Long lead times has been the traditional rule of book publicity and marketing. I recall reading Thomas Woll’s classic “Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers.” He indicated that publishing houses often needed 2-3 years to develop a work from manuscript through release. While some of this had to do with getting a viable manuscript from signed authors, most of the lag time was due to the lead times required by traditional media outlets and sales venues. Authors and small presses using the blog to book approach however, have some low-cost, “time-shifting” options at their disposal. These can serve as “onramps” to the traditional marketing that most publishers do.
Use the blog to discover and build your audience while writing the book. We have discussed this at length in other posts. A blog is a wonderful platform for testing content with readers, getting comments (that can later become testimonials), and pre-marketing your book.
Transform your audience into a community. Community is a step beyond readership and is extremely powerful. Turning a loyal readership that has from an anonymous group of regular visitors to a community where members talk among themselves, create derivative content and recruit other members, is a terrific way to get word of mouth going.
Virtual book tours. This is a way to reach out to blog neighbors – blogs that share a topic interest – who are not already part of your community and give you exposure to their audiences. (For a quick overview of virtual blog tours see Dorothy Thompson’s article, “What is a Virtual Book Tour?” on The Writer’s Life e-zine.
Podcast readings or interviews. Podcasts are like a radio program without the geographical limitations. You can do serial podcast or be interviewed on someone else’s podcast. They are viral and give dimensionality to the author. They might also be a good way to showcase your appropriateness for traditional radio programs.
We briefly summarize the correspondence between the online tools and the traditional methods in the table below.
Market research tool
|Blog tour||Book signing|
|Podcasts||Radio / TV interviews|
The key in all of these is to track your blog metrics and use these as leverage in traditional book PR and marketing channels. Nothing gets the attention of traditional media like numbers that demonstrate you really do have an audience and it is consistent with their own.