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For authors and publishers, the announcement and release of a new book is a big event, but for potential readers, it’s just one among an average of over 200 books a day.
(According to Bowker’s Book Industry Statistics, there were about 77,000 fiction and juvenile books published in 2008 in the USA alone – and that number doesn’t even include POD, short run and self-pubbed titles).
So how do we, as writers, get the word out in a way which makes our book stand out from all the others?
Sure, we can all rattle off a list of things that we think would work: book trailers; reviews; podcasts; advertisements; guest blog tours etc, but for the best answers, I think we need to look at promotion from the point of view of the potential reader.
The primary goal of all these promotional tools is not so much to make the sale, as it is to entice potential buyers to find out a little more about the product. Therefore, if you checked out the blurb as a result, even if you didn’t make a purchase, the promotion worked.

With that in mind, from the following list, please select which (if any) online promotional methods have led to you seeking out more information about a book:

Book trailer
First chapter posted online in print or as a podcast
Online announcement
Online competition
Online link
Online promotion
Online recommendation/review
Something else, which I’ll mention in the comments
I have no interest in finding out more about a book based on something I see online.

Has over-promotion ever put you off wanting to find out more about an author’s book?


Thanks in advance for your input. 
If you answered ‘Yes’ to the over-promotion question, feel free to elaborate in the comments, but please don’t name names.
Which online book-promotion techniques appeal to you as a reader?

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( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 27th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Overpromotion has never put me off a book. However, when I come across about the fifteenth squeeing review of the same book on my friends list, I do roll my eyes. If the book has seemed interesting to me, I'm still interested but... --but that's not the fault of the people posting the squeeing review. It just must mean that I must read the blogs of a lot of people with similar interests and tastes.
Feb. 27th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
Hehe, so long as it's not one person squeeing fifteen times, right? :)
Feb. 27th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
I'll be curious to see the results of this!!

When you say overpromotion, I think of the author overpromoting it. And yes, that can turn me off. When other people are talking about a book a lot, that doesn't turn me off. That actually makes me want to find out more.

And that's what we have to remember. As authors, the best thing we can do is write a book that makes other people talk about it. Talking about it ourselves all the time is NOT going to sell books.
Feb. 27th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
'When you say overpromotion, I think of the author overpromoting it.'

Me too. I think it's easy to cross the line between enough and too much.
Feb. 27th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
I used to frequent the a forum for one of the big 3 and every once in awhile somebody would start posting things like "I've got a book deal and need help picking which cover to use" and the like. I was surprised to see how many people fell for it. First of all, I've never heard of anybody getting to pick their own cover, or else Robert Jordan might have passed on the last six of his covers for having absolutely nothing to do with the books. So that was bogus. Also, it was just a way to entice would be buyers of the book, and then spamming the forum with "reviews" once the book was "published."

Totally annoying
Feb. 27th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
I will buy any books I liked that I have been reviewing on OWW that make the leap into print. By this, I don't mean self-published, I mean with real publishers.
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 27th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - darkspires - Feb. 27th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 28th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 27th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Feb. 27th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 27th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
The single biggest factor for me is either a rec from a friend or a review that sounds interesting. Trailers can do that, too, but they can also do the opposite.
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
I plan to do several trailers for Fur-Face in the year before it gets published.

My thinking is, so long as I can make them entertaining, some of the folks who see them might check out the book. After that, it's down to the blurb and people's personal taste.

Feb. 27th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I don't really read reviews, either by the critics or readers. It's just an opinion. Mostly, I like a description of the story, what genre, 1st or 3rd Person POV, etc... And a chapter or three posted helps a lot, too.
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
I think a sample chapter could make a big difference, but I guess you have to generate interest in reading it first.
Feb. 27th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
A competition alone wouldn't make me find out more, ditto for the other things - it would have to be accompanied by a blurb that I found interesting. I read a lot of book review blogs, so that's the main place I find new books at the moment - if I book pops up on a few of them in a couple of weeks, then that's another thing that makes me go and find out more about it.
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think the blurb is key. That said, I feel the main job of online promotion is to get people to want to read that blurb in the first place.

Thanks for sharing, Ailsa :)
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Recommendations from people whose opinion I respect and/or know have similar tastes to me carry the most weight. I also tend to notice books that are talked about/reviewed offline (radio, newspaper, etc)
but I guess that's not what you're talking about here. :)

Feb. 27th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Well, the recommendations from people thing can certainly happen online (though I think they work much better on me if I get them straight from the blogger's mouth, as it were, rather than a 'So and so loved my book' post on the author's blog).

Then again, that could just be me.

Thanks for the input, Sheela :)
(no subject) - sheela_chari - Feb. 27th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sheela_chari - Feb. 27th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 27th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
What grabs my attention mostly is reviews from people I do trust and engaging first chapters posted online.
I also love to read intriguing blurbs and I tend to search for author website and see if he or she has something else posted on the book I'm searching.
Over-promotion doesn't put me off, unless it's real intrusive. But as I follow lots of folks with similar interests that's kind of a risk.
Feb. 27th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I think that 'first chapter' thing is a good idea. Some folks will inevitably ends up not buying the book as a result, but I have to assume that the positives outweigh the negatives.
(no subject) - rowyn - Mar. 1st, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
There have been times when you can't turn around without tripping over a promotion for a book -- the same book, I mean. That generally makes me think the author is doing it all, and vanity publisher, because a real -- oops, I mean "traditional" publisher would probably know better.

Though I have to say that over-promotion, even of a non-vanity book, can also be off-putting just because the product can't possibly live up to the hype.
Feb. 27th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
There's also a huge difference between (say) reading ten blog posts from different people in one day and ten blog posts from the same person, don't you think?
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Feb. 27th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 28th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Feb. 28th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
Has over-promotion ever put you off wanting to find out more about an author’s book?

Yes. If that's all the person blogs about, I start skimming their posts and skip over any more mention of their book(s). I've seen this several times, with bloggers who posted their cover artwork a dozen times, kept track of its sales through Amazon or whatever, and so on. I love knowing about book signings, and behind-the-scenes stuff, but there's definitely something annoying about over-promotion.

Luckily, those bloggers moved on after the excitement wore off, and I'm back to reading their posts...

Feb. 28th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
I like the 'new baby' analogy, where some folks misjudge the level of interest friends might have in their offspring :)
(no subject) - jdawson001 - Feb. 28th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
I hear a lot of folks say they'll thumb through a book and/or read the first few pages in the store. I confess I've never done that. I just read the blurb and if it sounds appealing, I buy the book.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
I can't remember if I asked you this before, Irene, but have you tried audio books? It took me a while to get past the idea of reading at the narrator's pace, but I enjoy it now.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 28th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 28th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
As a reader, I have a list of books that I'd like to read that's...well, far longer than my arm! So I don't want to waste lose time on a book that doesn't do it for me. That's why, for me, the best sort of promotion is one that sells me on the story, or the author's ability, or some combination thereof. I have purchased books based on a chapter (or chapters) posted on the author's blog or elsewhere. I add to my list books that bloggers I respect rave about. But if I read an author's blog - even if it is an author that I like - and ALL they are talking about is their book release, promotions, tour stuff, etc...it does turn me off.
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC)
I think it comes down to that writer's balance thing (one part telling folks where to find your work to ten parts making them give a dang).

Thanks for sharing :)
Feb. 28th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
I don't think you always should put the whole first chapter up. I think that can give away too much. But lovely teasing snippets from random spots (usually the first third of the book) are nice. Ilona Andrews does GREAT teasers. I mean, just awesome.

I think interviews with book review sites is huge. And just network network network with as many readers as possible. Most of the books I buy are b/c I know the author... correction: most of the books I buy religiously on release day are authors I've gotten to know or get to interact with online.
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
I like the idea of snippets. I was thinking of doing some snippet podcasts of 100-200 words.

My online reading limit is about a thousand words. Any more than that and I prefer to download and read later, but I often don't do either.
(no subject) - mela_lyn - Mar. 1st, 2010 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 28th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
i don't know that i've seen something over done before i read it. so i can't say if it annoys me or not.

i like to hear the author and i like to read some of the book, get a feel for the style. trailers may get me to hunt down the author's website to look at what the author or book says, but they don't get me to buy the book.
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
'...trailers may get me to hunt down the author's website to look at what the author or book says, but they don't get me to buy the book.'

Absolutely, but I would say the trailer's succeeded if the person who saw it types in the link to the book's info page.

Thanks for sharing. Tracy :)
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Feb. 28th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
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