Marketing your book on the Web

On Wednesday evening, I attended a panel on online marketing for books. The NYC Chapter of the Women's National Book Association hosted Getting the...

On Wednesday evening, I attended a panel on online marketing for books. The NYC Chapter of the Women's National Book Association hosted Getting the Word Out: Marketing Your Book on the Web, held at the Jefferson Market Library in New York. The well attended event focused on topics including being authentic when using social media, how blogging and social media translates to book sales, and Twitter (#wnba318).

Susannah Greenberg, principal of Susannah Greenberg PR, moderated the panel, which included several authors and book publishing insiders: Fauzia Burke, founder and president of Internet marketing firm FSB Associates; Peter Costanzo, director of online marketing for Perseus Books Group; Ron Hogan, founder of Beatrice.com and senior editor at MediaBistro's Galleycat; Kelly Leonard, executive director of online marketing at Hachette Book Group USA; and Abby Stokes, author of Is This Thing On?: A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes, and the Kicking and Screaming. Read more after the jump.

"Authors feel like they have to blog or Tweet to promote their book," Hogan said of being authentic. "Don't do any of this unless you are powerfully motivated to do it." He went on to explain that many authors are passionate about the topics of their books, and bringing that passion online can be a real benefit.

Stokes agreed: "You have to take all of these forms of media in small bites and do it the way you want."

Burke highlighted three strategies to use when publicizing a book: identify target communities, have a solid PR strategy in place, and decide ahead of time the content strategy, or what content will be made available online.

The panel also had advice for pitching bloggers and online reviewers about new books, including getting a feel for the voice of bloggers, reaching out to any interested parties, as you never know who they know, and really starting early with a Web presence to build a brand.

"It really has to be a conversation," Costanzo said, mentioning Cluetrain Manifesto, a book from Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus. The tome discusses how open conversations lead to great marketing, and was discussed by PRWeek when it was originally published. Costanzo was also brave enough to pass around his new Kindle 2, before discussing the device, saying publishers should start to embrace this technology.

Throughout the evening, Leonard was an advocate for Twitter, the "virtual way of passing notes in the classroom." She was Tweeting and following the #wnba318 feed, posting the questions asked, and giving the responses online.

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