How to Promote Your Book

I am not promoting the book mentioned in these links. I have no personal stake in whether you buy it or not. I am using this as an example of a GREAT grass roots marketing idea.

Here is an e-mail I got from Sariah S. Wilson last week:


My first book, “Secrets in Zarahemla,” will be on bookstore shelves this week. In honor of my debut novel, I am offering several contests on my website,

I’m contacting you in hopes of spreading the word about my book and to give you the chance to participate in one of the giveaways, the “Secrets in Zarahemla Tell A Friend Contest.” I am hoping that you will tell your blog readers about this giveaway. The direct link to this contest is:

One reader can enter to win a free copy of “Secrets in Zarahemla” and a $50 gift card of their choosing. They will need to enter the name of your blog in the “who referred” them box.

The blogger/blog site that drives the most entrants to the contest will win their own $50 gift certificate and a free copy of my book.

The contest lasts until February 28, 2007.

Thanks so much!
Sariah S. Wilson

P.S. – If your blog has multiple posters, I will leave it to your discretion to determine how the prize should be awarded – whether you prefer to have it split up or to give the certificate away on your own site or have me donate to a charity in your name, etc.

Apparently this is working because I have seen her announcement on no less than 4 forums/message boards and 3 blogs that I regularly visit. This is a smart way to get the word out.

Here’s why it is good:

1. For me, Anonymous LDS Publisher, to have gotten this e-mail means that Sariah is sending announcements of her book to everyone she can think of. That’s good. I’ll bet everyone she knows from grade school on got a variation of this e-mail. (Just be aware that some people might consider this spam and delete without reading. Usually I do, but I recognized Sariah’s name from a blog that she does.)

2. She is targeting bloggers. Bloggers who write about her book and post links help spread the word and increase sales. When someone Googles her name or the title of the book, a whole slew of sites will show up. If they’re all saying good stuff it increases the buyer’s willingness to purchase the book. If you don’t think this is effective, I ask you, ever heard of “viral videos”? Also, getting on blogs is free advertising for Sariah’s book. (Some bloggers might ask for payment or a copy of the book and it might be worth it to oblige them, depending on their hit count.)

3. Speaking of blogs, before Sariah sent out this e-mail, she had been blogging regularly. People who like what they read on her blog are a lot more likely to purchase her book.

4. She has her website in the e-mail in two places, including a link that the reader can click on to go there. She has made it very, very easy for people to go find out more.

5. She’s sponsoring a contest–several in fact. Contests are always a good thing. The one that is really good is the “Tell a Friend” contest. You win by spreading the word about how others can win a contest.

6. When you actually go to Sariah’s website, it looks really cool. Very professional. A good web impression can be subliminal encouragement to buy the book. Even though our logical minds know that creating a website and writing a good book are two completely different skill sets, our emotional mind (which drives our book buying) does not. Like judging a book by its cover, we often judge an author by their website.

When your book is accepted for publication, talk to your publisher and start planning how you will get some grass roots publicity for your book. Sometimes the publisher will be willing to provide the cash, gift cards and books for your winners. Sometimes it will come out of your budget. But either way, this is a great way to use e-mail and the Internet to promote your book.

NOTE TO ALL AUTHORS: Please do NOT bombard me with e-mails about your books and expect them to be posted on this site. I have only posted this one because it is the first I’ve received here and because it is a great example of what to do and how to do it. I will not be posting any other e-mails of this type unless they show an exceptional grasp of marketing and/or provide a teaching moment.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

4 thoughts on “How to Promote Your Book”

  1. Wow, Sariah really is making an impact. I blogged about her as well and am very impressed with all she’s doing. The funny thing is that she didn’t ask anyone to blog her–we just did anyway 🙂 What a great start!

  2. Yep, I sent it to every single person I know including Yahoo groups I belong to and message boards I post on, and I asked everyone on my personal email list to forward the info to their friends and family as well. I spent a long time cultivating email addresses and things from the Internet to compile a list of people I didn’t know to see if I could get the word out there as well. Since I don’t live in Utah, my best bet was to use the Internet to try and contact possible readers.

    I did target bloggers, and I would say I was unknown to 99.5% of those people. I figured I didn’t really have anything to lose – either they would pass the info along or they wouldn’t. I did dread getting some nasty responses, but my fears were for naught and everyone who did contact me was delightful and supportive. I did have a couple of bloggers ask for a copy, and I am going to mail it out to them because they do have high traffic on their sites.

    My goal in this situation was to plaster my cover and to get it in people’s minds. Because I know how impulsive book buying is, and that if people are repeatedly exposed to my cover they just might pick it up the next time they go to a store.

    But I would also have to say that I think this particular style of campaigning is probably not repeatable. The novelty of it is what caught a lot of people’s attention(including LDS Publisher). I think if everyone started doing it or I did it with every book – people would pay less and less attention and might possibly even start getting annoyed.

    I knew it was sort of a one-shot deal, so I thought I should do it with this first book and hopefully get my name and the book’s title (Secrets in Zarahemla, in case anyone forgot) out there as much as I could.

  3. I’m not sure I agree with your statement that this is not repeatable and that if everyone started doing it people would get annoyed. And this is why:

    1. While there may be some overlap in e-mail lists between authors, there would be a lot more contacts that are original to the author. For example, I’d send the e-mail to my friends and family. These are not the same people that are your friends and family. The people they forward it to are also unique to each author.

    2. Good bloggers are always looking for something to talk about. They may not talk about your book without reading it first, but if you sent them a copy and they liked it they would. How often would this happen? Maybe a daily blogger would do a couple of book reviews a month? I don’t think that’s overdoing it.

    3. These types of e-mails are the commercials of the future. We’re used to seeing and hearing commercials on the radio and television. We’re used to getting junk snail mail. Sometimes we pay attention and sometimes we tune them out and/or throw them away. I think this will be the case with e-mails like this. We’ll read some if we’re in the mood. Delete them if we’re not.

    4. To say that if everyone started doing it, it wouldn’t work is like saying you can only have one commercial on TV or radio. We all know that’s not the case and we all know the power of commercials–annoying, yes; but our buying habits are influenced by them.

  4. Sariah’s marketing strategy is nothing new. Authors do this all the time. I’ve been to publicity seminars and this is just one of many ways authors can use the internet to reach potential readers. So Sariah, don’t limit this to your first book. No one else does!

Comments are closed.