Friday, August 6, 2010

Leverage Relationships to Sell More Books

by Dana Lynn Smith

Relationships with other people and organizations that cater to your target market can be incredibly valuable in promoting your book. Here are some other ways develop and leverage relationships with influencers who can help spread the word about you and your book:

1. Identify the places that your prospects turn for information about your topic or type of book:

Networking on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is a great way to meet influencers, but it's not the only way. Also search the Internet and compile a list of the top websites, blogs, ezines, magazines, newsletters, online forums, books, e-books, clubs and association that cater to your target market or cover your topic or genre. For example, if your book is about fly fishing, search on terms such as “fly fishing blogs” and “fly fishing magazines.” Placing the search term in quotes may yield better results.

You can determine the popularity of a website, relative to other sites on your list, by looking at its Alexa rank. Click the Alexa Toolbar link on the Alexa site to download the toolbar.

Blog directories such as Technorati, My Blog Log, and Google Blog Search are great for locating blogs on a specific topic. To find forums and discussion groups, search Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.

Search and Google for books and e-books on related topics that appeal to your target markets, but don't compete directly with your book. Then locate the author's website.

2. Research each site, organization, and publication

Study each site to get a good understanding of what they do and how it relates to your book. Look for possible promotional opportunities (do they review products, sell affiliate products, accept content from others, allow comments, etc.) and gather contact information.

3. Contact the owner or manager of each resource and seek to develop a mutually beneficial relationship

Prioritize your list, and identify the prospects that seem to be the most important and have the most potential. Do NOT write a generic "would you like to trade links" email. Instead, craft a thoughtful, customized message sincerely complimenting the prospect and suggesting some specific ways that you might work together to your mutual benefit. Some possibilities include contributing content to each other’s sites, doing joint teleseminars, selling through affiliate programs, cross-linking, and promoting in e-zines.

4. Follow up and follow through

If you get no response from your initial email, try again in a week or two or try sending an old-fashioned letter, making a phone call, or contacting the person through a social networking site.

When you get a favorable response from a prospect, follow through promptly to deliver whatever you've agreed to. Keep in touch with your new partners on a regular basis to build relationships, and look for additional ways you might work together.

5. Join the conversation

Read the top blogs on your list and look for opportunities to comment on posts using your promotional signature (name and book title). See this article for more tips on how to benefit from commenting on blogs.

On social networks, comment on relevant posts and become active in groups. For online forums, read the group rules and lurk for a while to get a feel for the group and the level of expertise. Then look for opportunities to respond to posts in a helpful way, using your promotional signature. Be subtle about promoting your book, follow the group's rules, and don't spam.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing. and several other book promotion guides. For book promotion tips, visit The Savvy Book Marketer blog. Get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips e-book when you register for her free book marketing newsletter. For more book marketing tips, follow Dana on Twitter or visit

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