Do’s & Don’ts Of Getting Readers to Read Your Book

If you haven’t heard about the fake PenguinTeen employee who catfished a number of book bloggers, check out this post by Jon over at Bookish Antics. the short version is an author tried to get book bloggers to review her book by pretending to work for Penguin.

This weird-as-heck situation got me thinking about the types of book marketing/publicity that has gotten me to open my wallet and buy a book. I’ve compiled them in a list below (along with the things that didn’t work on me):

Do maintain a presence online
I started following a ton of authors on Twitter last year, and almost every book I bought was from one of those authors. Their online presence, whether simply on Twitter or their blog as well, convinced me to give their books a try.  Maintaining a social media/online presence takes work (I haven’t even figured out how to do it), but it does wonders for getting me to check out books.

Don’t use social media to spam individuals
This happened to me once, and it’s freaking easy to see through. Someone mentioned me on Twitter, asking me to check out their book. I found out that they had spammed hundreds of other Twitter users with the exact same message when I checked out their profile. Engaging potential readers through social media is one thing. However spam turns them off.

Do run contests and giveaways
One of the best ways to get people’s attention is by giving out free stuff. I’ve entered more than a few author’s contests for things like B&N gift cards, advanced copies of books, and even jewelry. While I haven’t won yet, I usually put the book on my to-be-bought list. Of course there’s no guarantees that everyone who enters or wins will buy the book, but it creates a buzz.

Don’t argue with readers
There are plenty of examples of this happening. Sometimes authors simply ask readers to remove “wrong” or “bad” reviews of their book. Other times they “go undercover” to harass readers or bloggers. (This happened to me once.) These kinds of things might seem productive during the short term, but the eventual backlash will alienate hundreds if not thousands of potential readers. .

Do talk about your book
Authors should talk up their books, especially their new or soon-to-be published books. Not all the time, of course. But talking about them every once in a while lets readers and followers know what’s coming out. If I see an interesting pitch about a new book, I’ll file the title away in my mind until I’m looking to get an online order over the free delivery threshold or when I’m browsing the bookstore. I’ve ordered more than a few books because of authors self-promoting.


Your mileage may vary, but these five things have been effective in getting me to buy books (the do’s) and turning me off of certain authors for good (the don’t’s). Is there anything authors have done that convinced you to or not to buy their books?


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