Leverage Online and Offline Social Networks to Promote Your Book

Part II of Our Q&A with Sandra Beckwith

Sandra Beckwith helps authors create publicity buzz for their books
Sandra Beckwith helps authors be their own publicists. photo by Mark Bennington

Promoting your book requires both online and offline social networking.

Book publicity and marketing coach and consultant Sandra Beckwith gave some great online social media tips in Part I of this Q & A. But she encourages authors to leverage all their "social networks" in their book promotion efforts. Here she shares how to effectively tap into your networks to get the word out about your book.

When you say "leverage all your social networks to the fullest," what do you mean?

Sandra Beckwith: I'd suggest every author take a step back and think about all of your networks—both those you've developed through online social networks as well as the old-fashioned, "off-line" kind, like friends and family, customers and colleagues.

Make a list and, for each one, think about how to approach each one in a way that is both appropriate and productive.

In Part I of our Q & A, you talked about online social networks. Can you elaborate on the more traditional, "off-line" networks and how to effectively leverage them?

SB: Sure. Let's start with traditional book PR media:

  • Engage Local Media in Your Book PR Efforts
    I'm surprised by the number of book authors who overlook their "neighborhood network"—the local press—when, in fact, they are often the most receptive media outlets. They can also be remarkably influential—when my first book came out, my local Gannett newspaper wrote a huge feature article about the story behind the book and shared it with other Gannett papers, giving me national book publicity through one interview. If you've been interviewed by the local media before, contact those reporters again to suggest appropriate and relevant story or segment ideas.

    Authors who are journalists or have been writing about their book's topic for some time may have relationships with national media-types and journalists. Send specific and targeted pitches to these reporters, freelance writers, editors, producers, and assignment editors.

    (Note: if you're an author who's published through a traditional book publisher, you'll want to be sure to keep your in-house publicist in the loop for any of your promotional efforts to traditional media.)
  • Get Book Marketing Help from Friends, Neighbors, Relatives
    Your nearest and dearest can help you spread the word if they like your book or believe in you. My "Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz" student Laura Laing, author of Math for Grownups, sent her personal "network" a friendly (and very fruitful) e-mail message listing specific things they could do to help her get the word out about her book. For example, she asked them to share news of the book with their networks, which netted her a speaking engagement in front of one of her book's target audiences.
  • Promote Your Book Through Your Alumni Association
    Ask your alumni newsletter editor to write about you and your new book; ask your local chapter chair to host a book signing at the next meeting.
  • "Professional" Book PR—That Is, Tell Your Colleagues About Your Book
    Your professional network is particularly important if you've written a nonfiction book related to your industry. Whether they're local or people you know across the country or around the world through trade groups, you'll want to make sure your colleagues know about your book. Does your trade association or employer have a newsletter where the publication announcement is appropriate? (Online/offline crossover network hint: Update your LinkedIn profile to ensure the information gets to your various professional networks on that site.)
  • Inform Your Customers and Clients That You've Written a Book
    There's cache in doing business with an author—make sure your customers know about the book and make sure they find out directly from you.

Of course, book marketing campaigns should incorporate effective use of online social networks. Read Part I of this Q & A, where Sandra shares her thoughts about how authors can do a better job of leveraging their online social networks to promote their books.

Sandra Beckwith, a former award-winning publicist, now teaches authors how to become their own book publicists. For more book publicity and promotion tips, and to sign up for her free newsletter, visit buildbookbuzz.com.