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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, September 18, 2009 9:27 am
How to Self-Promote Your Book on Our Blog
Posted by: Keir Graff

On Thursday, September 10, Daniel Kraus gave a thumbs-up to a 30-second spot touting Laurie Ann Levin’s God, the Universe, and Where I Fit In. On Saturday, September 12, Bonita Rodriguez posted the following comment:

This is a good one; we viewed it in lit class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuALxOAL0Ok

The link leads to a trailer for Eva’s Confessions: The MOOD Lounge, by Zondra Hughes. Ms. Rodriguez’ name is linked to http://www.moodlounge.org. I don’t think I’m being either a conspiracy theorist or a brilliant detective if I deduce  that Ms. Rodriguez (if indeed that is her real name) is waging a little guerilla promotion for this book. On the other hand, if the teaching professional who assigned this viewing to Ms. Rodriguez’s “lit class” can be produced, I’ll be happy to find out why they chose this particular book trailer. (Or how, indeed, they found something that had under 100 views to begin with.)

On Friday, September 11, I posted “Weeklings” and, yesterday, Brenda Estacio added her own comment, a full-text press release for Gateway to DreamWorld, by–you guessed it–Brenda Estacio. (The release includes an e-mail for publicist Ellen Green, who clearly isn’t earning her keep if her poor author is reduced to posting the press releases in the comment sections of other people’s blogs.)

These comments aren’t unusual. They come, in fact, every day. What’s unusual is the fact that I’ve approved them and am writing about them. Why, you ask? Because, where others might see careless or sloppy attempts at self-promotion, I see missed opportunities to make real connections–and win readers for Ms. Hughes’ and Ms. Estacio’s books.

So, in that spirit, I’d like to offer these four simple guidelines to self-promoting your work on our blog.

1. Don’t cut and paste the same comment everywhere. Personalize it. Bloggers like to be flattered. If you begin by saying, “Hey Keir,” you have my attention, for at least a moment. I won’t delete it quite as quickly as I would an ad for “V!@GR@” or “C1@L1$.”

2. Once you have my attention, make sure that what you’re saying is relevant to the post you’re commenting on. If your book is about, say, evil orphan vampire children, perhaps it’s not appropriate to add your comment to my post making fun of James Patterson. Search our blog for posts on evil orphan vampire children, or something similar.

3. Read the post and say something original about it. Then–and only then–should you bring up your own book. Try for a better transition than “speaking of books about evil orphan vampire children, I have written…” You can do better than that. Perhaps: “I find so-and-so’s remarks on evil orphan vampire children interesting; however, they focus too much on the technical aspects of bloodsucking. It’s more edifying when approached through the lens of the lonely orphan’s psychological development, as I have done in my new book….” Or words to that effect.

4. To give your comment an even better chance of being published, read the blog for a few days before you comment. Perhaps make a comment on something that doesn’t relate to your book, to better lay the groundwork for your eventual, self-promoting comment. In fact, in blogs (such as this one) where any user’s first comment must be approved, and where subsequent comments gain automatic approval, you might luck out and have your self-promoting comment sail right through the approval process!

It now occurs to me that, if you follow these steps, then you will have actually become a legitimate reader of the blog in question. You may well be on your way to forming a genuine relationship with the blog’s authors and with other readers of the blog. Once a relationship exists, you are no longer someone committing a meaningless, drive-by act of self-promotion–you are, in however small a way, part of the blog’s little community, and your recommendation that others read your book may have a teensy, tiny bit of authority to it.

Now, duplicate this a few dozen times, and you’ll actually be supporting the literary ecosystem that you want to support you. Doesn’t that feel good? Good day, and good luck!

16 Responses to “How to Self-Promote Your Book on Our Blog”
  1. Cindy Dobrez Says:

    Hilarious. And to think that I have just been deleting such BSP comments as spam instead of using them for a blog post idea. What was I thinking?

  2. Keir Says:

    Thanks, Cindy. Waste not, want not, I always say.

  3. Kaite Stover Says:

    Loved the “how to BSP on BOL” post. Still find them annoying and insulting, but now, I can laugh about it.

  4. laura Says:

    Dude, that’s totally why I comment here. I’m just trying to ingratiate myself in case I ever write a book some day. Oy.

  5. Laurie J. Edwards Says:

    What fun! Thanks for the tips. Will keep them in mind for future promo. So once we get in under the radar, so to speak, we can post anything?

    May I ask a question? Or I guess I should say–another question. With all the work you already do, how do you find the time to write all these humorous blogs? I’m loving them. I hope you keep them coming.

  6. Keir Says:

    Well…”anything” is awfully broad. But once your first comment is approved, subsequent comments will post automatically if you use the same e-mail account. Of course, we review all comments for appropriateness and reserve the right to delete any we don’t like!

    But, of course, flattery will get you everywhere–and thank you so much for your kind words! I don’t find nearly as much time to blog as I used to, but I’m trying to get out at least one a week from here on out. Fortunately, I have other able-bodied bloggers to help me out.

    In all seriousness, thanks for reading and responding.

  7. Bonita Rodriguez Says:

    Keir,
    I LOVE your blog! Full disclosure, ms. hughes, the author of that book, was a guest in our chick lit class. That day, the focus was on the industry changes and how she had to produce a video to gain awareness for a book! She also introduced us to your blog.
    =0)

  8. Keir Says:

    Bonita, I’m glad you like the blog–and it’s very kind of you to promote your guest speaker’s book by linking your comments to her site. May I ask where you attend classes? I’m always curious to learn about changes in the way literature and creative writing are taught, and a chick-lit class sounds very unusual.

  9. Brenda Estacio Says:

    I like your blog. New authors and young writers need a place they can go to and find such helpful advice. Keep up the good work.

  10. John R. Says:

    I had to laugh at this topic. I have a family member who recently wrote a book, and I gave him pretty much the same advice about self-promotion through blogs and web sites.

    I always find it funny & annoying when I log into my WordPress blog to find half a dozen spam messages, all of which are clearly unrelated to the blog. I’ve thought, “if you’re going to try to spread your web address, at least personalize the message to give it a chance!” Better to be effective with a few than ineffective with a lot.

    I’ve had a few folks who actually took the time to personalize the message. And it worked! I posted their comments (plus their URL).

  11. Self-Promotion on Blogs and Web Sites « Library Shop Talk Says:

    [...] and Web Sites Image of spam delivered to this blog. When I saw the topic posted on the Book Blog, I had to laugh. Self promotion through customized blog comments and web pages. This topic sounded [...]

  12. Lucille Turner Says:

    Hi John R,
    I have just recently become a blogger – or a bit of a blogger. It is one of those things I never thought to do, like freemasonry. In other words I did not think I was one (a blogger). Needless to say, I know absolutely nothing and would be grateful for some tips on self promoting your book. These days it seems that new authors also need a PHD in Marketing. Personally I couldn’t sell fruit to a chimp (although I suppose I may be able to give it away…). Any tips gratefully received.

  13. Terry Haugen Says:

    Hi,I really enjoy Booklist and your reviews and comments.Love the ideas on promoting books. As a former Children’s librarian, I am always interested in books for kids especially since now I am a Nona to my 5-year old grandson, Blake. I just started a blog about my cat, Tankene Ice Mist, and hope you will check it out. Terry

    tailosoftankene@blogspot.com

  14. Brian MacPherson Says:

    Noticed you removed your post about the self published author Robert Stanek.

    Was it becasue of his obvious, but deceitful self promotion tactics?

    Or did Stanek contact you (maybe via a fake hotmail using lawyer like what he did with Derek Langford?) about the comments you allowed to appear and the heat got too hot to handle?

  15. Keir Says:

    Yes, I took the post down. No, we were not contacted by Stanek or anyone else. I made the decision because, although we encourage creativity in self-promotion, it appears that he was too creative. Any ongoing controversy just results in more attention. So we’ll let it rest at that.

  16. Gina Says:

    Very interesting and entertaining, and I’m not just saying that because the article suggests I should. I need to read a few more of your posts before I shamelessly promote my own book.
    I do like your dry and witty approach!


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