I know it probably seems odd to write about etiquette in a publishing post, but I think it’s one of the most important factors in book promotion. Many websites, blogs, and message boards invite authors to promote their books for no cost; however, writers have to learn the rules of each venue. Where can you promote, what exactly you can do, what size your pictures can be: these are all things that vary from place to place. Your ability to follow the rules will directly effect your promotion because, I’ve found, these sites are usually pretty quick to evict you if you’re a rule-breaker.
Not only do you have to follow each site’s rules, but there are some unspoken rules that should be considered. Here are some things I’ve learned:
- Authors do better when they cross-promote with each other, so don’t look at other writers as the enemy or as competition. Join together and your total promotional power will increase. Consider guest blogging on each other’s sites, retweet their posts on Twitter, swap excerpts for back matter.
- Do promote in appropriate places. Don’t shove your book down people’s throats, but always make your information readily available.
- Think hard before you review other books in your genre. I’ve talked about this before.
- Don’t bash other people’s books. It makes you look petty.
- In addition, most writers agree that it is inappropriate to promote your work in a review for another author’s book, and Amazon even expressly forbids this in their rules. If you believe your audience overlaps with another author’s and you’d like to take advantage of that, just contact the author directly and talk about cross-promotion. Don’t try to get something for nothing.
- Learn from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want everyone to read or see. The Internet is forever.
So in summary, just act like you got some sense.