Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Truth About Book Clubs

Given the chance, would you make in-person visits to book clubs as part of your book promotion campaign? Before you decide, read Curtis Sittenfeld's essay in the New York Times called "You Hate Me, You Really Hate Me."

Curtis talks about visiting book clubs where the primary topic is, well, let's just say more physiological than literary. Yes, we'll all do a lot to promote books. But will we listen to discussions about how irritating a specific hero (or heroine) might be? Or will we be a fly on the wall while book club members discuss bodily functions, diet, and other issues that have nothing at all to do with books?

Probably not. Book clubs can be an integral part of book promotion campaigns -- but only for very brave, and very thick-skinned -- authors who can let criticism roll off of them.

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Book Promotion by Book Giveaways

Every time I read an article like this one about, it strikes me that giving books away is a great book promotion idea. Why doesn't everyone get involved in Everyone wins: readers get free books, people get to pass along enjoyable books they've finished reading and don't know what else to do with, and bookstore owners get more foot traffic. What could be a more perfect way to create buzz about a book than to watch it travel all around the country, passing from hand to hand, creating small ripples of visibility and interest wherever it goes?

This isn't about, though. Any time you give away a book, you're creating book promotion potential. A radio station that gives away three copies of your book will have to mention your book on the radio, and the winners will have to mention your book to friends, coworkers, and relatives. Even if you stand outside your local library and hand out copies of your book, you'll be promoting your book.

So why don't all authors get excited about book giveaways as part of their book promotion campaigns? Well, when one national radio interview can get thousands, or tens of thousands, of people talking about a book, perhaps it's less exciting to think about three or five or seven people at a time finding out about your book via giveaways.

Still, if each of those three or five or seven people tell their friends about your book, and they tell their friends, and so on . . . how many book sales might that generate? Book giveaways can be a smart (and inexpensive part) of an effective book promotion campaign. Why not give it a try?

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