Social networks continue to evolve commercial capabilities. Facebook has been the leader and has received much favorable press about their efforts to open up their software to developers who want to tap the creative and commercial capabilities of the service. Recently, Beth Whitman, who has published a new travel book for women traveling solo and is preparing for an extended book tour, told me her blog had seen a 40% rise in traffic and her book was getting good sales results from her social network marketing efforts on StumbleUpon and Facebook.
How can social networks help authors promote and sell their books? Here’s one example using a less familiar but potent social networking service.
Add your titles to LibraryThing. LibraryThing is a social networking service for booklovers that lets its members create and share catalogs of their favorite books. According to the site’s front page, there are over 18 million books cataloged on LibraryThing.
One of the most interesting features of the service is the ability for members to tag the books in their catalog in meaningful ways. When you search for books about a particular topic, you can enter keywords and view a list of titles cataloged by members using those tags. The site also shows you how many times the tag (or its aliases) have been used and by how many members. If you want to know more about your potential readership for this subject matter, you can follow these links and sample specific member profiles.
LibraryThing can also be used to do a little competitive sleuthing. Click on a title in the list and you see information about that book, as well as a list of recommendations that LibraryThing generates based on an algorithm that assembles members tags relevant to the subject.
- See what tags were applied to the particular book you selected.
- If you want your book to appear in similar searches, use similar tags.
- Read the member revviews, the number of members who have the book in their catalog, and their ratings for the book. This will tell you what actual purchasers liked and didn’t like.
Most importantly, there are also links on the books page to online booksellers so members can easily purchase your book. You can learn more about the inner workings of LibraryThing in the nice writeup by Robert Nagle on TeleRead.
Putting your titles on LibraryThing and similar sites like Shelfari is a great way to create exposure for your book among a group of avid readers and book buyers.