It’s an area most indie authors ignore when promoting their work, and it’s a shame because many readers love to connect with authors. Whether it’s on social media, podcasts or live and in person, readers want to know more about the people behind the books they enjoy. Made popular by the suburban housewife, book clubs are everywhere and not only that, there book clubs in schools, libraries and even prisons.
There are two routes you can go, approach an online book club or make an arrangement to meet with them live and in the flesh. It’s really up to you but I would recommend starting online and as you become more comfortable then, meet up with a group in your area.
Finding Book Clubs Online
It’s easy finding book clubs online because they’re pretty much everywhere but not all are author friendly. So here are a few places I found that offer to facilitate a phone or online get together with readers.
P.S. don’t forget to check out Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing as they have many groups that would love to hear from an author. Again, just make sure the group is author friendly before approaching.
- Readers Circle (International) make sure to click list your book
- BookBundlz has both free and paid services but I would just use the free one since their website doesn’t seem to get much traffic.
- Skype has a program called Skype in the Classroom which offers free skyping to schools with an author.
Finding Book Clubs Offline
Many authors start off by meeting book clubs at their local libraries, I know the main branch where I live host lots of writer and reader events. It’s worth checking to see if your local library has an author program or book club.
Here are a few library databases as well as a few book club directories.
Libraries in the U.S.:
Libraries In the U.K.
Canadian Library Database
Offline Book Clubs
- The Loft Literary Center: Here you can post a community bulletin asking groups if they’ll host you like this author did here.
- Book Clubs on MeetUp.com
- Authors who are willing to travel can add their name to this database. Hat tip to Galley Cat on MediaBistro.
Remember when approaching a book club be polite and explain why your book would be a good fit for their club. Just suggest your book and let them know you’re available to do a personal appearance. It would be helpful if you could compare your book to something they’ve heard of, if that’s possible.
Also, keep in mind these are readers so no hard selling, it’s annoying and it may bite you in the butt down the road when they decide to give you bad reviews just based on the way you behaved.
So there you have it another book promotional hack you can actually use. Stay tuned for next week’s post when I talk about researching promotional sites.
Noisetrade began as an indie music site where up and coming musicians could give away their work for exposure. However there was a twist, unlike most freebie sites, customers could tip artists. It was sort of a pay what you can thing. Recently, Noisetrade got into the book business, and indie authors like Hugh Howey, are all onboard. You see, all the cool authors are doing it but should you?
The Good, the Bad, the What?
According to the site, authors upload their ebooks and readers get to download it for free and if they (the readers) feel moved, they’ll tip you. Noisetrade only takes a 20% cut and that’s how they make their money. However, most people won’t tip at all and when they do, you might be able to pay your Netflix subscription with it. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
Another point brought up by several authors is the permission issue. You see, when people download your book, they must give an email address. You are then sent that person’s email address via NosieTrade. However you, the author, may still need to get their permission to email them or you could be spamming because it was NT that originally collected the data and not you. It’s all contained in this line on the website, “Author/Publisher shall comply with all laws and regulations applicable to user data collection, data disclosure, and data use practices. Unless agreed to otherwise, NoiseTrade and Author/Publisher shall jointly own all user data collected from the Services” In other words, you may need to send readers an opt in form just to make sure they’re cool with hearing from you.
Why Even Bother?
Noisetrade is being used by authors to build up their email lists or to amass a following for a book series. It’s no secret, free books are the most marketable because there’s no risk on behalf of the reader. Though I’m not a believer in giving things away for nothing, I do believe in a fair trade. If Noisetrade can get you a few reviews or new subscribers then why not? With a well rounded marketing strategy, NT can be an asset to any indie author’s book just like NetGalley or free-ebooks.net.
You can be Featured on Noisetrade for a Price
To be featured on their site you will need $250 which is a lot of money considering the site is new to the book business. But if you want to take a chance you can email Joel Rakes: at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll hook you up.
Honestly, you don’t need Noisetrade or any other site to giveaway your book. Many authors especially nonfiction authors, are giving away their books and using the pay what you can tactic on their very own websites. However, if you want to spread the word about your book, you might want to expand your reach to where the readers are. But since this is a new site there aren’t many authors who can vouch for NT’s effectiveness in moving books. I encountered one author on the Kboards who claims she’s only had 50 downloads in a month and that was with promotion!
It’s hard to say if Noisetrade will become the next KDP for indie authors, because it’s just too early but it is an avenue to consider if you got a free book to offer. Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with paying for promotion because it probably won’t give you more exposure. At least not $250 worth.
Okay, there you go, another promotional hack to add to your arsenal. Next week, I’ll be discussing book clubs, how to find them and how to approach them.
Kobo is quickly becoming a retailer to be reckon with, with over 12 million registered users on its site, I believe it’s time indie authors start paying more attention to them. Since the acquisition of Sony’s ebook library (U.S. & Canadian only) Kobo is likely to continue growing. And although they don’t have a large share of the American market, (that honor belongs to Amazon) they do command 20% of the global ebook market.
So how do you make your run with Kobo successful? Easy, you take advantage of Kobo Writing Life, which includes a blog as well as a podcast that gives authors good tips on how to promote their books on the site. Also, you get your ebook featured on Kobo’s website. And unlike Goodreads, Kobo, will feature a book for free if you meet their requirements.
Just like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Kobo, has several newsletters that regularly go out to readers alerting them of sales and new releases. To add icing to the cake, Kobo prominently features books on the front of their website and guess what, it’s indie friendly! Though, I couldn’t find the numbers on how popular their newsletter is, the Indie Next List section on their website has an Alexa rating of 5,000 globally which isn’t bad.
The Kobo BookHub Rules
Even though it’s free to submit, you still have to make sure the links you provide are from your book’s Kobo page and not Smashwords or *gasp* Amazon.
Here are the rules from Kobo’s own blog: What You Need to Know – Not all books will be featured; the selection will be made based on perceived quality and available slots. There will be more free books featured than bargains, and more bargains than full-price books. *Bargains are all books priced below $2 (regardless of whether it’s a promotion or not), Full Price are all books priced above that.*
So what does this all mean? It means your book needs to be free or cheap to get a push from Kobo. Also, your book needs to have several reviews as well as a sweet cover and blurb. So if you think you got what it takes, submit here.
How to Capitalize on the Free Publicity
Kobo isn’t as sophisticated as Amazon with its chat boards and multi-layered website but it is slowly catching up. If I were an indie with a new book, I would do this about the time I did a big push, mainly, to keep my book on everyone’s mind. I’d lower my price or go free, and tell the world about it on all the websites that feature book sales and freebies.
So there you go, another blog post, another promotional hack. Stay tuned because next week, when I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of Noisetrade.