Thursday, January 01, 2009

Borrowing Great Promotion Ideas from Smart Publishers

The Southern Review reports that one publisher has offered to give free review copies of some of his books to bloggers who promise to post a review of at least 200 words on both their blogs and on Amazon. Smart publisher. that guy! He's smart 'cause:

*Even though the book may be given to a couple of people who would otherwise buy one, the percentage would probably be very small.

*You're after inundation of the net in a few short weeks to propel sales in a given time frame. Note: This process doesn't necessarily have to be done only as you launch a book. What's wrong with keeping a book alive?

*Giving away a book plus postage is very cheap exposure compared to advertising (advertising is by its nature paid-for exposure).

*Bloggers talk to people and word-of-mouth is the best sales tool around, and once they've blogged, they may talk up your book in other ways, especially if you follow up with a great thank you letter afterward (even if you weren't crazy about the review!). If the review was favorable you could ask the reviewer to include the book on a reading list (if he is a teacher), recommend it on his website, or even add it to one more online bookstore like after you've complimented him on how much you loved it.

*People who accept the offer become part of your network if you save their e-mail address.

Individual authors could do the same with their own book as this publisher did for the book he published. Why not? We give lots of copies to friends and relatives who often never read our books anyway, right? So commit them. Or we could make an offer to the general public and limit the number of books we offer.

Think about this before you do it, though. You must be comfortable with the idea that a review is an opinion and the reviewer is welcome to voice it. If they hate your book and say so, as a professional you can't go back and ask them to withdraw their review or change it. It is against journalism ethics. Having said that, I never suggest a reviewer do a complete slash and burn of a book. A tactfully worded letter to the author that the reviewer is reneging on his or her offer to review because it appears the reviewer and book are not well matched is far kinder--and also more professional.

Some days I'm a very quick learner. So here's my offer. I will give away 25 of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (published by Red Engine Press) to those who will post a review of 200 words or more on their blogs and post the same review (or slightly different) on before January 30th, 2009.

To do so, send an e-mail with REVIEW BOOK REQUEST in the subject line to Include your address and preferred e-mail address, the title of your book and your web address, because an added bonus will be a thank you in my Sharing with Writers newsletter. It will include a link to your site. If you have already reviewed The Frugal Editor, and want to participate, let me know and I will extend the offer to either Harkening, This Is the Place or Tracings.

Another idea: I added a classified advertising page to It's very inexpensive Only $10.00 and I'll run any book-related ad for up to a year. (You get to tell me when to take it down if your ad is time-sensitive). That would be a good place to help get the word out about your review campaign.

And did I happen to mention that when you write a review and include your byline and tagline, the review becomes a mini promotion for your book? You'll find more details on how that works in The Frugal Book Promoter.

Happy promoting! And yes, writing and editing, too!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

PS: And if you don't make the cut-off for this offer, please don't be upset. I'll do another such offer soon with another of my books. (-: Only maybe with that one, I'll only offer e-copies. There's another idea for you!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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