Roger C. Parker reports:
"If you've written a book, you can easily and inexpensively use e-mail and your [website] to promote it...Books tend to get 'lost' when grafted onto existing [websites]. For best results, create a [website] specifically intended to promote and support your book. This permits you to focus all of the site's resources on promoting your book...Choose a [website] address based on your book's title, rather than your name. If you have done a good job of choosing your title, your title will be easier to remember than your name. You can easily cross-link your existing [website] to your book's [highly focused website]...One of the best ways to promote your book is to allow readers to download a table of contents plus one or more sample chapters from your [website]...To the extent that your sample chapter communicates competence and easy reading style, readers will be motivated to buy your book. Remember that uncertainty is the biggest obstacle you must overcome when making a sale to a stranger. In a bookstore, prospective buyers can thumb through your book. Online, readers can't do that...Use a desktop publishing software program to format your sample chapters for easy reading. Use Adobe Acrobat to create PDF files that will be sent to readers as e-mail attachments...[I]nclude as many reasons as possible for readers to visit your [website]. Success requires more than simply listing your [website] address in your biography or on the last page of the book. Give readers valid reasons to visit your site. Offer downloadable versions of reader engagement tools like checklists and worksheets. Promise updated content and new information...If your book is in black and white, but includes photographs or charts, post color versions of the visuals on your [website]. Don't view your [website] strictly as a promotional tool. Instead, view it as a 'service' or resource intended to help readers make the most of your book...Use your [website] to create an interactive relationship with your readers. Solicit their comments and questions. Offer a prize for the best question of the month and answer the question on your [website's homepage]. Respond to reader e-mail as quickly as possible. If their comments are critical, create a dialog and try to understand the criticism from your reader's point of view...Whenever a reader writes a particularly favorable comment, immediately ask them for permission to use the comment with either their name, or their initials and their city. Many readers will welcome the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for your book with others. Most people like seeing their words and their names in print...Create a 'press room' where members of the media can download files containing scanned images of you as well as the front cover of your book. Scanned images which can be immediately downloaded make your book more attractive to reviewers and other writers. Include a 'backgrounder' describing you and your firm's background as well as your personal side. Include information that emphasizes the timeliness of your book and its importance to your readers. Provide answers to frequently asked questions...E-mail and your [website] permit you to offer readers personalized assistance and opportunities for [ongoing] relationships. These relationships represent win-win situations for both of you. Readers get access to your knowledge and expertise, while you get to develop additional sources of profit...Premium Content is limited-distribution, high-octane information that you send readers in exchange for providing their e-mail address and permission to contact them again in the future. Examples of premium content include articles that focus on particular problems that have been brought to your attention since your book appeared or in-depth treatment of topics too specialized to be included in your book. Premium content can also consist of your reflections on your book in the light of current economic and social trends...You can do your readers a favor, as well as maintain your awareness and pre-sell your next book, by publishing an e-mail newsletter. Make your e-mail newsletter as genuinely helpful as possible...[O]ffer short nuggets of information that appear on a regular basis. Readers are busy and will respond favorably to concise, easily digested information. When soliciting reader e-mail addresses, always include your privacy statement, which should state that you will never rent, sell or share your readers' e-mail addresses. And make sure you live up to your promise!...Give your e-mail recipients a reason to visit your book's [website]. Don't just list its address, but provide an incentive for them to visit. Arouse their curiosity or offer them a valuable information premium they can download when they visit. This is especially true when you participate in online discussion groups or contribute a comment to an article that invites reader response."
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