As I am sure you already know the Internet and digital publishing have had a huge impact on the publishing industry. But the Internet has also changed the way that many readers find books.
These days readers are less likely to choose a book from a recommendation in a newspaper or on a television program, and much more likely to purchase a book that has received good reviews and ratings online from friends or readers with similar interests.
Several online communities of readers have been established, such as Goodreads, and they are experiencing tremendous growth. Reader communities like Goodreads can be excellent places to promote your books but you must be very careful how you go about it.
What are Online Reader Communities?
Online reader communities are social networks for book lovers. They are essentially web sites that facilitate the discussion of books and literature among readers. After you join one of these communities you can chat about books with people from all over the world.
Each reader network has its own features but typically readers can keep track of books that they have read, make lists of books they intend to read in future, write book reviews, start groups and recommend books to their friends. They can also interact with authors who are active on the network.
Tips for Marketing Your Book on Online Reader Communities
1. Spend Time Exploring the Network Before Promoting Your Book
Learn about appropriate etiquette on the site before jumping in to market your book. Check the guidelines for authors carefully. Observe what other authors are doing. When you start interacting with readers be sure to avoid engaging in activities that might be considered spamming.
2. Set Up Your Author Profile
If the site allows authors to create an author profile then get your profile up. Let readers know about the books you have written, your genres, your favorite writers, and a link to your web site. Include a photo for more credibility.
3. Get Interactive with Readers
One of the keys to getting more followers and fans on reader networks is to be active in groups or discussions related to your genre or topic. Participate in discussions about your books. Share an excerpt. Offer a sample chapter. Let readers know about upcoming events such as book signings and interviews. Engage, and your network will grow.
4. Don’t Argue with Negative Reviewers
You should not engage in arguments with readers who have given your book a negative review or low rating. Instead use their comments and feedback to improve your next book.
5. Take Advantage of Any Special Features
Some sites offer a range of additional features such as the ability to create quizzes, offer special discounts for members, and even give away free copies of your book. You should be able to work some if these ideas into your marketing strategy.
6. Before Paying for Advertising, Check With Other Authors
If a reader community offers paid advertising opportunities to authors, check with other authors who have recently used that service to check it they felt their investment was worthwhile. What was effective three years ago might not be effective now, so be sure to get some recent feedback. If you can, check with some authors in the same genre as you.
Here are Several Online Reader Communities
Started in 2007, Goodreads is already the most popular site for readers and book recommendations. They now have more than 8,600,000 members who have added 310,000,000 books to their shelves.
LibraryThing is a community of 1,500,000 book lovers and 50 million books. They also have more than 7,500 authors as members.
Shelfari was officially launched in 2006 and was acquired by Amazon in August 2008. If you also participate in Amazon’s Author Central then Shelfari will provide you with an “Amazon Author” badge on your avatar.