Book Promotion

In reviewing some of my old posts, I was surprised that I had not written specifically about internet marketing strategies even though I have followed several web sites and blogs on this topic for the past three years. My focus has shifted recently from marketing strategies for freelance writers and small businesses to book promotions for authors since I have a new book.
In summary, the key seems to be getting book reviews and getting exposure through free giveaways either through Amazon or other book sellers. The premise is if you get enough people to read your book (with the incentive that they can read it for free) and you get enough good reviews, then that will start the log rolling and your standing and status will grow and thereby increase your sales.
Well, having been involved in various promotion and marketing strategies for more than 40 years, I understand there are more than one way to skin a cat. Of course, the cat now has become a virtual avatar rather than a live entity so some of the rules have changed. The primary difference now is that the techniques are cheaper, more targeted, and less focused on the mass media or direct personal contacts. The cliché of the author’s “platform” has changed from public visibility and expertise on a particular issue to simply broad exposure via as many social media outlets as possible.
You’ve got to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, have a blog and a web site; and for authors you need to be reviewed and read as widely and often as possible even if you have to give away your books to do so. The rationale is that you will build reader loyalty and thereby establish a brand. Well, that’s fine if you’re a best-selling author and you can “sell” your books, but I’m still cautious about how much you can earn if you continue to give away your products.
As a traveling book salesman for a major publisher many years ago, I used to give out “samples” of a few of our books to our existing clients simply to maintain contact. It was a conversation breaker on my personal visits and opened the door more directly than talking about the weather or personal interests. But the ratio of free vs. sold was infinitesimal. Of course, the major cost was my travel expenses that took thousands of dollars right off the top of my sales.
I’ve been absorbed the past two weeks studying a multitude of web sites and blogs offering advice and strategies for getting book reviews and other promotions, but I won’t get into cataloging those now. I’m still figuring out which ones are useful and which are simply self-promotions without any real value.
Now that I’m trying to reach readers directly rather than literary agents, editors, or publishers my strategies will need to change. The Internet makes that possible, but the clutter of dozens of promotional possibilities makes it a complex tangle to unravel. And that’s where I am at this point.
Anyone have any suggestions?

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