Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Tell Me: Best Book Promotions

We live in the Freeium era, as documented by Chris Anderson in his book Free. I'm all for giving something in the hopes of gaining a new reader, a new convert, a new fan, and engaging my readership in general, but the practice poses some challenges for writers. Such ask knowing what--out of the sea of options available today--works best.

With The Taker set to launch in less than three weeks, I've been thinking about how to promote the book. Gallery, the publishers, have this well covered. For instance, folks who purchases ecopies will get a bonus: a chapter from The Reckoning, the second book in the trilogy. They've designed widgets and all kinds of neat online stuff to attract and entertain readers.

What I'm talking about here are things to supplement their efforts, and I could use is your help in understanding which bonuses and swag and enticements readers prefer:

1. Electronic content: Lots of options here. In addition to putting a "teaser" chapter from The Reckoning online (though probably down the road) we're thinking of putting up short stories that provide some insight into key characters' backstory, or little spin-off tales. What are your favorite ways authors have used the online space to extend your experience/enjoyment of a book?

2. Swag: I love swag, but am well aware that one man's treasure is another man's dross. Do you like to receive a tchotchke when you attend a reading or visit an author at a convention? If so, which are the items you keep and which are the ones you toss?

3. Bookplates: It seems the practice of providing signed bookplates is well entrenched at this point--and for the record, I have bookplates available for anyone who'd like their book signed but can't make it to a reading. What's your feeling on bookplates? Have you requested one from an author or is the whole idea bit meh to you? Is there some other signed memento you'd prefer?

4. VIP clubs: Increasingly, authors are setting up opportunities for fans to get exclusive privileges: opportunities to meet with the author when they come to their area or holding private "members only" events at conventions; exclusive econtent or even printed novellas, etc; special merchandise not available to the general public. How do you feel about these? Have you joined one or would you consider joining one, and if so, what kinds of exclusive enticements would interest you?

I look forward to reading your answers in the Comments section, and I'll summarize in a future blog post if I receive a lot of responses. Thank you in advance for your help!


  1. As far as swag, I received an ink pen with a writers name on it. This has been my favorite swag.

    Bookplates...not my thing. When I do reviews or win a book and an author does the actual signing to me in the book, I love it. A bookplate just isn't my thing, but some may like it.

    I've not gone to any VIP signings, but I think book bags, pens, bookmarks would be staples...not really sure what else, hope you get more feedback :)

    I read a number of book review blogs (and have my own) and I've found bookgiveaways are great. They really get people looking at your book (they'll read the review and sign-up to win) then if they don't win they have already on some level decided they want to read it. I know for me I've ordered a number of books I've tried to win.

    Best of Luck with your new book! Love the cover and sounds great!

    Laura Kay

  2. Temporary tattoos, posters, red roses are great, however, we at GITS typically shy away from it. We think it works great for the younger crowd. As for bookplates, we like them. Though we rarely request them. We prefer in-person autographing.

  3. Create a forum that allows your fan base to come to you in a centralized area. This allows everyone, everywhere interaction with the author, rather than piecemeal. You can host events at the forum and then utilize bloggers everywhere to help promote each event held within the forum. Your interactions with the participants in the forum is just as much fun as if they got the chance to talk to you at a book signing. The benefits to this is you can hit a much larger audience at once and you can do it all in your pajamas.

  4. Bookplates seem to be popular, but just aren't my thing. I prefer bookmarks, as they don't collect dust, are useful, and can be collectors items! I also like tote bags, but those are more expensive than bookmarks, so aren't as practical.

    I like Fiction Fool's idea of a fan forum, but only if there is interaction between you and your fans. That turns into a time issue though.

    Good luck with the book! Looking forward to reading it!

  5. Seanan McGuire has some great ways of interacting with her readers (and some great books to read) - also, I found your name via John Scalzi's blog "Whatever" so he may have good ideas as well.