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I know that many authors – and especially first-time authors – work hard to promote their books and constantly look for new ways to gain exposure. Promoting one’s book on a budget is an even bigger challenge.

Book promotion is an important topic, and I’m happy to stray from book reviews for a day for a guest post by Barry Eva. Barry’s book, Across the Pond, was published last October and was only available for purchase online. Less than a year and 77 Amazon reviews later, publishers are now offering the book with a buy back option to book shops.

Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England. In 2000, he left his beloved country and went to the USA to be with the woman he’d met and fallen in love with on the Internet. With his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm, Barry is a much thought after interviewee on radio and TV. He resides in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

Here are Barry’s thoughts on book promotion…

Things I wish I’d known before I started out on the published authors trail:

As all writers know there are many places on the web the offer you various services to help you become the “next best selling author”, and while many are there to help you, some other are just there to make as much money as possible from any unsuspecting author.

Plenty of places are out there, plenty of emails and contacts come your way. However, before you jump on the sometime costly bandwagon, just see what is there for perhaps less money or with a better service.

See what the best “BANG FOR YOU BUCK” might be.

BEFORE YOU START:
Before you go anywhere remember these words…

Marketing and PR doesn’t sell books – it gets you exposure!

As one of my fellow bloggers and radio hosts put it today…

Publicity=exposure
Exposure=name recognition
Name recognition MAY equal book sales

Don’t think that just because you have your book being published you will be the next J.K Rowling. There are not that many authors out there who actually make a living from their books. So in other words:

“Dream of the day… but don’t lose touch with reality”

SO YOUR BOOK IS BEING PUBLISHED:

Before the ink is out of the bottle, let alone dry on the pages of your book you should have some items to aid your book promotion already set up.

You should look to set up the following:

Facebook Page
My Space Page
Blog
Book Email
Twitter Account
Web Site

There are plenty of places out there which will offer services for such things sometimes charging over $1000.

I received information from a “Marketing and Promotion” company, which offers many such items, their charge for setting you up with these services was $149.

Setting up these Social Networking options and locations costs “$0.00… Nothing… Zero”. Any person who has access to a computer can go on the internet, create exactly what these companies offer for nothing, and achieve the same results in under an hour.

There are many other “free” ways of passing on news VOX, XANGA, LIVE JOURNAL, MSN, AOL to name a few.

One other thing that is very important is to be author must be aware of how much time you can dedicate to social media. If you sign up for 50 sites, but never update them, then they’re useless.

While ping.fm helps you update multiple sites at a time, it is still limited in what it can work with, so authors really need to decide how much time they have and only sign up for the sites you can commit to.

Don’t forget, the more you’re out there… the more exposure, name recognition and “possibly” sales.

WEB PAGE:

Every author “MUST” have a web page.

If I type an author’s name into Google and don’t see a website, I can’t easily find more information on the book they are selling.
Authors need to realize that the book buying community is just as busy as everyone else. If I can’t find what I am looking for on the Internet in under five minutes—and I’m being generous here because I won’t even give it that long—then I’m moving on to something else. Some authors use blogs as websites, but they really aren’t set up to provide all the information that a website does.
Publicists, blog hosts, interviewers, readers, radio hosts or anybody who wants information – the first place they look for information is “the authors’ web page”.
There are many companies that offer a service of setting up your web page offering services such as the purchase of your own domain (.com name), page design for your book even your own email addresses.
YOUR BOOK IS PUBLISHED:
So now what?
EXPOSURE!!!!!
Twitter it, blog it, join groups, check Amazon Barnes and Noble etc, get your name and that of your book OUT THERE!

Another GREAT way to spread the word is a “VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR”

Normal book tours where you might go to a book shop, sit there all day and have four people come up to you, two to take a free book mark and perhaps one to purchase a copy of your book (unless big-name author who can bring in a big crowd and sell an impressive number of books). Virtual tours allow you to visit locations all over the world without leaving your desk. Normal tours, once your visit is over it’s over, virtual tours can go on promoting your book for months even years after your event. Unlike the few people in the book store, virtual tours allow you to reach thousand with each interview, each review and each stop along your tour.

I did a VBT back in February a few days after coming out of hospital after major back surgery and for the month I was on my tour I visited places all around the world while in my sick bed.

There are many offerings for Virtual Book Tours I have been quoted up to three thousand for some tours; others I have seen offering seven days tour for $149.

However the best one I have found and one I highly recommend is PUMP UP YOUR BOOK PROMOTION. They offer three different levels; for $399 they will set you up with a full month’s tour, blogs, interviews and even radio show stops. Information about each stop along the way will be shared at several major sites. These are a great group of people I completed my tour with and have stayed friends with ever since.

These tours take a month or two to plan so book up ahead of time, and be prepared to be part of the tour, what you put in you take out. Put in nothing and you’ll get nothing.

You never know where one of your interviews might turn up. During my month I appeared in the Chicago Sunday Times and even the Wall Street Journal.

USE OTHER BLOGS:
Another way to increase your presence, and a personal favorite of mine, is via all the thousands of what I call the “small bloggers” out there. There are hundreds of people who run book/readers blogs, and many of these are only too keen to review the book and then post a written interview with you.
These people, especially in the Young Adult/Teen market, are what I now call the “sham wow” of literature, the people who just soak up books. They read, review and live books and authors seven days a week. Their information and comments are passed on to other readers who might have their own blogs where they too will comment.
Once you find one site, you can often find others of the same genre – just be on the lookout at who comments on and who follows that blog.

DON’T FORGET…
You will need to have some spare books to send for people to review

BLOG RADIO
I read today about a promotion from a company where for $45 you can get a 15 minute interview and for $99 a full thirty minute interview. Along with this guest information is posted and the show is archived so it can be listened to months down the line.

There are many available on BLOG TALK RADIO and blog talk radio is FREE!

Check out the http://www.blogtalkradio.com. Find shows that you think you’d like to be a guest on and contact the host; normally they will be delighted to have you as a guest. Sometimes this might be a month or even two ahead as most radio shows already have a guest list.

You do not have to visit any recording studio, just dial into a number which the host will supply and chat for however long the show lasts. I have been on shows where I have read a chapter of my book for ten minutes; I have been on shows that have lasted an hour. My own twice a week show “A BOOK AND A CHAT” is a thirty minute show.

TIP: When you find a show check out when the last aired show was, if it’s not been for a month or two, it might be even though it shows on “Blog talk radio”, the people no longer broadcast.

I have even found hosts looking for guests on Craig’s List.

REVIEWS

Nothing looks better for an author, except for being on the best selling list, winning an award or having Disney contact you for film rights – than many reviews. For any author, the sight of a review about your book (hopefully positive) makes you feel that all the effort has been worth while.

There are numerous sources for reviews, the charges can vary greatly, but in many cases are just the cost of a book and the postage. Don’t forget those small blogs mentioned above.

While there are groups and services that do not charge and just need a copy of your book, others will ask for donations, or extra copies of your book, which basically is still charging. If you are going to pay for a review make sure it is a really notable site, and that they will allow you to use their review or even post a copy on Amazon and B&N themselves.

For the full article and more information on book promotion, please visit Barry’s blog – Across the Pond.