Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Promote your Signings with BookTour

The release for Michael's Avempartha is about a month away and there is a lot of activity around the book signing tour that will be occurring April - June. There are some tools that I use that I thought I would share with the rest of you. I'll then have a post that "brings it all together". The first item I would like to cover is a great site called BookTour.

BookTour is a site where authors can list their upcoming events: Signings, Lectures, Conventions, even virtual events. Readers who are interested in going to author signings register and get emails and RSS feeds whenever an event is near them. In addition, a number of other sites "pickup" the bookTour feed and you get free publicity by them posting events in their areas (More on this in a minute).

As with many things like this on the Internet there is no cost. This may not always be the case (the site is actually "in Beta" at the moment but I've used it extensively since October 2008 and never had to pay a dime for it.

The whole system is very easy the first thing you do (as with most sites is make your profile. They provide a number of places for you to provide "more content" about yourself that people will see when they click through. For instance:

  • Your head shot
  • An overview of you (Bio, Awards, Reviews, and "blurb" of each book)
  • Book Trailers
  • List your books (Shows cover and provides links to Amazon and local retailers)

After you have a profile, you simply add the events one at a time. It already has in the system most bookstores, but if you find a venue missing (say if you are doing a signing at a coffee shop you can add that

When the reader receives emails, or RSS feeds about upcoming signings if they click on it they will see your profile page along with a listing of all your events. Here is an example from Michael's BookTour Listing:

BookTour provides a great little widget (plug in) that you can put on your site so that your followers can know where you will be when. It provides "real-time" data that you have entered into BookTour so you don't have to update your website every time you add a new venue - simply add it to BookTour and it will show up automatically on your site. The blue box on the left is the widget as it appears on Michael's site.

This is how you do this
  1. Make a 2 column table on your website. In the first column put something simple like "aaa" in the second column put all the content you currently have now.
  2. From BookTour do a search to find yourself, and get on your "profile page". On the right directly below the red "Request a visit from this author" button click on the "on my website" link.
  3. Decide how many events you want displayed at a time (depending on how long your page is).
  4. Where you currently have aaa replace the aaa with the data from the first box. The "number" identifies "your" page as opposed to someone else.
  5. Take the code from the second box and paste it directly above the "/body" of the page.

I'm sure you google yourself or your book from time to time. One of the great things about using sites like BookTour is you get more exposure on the Internet. First there are the listing from BookTour itself and since it is a fairly large site with lots of links it gets a high SEO ranking. This alone is worth listing your venues here.

Another benefit is many newspapers and other websites are "hooked" into BookTour and take content from it. For instance for this article I did a google and found 5 newspapers that were linking to events I had in BookTour and Goodreads also pulls events from it to present to its millions of online readers.

I'm the first one to admit that book signings are not the best way to spread the word about your book - they are time consuming for the amount of exposure and number of sales you actually get. However, they are great for "establishing creditability" for your work. If you are going through the time and effort you need to make the best of it and using BookTour is a great resource to utilize.

No comments: