Monday, May 18, 2009

Courtesy of Rowena Cherry: 25 Tips for Buzzing an Author or Book

My grandmother on the distaff side used to say, "If you've nothing nice to say, don't say anything..." Switch "nice" for "helpful" and you have my current philosophy.

I've recently been invited to become a contributing member of the blog "1st Turning Point", which got me thinking about what I have to offer (or pay forward), and I took a look at a 25 Ways to promo list which I assembled a while back. I'm astonished how important Amazon seemed three years ago. Now... I think my old list is out of date. So here's my new 25 point "To Do" list.

All authors for the purpose of this article will be considered female. (No sexism intended).

#1. Help the search engines find her. Why? Even if you know where to find your friend, her blog, and her books, “hits” help. The more visitors the search engine spiders find, the more priority the author's website gets. So: Google her. Ask Jeeves about her. Dogpile her. A9 search her. Use Alexa. Try a Yahoo search. Blog search. Search on Technorati. Even better, set up a Google Alert for her name, also common misspellings of her name, and for her book titles.

#2. Having “Searched” or been "Alerted", Visit… her website; blogs; author pages. If you may comment, do so. Everyone who takes the time to blog or post content is grateful when visitors comment. Human nature leads more people to read a post that has received a lot of comments.

#3 Follow. Favorite. Share. Google's Blogger, Twitter, Facebook "Pages", Squidoo lenses, You Tube videos and more allow you to become a follower or a fan. Do so. Connect wherever you can. It's good for both of you, because follower/fan photos show up.

#4 Click to read (and rate) any reviews she has written, or Lists she has set up. These days, anyone can make an EssentiaList on Barnes and Noble.com, a Listmania on Amazon.com, a Top Ten list on Chapters.Indigo.ca, also Listopia on GoodReads.com/ If you like her reviews or lists, click Helpful.

#5. If you see a good review of a book you've enjoyed—on any bookselling site that allows customers and visitors to comment on reviews-- click Helpful if it truly is a helpful review. Votes help both the reviewer and the author.

#6. Tag her books wherever you can. Amazon isn't the only place (Amazon isn't even one site… there's Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de etc etc) Many book selling sites encourage readers to tag.

What is a tag? It's a search term that a reader might be using to find a type of book she likes, when she is looking for a new author. Some tags might be "Romance", "Fantasy", "Mystery", "Shapeshifter", "Georgian Romance", "Humor" or "Space Opera".

#7. When you are on an admired author's Amazon book page, click on links to:
Put it on your wish list, it’s extra, free advertising for the book. Tell a friend. Scroll down the book page to Tag this product. Or make a search suggestion).

#8. Join in the Customer/Reader discussions on her book page, or on the forums. Ask a question. Start a discussion. Hundreds of eyeballs scan the discussions on Barnes and Noble bookclubs. The search engines pick up on the discussions. The longer a discussion keeps going, the better the PR buzz for your friend. This does not just apply to Amazon and B&N. Discussion anywhere is "buzz".

#9. Review her book… Most people know that a customer can write a review on Amazon.com. There's a purchase requirement with Amazon (and I think with Barnes and Noble, too). However, many sites don't require a reader to have bought a book from them in order to post a review: GoodReads.com, Shelfari.com, LibraryThing.com, E-Bay, Powells, FlipKart, We-Read (on Facebook), NexTag etc etc.

#10. Smak her. Have you ever noticed the "Add This" or "Share" or "Recommend" widgets on online pages and on You Tube? If you think your author friend's blog, or news about her is interesting, syndicate the news to Digg It, Reddit, Technorati, Stumble Upon, Furl and as many of the other 40 or so sites as you have time and energy for. It's self promo when she does it. It's news when someone else does it.

Smak is SmakNews.com. News for women, posted by women.

#11. If the author has a reminder on a public calendar (Amazon has one, other sites have the function, too) for a booksigning near you, click on Remind Me Too. Booksignings are nerve-racking. Support is always appreciated, even if you don’t buy a book.

#12. If she lists an "Event", which one can on Facebook, GoodReads, and too many other places to mention, be sure to RSVP with a kind comment about the book.

#13. Make her a top friend on MySpace, Bebo etc, Give her book cover image as a "gift" on Facebook, with her permission, make her cover into a widget or tile it as a background, or keep it on the top page of your Shelfari/GoodReads/MyB&N display of what you are reading.

#14. If you have a MySpace page or Bebo.com, or Twitters, or Clasmates.com, or facebook.com, or theyack.com (and if you don’t, but really want to help, get one… it’s free) invite your author friends to be your friends there. Write a bulletin about your friend or her book. Add a comment on their profile page’s comments section. Your comment is their opportunity to say something about their book without the appearance of soliciting. Review their book on your MySpace blog. Or on You Tube!

#15. If her publisher has a forum, join it and ask her questions. For instance, Dorchester Publishing (home of Leisure and LoveSpell authors) has http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/

Again, your comment will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and it will give your friend a reason to post something interesting and quotable about her book without seeming to be self-promoting.

#16. If you have a blog or website, (and you should always secure your own domain name before you become famous yourself) publicize your friend’s upcoming signings/author talks/workshops on your blog. Mention her website URL. Link to your author friend’s website or blog on yours. Put her book as a 'must read' on your own site, or in your own newsletter. Have a list of links to authors you like, and blogs you enjoy.

#17. If you belong to readers’ group sites, or book chat sites, or special interest sites, post what you are reading. Plugs never hurt. These are also picked up on RSS feeds and the search engines.

#18. Join your favorite author’s yahoo group, let her know where you’ve seen her book in stores, or where you’ve seen discussions of her book, or reviews of her book.

#19. Drop in on her online chats to say how you enjoyed her book. Supportive friends at chats are cool because chats can be chaotic, and typing answers takes time.

#20. Tweet on Twitter about how much you are enjoying the book. Retweet or reply to any comments you see that promote the book, or the author.

#21. Offer to take a bunch of her bookmarks to conventions, or conferences, and make sure they are put in goodie bags, or on promo tables. Or simply visit her table at a convention, and sign up for her newsletter, or pick up her bookmark and tell someone else how good the book is. Offer to slip her bookmarks into your own correspondence when you pay bills, taxes, etc.

#22. Instead of quoting Goethe in your sig file, try quoting a line from your friend’s blurb in the week of her launch.

#23. Ask for her book in your local library. If they don't have it, maybe they will order a copy. If the library won't do that, ask if they would enter the book in their system if the author were to donate a copy to them. Once a book is in one library's system, it gets into the database for other libraries.

#24. If you see your favorite author’s books in a supermarket or bookstore: face her books (if there is room), turn one so the cover shows. Tell store personnel how much you like that book, or that the author is local. If you don’t see her books, especially when they ought to be there, ask about them.

#25. If you are connected on LinkedIn.com and your author friend is listed as "Author" or "Freelance Writer" or similar, consider "recommending her" on the strength of her writing. Recommendations on LinkedIn are intended to be for professional purposes.


Bonus Tip:
If you are an author buy colleagues' autographed books from them at booksignings to use in your own giveaways instead of always giving away your own books.


Rowena Cherry http://www.rowenacherry.com

What makes Rowena Cherry tick?:

My goal as an author is to give good value…to entertain. I expect to provide my readers with six to eight hours of amusement, a couple of really good laughs, a romantic frisson or two from the sensual scenes, a thoroughly satisfying Happy Ever After, something to think about when the book is finished.

My books are:
Forced Mate (2004)
Humorous, futuristic take on "abduction" Romances

Mating Net (e-book, short, politically incorrect)
The prequel to Forced Mate.

Insufficient Mating Material (2007)
A "SURVIVORMAN" endorsed, castaway romance

Knight's Fork (2008) Political satire.
Helen of Troy in outer space seeks reluctant sperm donor.

BIO
Rowena Cherry is unreliably psychic. She has exceptionally good hearing, an eye for detail, and a near-photographic memory. And, she’s lurked and observed from some of the world’s most glamorous and privileged vantage points. Of course, she’s also incredibly discreet!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is a great list. I'm coyping it and am going to try a few things out for my favourite authors.

Unfortunately, I don't belong to alot of those sites like MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and such...I just don't have the time to keep up there.

But there are some other tips I can use.

By the way, I have most of your books....keep up the good work!!

Valerie
valb0302@yahoo.com

Sutton Fox said...

Fantastic list with realistic tips anyone can do. What a great way to help my friends, especially after they've spent so much time helping me with my writing. Excellent post! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Those are very good tips, now how about we had a few extra hours to the day to keep updating all of those other sites? I'm bad enough trying to keep my own website up to date :)

take care,
Annette

www.annettegisby.n3.net

Miriam Newman said...

Great list, Rowena; thanks! I would never have thought of half of these things.

Maithe said...

Hi Rowena!

Great tips! I try to do many of the things you have listed, but I don't do the Twitter, Myspace, or other such sites. I just can't keep up with them. *L*

However, word of mouth is a fantastic way to help out! I have a private group where we discuss authors we have found or books we have really enjoyed and it gets to the point where we have all the books for many of the authors we have discussed. It helps tremendously when one passes along a good word about a book or an author. *G*

Amazon will let you leave a review even if you don't buy from them. The only reason I know this is because I sometimes do reviews for an author and she sends me the books. So far, I have not had a problem...let us keep our fingers crossed.

I am a great fan of yours and the ladies in my private group are as well. Good luck with everything!!

Hugs,

Maithe

RowenaBCherry said...

Hello, Valerie,

I'm sure I recognize your name. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words about my books.

Twitter.com is one of the quickest to sign up for. You only need a name and a password, a sentence about yourself, and perhaps a photo.

But I agree, it is time-consuming, even to microblog. Since MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook are the most popular right now, you might grab an account before someone with the same name does so.

There are at least two other ladies whose real name is Rowena Cherry. Luckily for me, I got to Facebook and Twitter first.

All the best,
Rowena
http://ViralFollowers.com/SpaceSnark/vu

RowenaBCherry said...

Sutton,

Thank you so much for your kind words.
I'm glad you can use some of my tips.

Best wishes,
Rowena

RowenaBCherry said...

Hey, Annette!

Some of my colleagues say that one should have one or two sites and keep them updated, and that an elderly, out-of-date site is worse than no site.

I mildly disagree with them... I have a lot of pages that are outdated. I update everywhere when I have a new book, or a new trailer.

However, sites like Squidoo (my lenses are my books' titles) and Brownbook.net promise to earn money for my favorite charities without me doing a thing beyond setting up my pages.

BTW. My favorite charities are http://cskdetroit.org (the Capuchin brothers' organic soup kitchen in Detroit)
and http://eyeson.org (The Detroit Institute for Ophthalmology fund-raiser)

:-)
Rowena Cherry

RowenaBCherry said...

Hi, Miriam,

Thank you for the compliment.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

RowenaBCherry said...

Hi, Maithe,

Thank you for your kind comments, and for setting me straight about Amazon.
Perhaps I was thinking of Amazon.co.uk .

You are definitely correct about the value of word of mouth.

All the best,
Rowena

Morgan O'Reilly said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to Rowena for sharing her wit and wisdom with us!

I'm hanging onto this list and using it to help my friends as much as I can. We're all limited by time, but everyone can find at least one thing they can easily do.

Be sure to check out Rowena's books. So far I've only read Forced Mate and loved it!

Rowena Cherry said...

Morgan,

Thank you (and your readers) very much for your kind hospitality and generous words.

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