have largely altruistic motives, as they are also self-published authors looking for exposure. Some use the promotion to get a kickback on sales from Amazon. Either way, it works for the author.

Here are some which you might like to try:

Anne's Book Corner - offers free book review exchange.

The Book Attic - offers free book review exchange.

Here are some more, added 17 June 2008:

The Story Behind the Book - send in the background story of your book and it will be posted in their blog.

Book Marketing Buzz - send in your request for free publicity.

Beyond the Books - submit a request to be interviewed.

Sheila Stewart's Book Cover Lovers - email Sheila from the link in the sidebar.

Use your social networks - forums, facebook, myspace, yuwie...

Do you belong to any chat forums? Tell your virtual friends about your book. Put a link or title of the book in your signature. It doesn't have to be heavy selling, just mention it.

Facebook, Myspace and Yuwie are all examples of social networking sites where people blatantly promote themselves. Some do it with more finesse than others, but everyone wants to be noticed and so they will make an effort to look at your page too, just to be sociable. Yuwie users have the added incentive of being paid for page views, so they are a very friendly bunch. In addition, Yuwie is flooded with ideas for promotion of anything under the sun!

The main thing you need to do is to set up your page on any of these sites. This will include a photo of you (or whatever picture you like, it could be your book cover), your interests and your contact details (which can include your book's web page or your blog). It is up to you how much information you provide or make public, but don't make it too hard for people to see your page, or you'll defeat the purpose. Then, it is time to meet people. Contact on these sites is usually pretty "light" and uncomplicated, not too stressful at all.

Social networking sites have groups or clubs, which you can easily start up, or join. The groups cover many topics and you will easily find one or more which might have an audience for your book. There are also author promotion groups, which sometimes have good information.

Lulu and Amazon have widgets which you can install on your social networking site to feature your books. The Lulu Facebook widget is quite nice and extremely easy to add. (A widget is a piece of code which they provide, and which is usually quite easy to install.)

Promote locally

Walk into your local newspaper or radio station and tell them that you are a local author. You will probably get an interview or book review, and that is free publicity.

Leave copies of your book on consignment with any shop which will take them. Think outside the square. In addition to bookshops and newsagencies, try the local tourist information centre, knick-knack shops in small towns on the highway, any place where people are likely to wander around with some time and money to spare.

Leave posters advertising your book at the local library, cafes, bulletin boards.

Donate a copy to your local library. Leave free copies at your local cafe, with contact details inside.

Tell all your friends and relations about your book. Those who can afford it will be happy to buy a copy to show their support.

Publish for free

I published my first book in May 2007 with a local publisher. It cost me $8000 for 1000 copies.

Later I found out about Lulu Press ( At Lulu, you can self publish your book for free. This is possible because Lulu print the books as they are ordered, so there is no up-front cost.

Once your book is available on Lulu, it has it's own free web page, and you have your own storefront. All payments and shipping are handled by Lulu, and you get paid once a month. You can also buy copies of your book from Lulu at a special author price.

For the fee of $99, Lulu will also provide you with a barcode, and your book will be eligible for sale through Amazon and similar online retailers.

I have put all my books on Lulu now. At first I did it in order to have access to Amazon, but now I just automatically go to Lulu as it is the easiest and quickest option, and free! You can see my storefront at Lulu and an individual book's web page.

Why this blog?

I have self-published a couple of books, and since then I've had the challenge of promoting them without the luxury of backing from a publisher or money for extensive advertising or promotion. This has led me to try many different ways to promote my books for free, or for a low cost.

Here I will share what I have learned, and I am hoping to hear about methods which I have not yet considered. If you have any ideas, please share!