Promoting your book on your blog — how much is too much?

I’m in a polling mood, so let’s discuss book promotion on blogs, and throw in a couple of polls for my intrepid readers to have fun clicking away at. Am I allowed to vote as well? Seems like a conflict of interests. Pah! Conflicts of interest are for the weak. Onwards!

Promotion Technique #1 — Posting book excerpts

To be honest, I rarely read book excerpts. I will look at the cover and the synopsis, and base my purchasing decision off of that. However, many people, I’m given to understand, like to actually see what’s inside the book, and not just fork over their hard earned money and pray. Hence, book excerpts.

So what are your thoughts on book excerpts? What part of a book do you most want to read before you choose to buy? Is it the first chapter, or perhaps a scene further into the novel? Or do you prefer just reading a selection of random words taken from the book and artfully arranged by the graphic design site Wordle?

Wordle of “Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It”

Poll time!


Promotion Technique #2 — Include a link to the book at the bottom of each post

I’m talking about something like this:

I’ve seen other authors do this, and I don’t have any particular problem with it. They’re always located at the end of blog posts, and they’re usually kept small and tasteful, so you only really notice it if you’re specifically looking for it.

Poll time!

Somewhat related link of the day:

Check out this funny post about editors — Editors Hate Everything. Yes They Do.

Unrelated meme of the day:

(Note: this will not make sense unless you’ve seen/read Fullmetal Alchemist)

Unrelated video of the day:

I love Sam Tsui. He’s a youtube singer who’s gotten pretty famous over the years. Check out one of his most recent covers:

Categories: Blog-related, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

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46 thoughts on “Promoting your book on your blog — how much is too much?

  1. Honestly, I think you should do any kind of promoting that you want! I mean, isn’t the whole point of having an author blog sort of to plug your books? I know that a lot of authors also try to change the layout/theme of their website to reflect their most recent book as well, or their genre as a whole. Either way, you go ahead and promote to your heart’s content. Well, I mean, within reason, but you seem like the practical sort, and I really have a hard time thinking you’ll go overboard. 🙂 I can’t wait till it comes out!

    • I seem practical … up until the day I blow all my money and buy a hot air balloon with my book’s cover printed on the side!!!

      But yes, I think people will be cool with the promotion thing as long as I keep it subtle yet poignant.

      • DO IT. The hot air balloon I mean. xDD At least it would get people talking, right? x) But yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. 🙂 Put something on the front of your site so that people can easily go buy the book, and then everything else will just compliment that. (Although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to a sneak preview!)

        • So then my question becomes: if I post a sneak preview (aka the first chapter), do I worry about the content being stolen? But it’s just the first chapter, so it’s not like the entire book is up for grabs, right? I get really paranoid about getting my work stolen, but I don’t think I would need to worry about it if I just posted a first chapter, right? RIGHT? Oh god, now I’m panicking. SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE?

          • SORRY. xD And I was thinking you would just post the preview chapter like, right before the book is available for purchase, or like right after, so there would be less reason to worry about that. 🙂 I’d think it would be more apt to be stolen if you’re nowhere near finished. But I understand–that’s why I never posted what my story was about, lol! You’re not the only paranoid one. 🙂

            • Ahhh yes, I like that idea – post it right before the launch. Whenever that will be, lol. Or I could even use that Amazon Look Inside the Book feature they have. I wonder if that’s free, or you have to pay for it? I bet you have to pay. Still, worth looking into.

              • I would have no idea how that works, lol, but when you find out lemme know. 🙂 And yeah, see! There you go. That way people will be hyped up on that first chapter and want to run out and buy your book, and only idiots would bother trying to steal your content… and who can account for them anyway, right? Do you have any idea what the promotion/launch procedure is with the whole iUniverse thing?

                • Um … well, referring to my iUniverse Step-by-Step guide they sent me, I can tell you that “Retail distribution: 4-6 weeks. Your book’s information will be submitted to B&N, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide”. So … yeah. That’s pretty much all I know, lol.

                  • Oh okay, ha ha! xD Well, if you come up with some kind of online campaign or something, I’ll totally post it up on my blog and stuff. 🙂 Like a blog tour or something, ha ha! Are you gonna like, buy some copies and do a local signing/reading or something? Sorry sorry, getting ahead of you I know, but it just seems like so much fun. :))

                    • Oh, I have tons of ideas!!! Definitely some sort of blog tour will happen — and you’re definitely on my list 😀 — as well as various online promotions — free ebooks, contests, etc. In terms of physical books, I’ll definitely be donating a couple books to the library, hopefully some schools as well … and then book signings/readings wherever they’ll have me 😀

                • BTW, it doesn’t cost anything at Amazon or Smashwords to make part of your book previewable. (How’s that for a good made-up word?) Amazon has their own viewing limits, but Smashwords let’s you set the preview amount from 0 to 50%. I max mine out at 50%.

              • Michelle. My book is on Amazon and the Look Inside feature is standard. Tht said, I published directly on their KDP, so that may change if you go via iUniverse.

                • Hmm … good point. I’ll have to look into it and see what iUniverse is up to. If it’s a standard feature, I can’t imagine why they *wouldn’t* set it up.

          • I put some of my stuff on my blog, including the prologue in the run-up to my publication date. I thought it was a good way to get people interested in buying it. Also, I have my Smashwords set to 50% free viewing on all my stuff. I figure if you can read half of one of my stories and not want to finish it, then it’s either not good, or not right for you anyways. (And I prefer it if you didn’t buy it and leave a bad review!)

            My blog content is copyrighted. So it’s technically illegal for them to take it.

            And it’s one chapter. Even if they took the entire thing lock, stock, and barrel, they’re not going to end up creating my book. And they’re not going to get it to print faster than me, because I was nearly ready to go to print when I shared my prologue. And even if they did beat me to the presses, they can’t claim I stole the idea from them, because one, my blog is dated and two, my proof copies come from the printer with a date printed in them, and my proof copies go back to before I even had a blog. So I’d have no trouble proving that not only did I not copy them, but they copied me and they owe me big time.

            And if people want to copy pirate your stuff, they’ll find a way to do it. Once your book goes on sale, they can get the text out of the e-book without too much trouble.

            • You make several excellent points. All right, you’ve convinced me! I shall post the first chapter when we get closer to the publication date. And if someone tries to steal it, I’ll MAKE THEM RUE THE DAY THEY WERE BORN!!!!!!!

              PS: The paperback version of Acceptance is totally going on my Christmas Wish List. I love it so much!!! Now if only there were a way I could get you to sign it …

  2. I have my books in the sidebar on my blog permanently. I copied that style from other authors (Catherine Caffeinated comes to mind); that seems to be pretty common. I think a footer on every single blog post might become annoying to long-term readers. Besides, you can have bigger pictures in the sidebar and list all of them at once!

    • Ah, sidebar! Clever girl. Hmm … and how would I get my books into my sidebar, precisely? Is there a special widget for that? Or do you need to use a specific theme that supports that sort of thing?

  3. I didn’t have a thumbnail of my book in my blog post until you suggested it, MIchelle. Good tip.
    I will have to configure my blog so that the cover shows up at the side. Good tip.
    I think subtle, subliminal promotion probably works better than BUYMYBOOK which just irritates.
    I was following an author on Twitter and had to un-follow within half a day because it was endless promotion and nothing else. Big no-no.

    • Oh, definitely. We’re bombarded with ads all the time, we don’t need our favourite authors to turn us off them because of abrasive advertising. And I’m glad you liked the tips, even though they weren’t really tips, and I totally stole them from other bloggers 😀

  4. I think a thumbnail with a link is a good idea. It doesn’t say “Hey buy my book!” its there if you want to click on it for more information.
    I think if you plug your book too much it hurts more than helps. If its your own blog I think put it out there subtly and every so often put up something about your book to entice the audience.
    I look at book covers, if I like the cover I will read the synopsis, if I like the synopsis I might get the book. Not much else will get me to look at a book, so make sure your book cover is the best it can be and the synopsis is as good if not better.

    • Well, I have the graphic designers at iUniverse working on the cover, so hopefully they turn out something spectacular. And it appears we are cut from the same cloth — I, too, tend to judge books almost entirely by their cover 😀

  5. I like the thumbnail or the sidebar image. If the promotion takes over the blog itself, then I might lose interest in reading.

    The intent of my blog is to promote my writing, but I want to do that by providing fun, entertaining content. I figure if people have a good time reading the blog, they are more likely to be interested in what else I have cooking.

  6. Pingback: Post About Promoting Your Book « lizbethwrightbooks

  7. You can never promote your book too much! 🙂 It’s your blog and you can do whatever you want with it. My books are on my home page in the side bar, and they are the focus of my About page, but they don’t show up on my blog posts unless I put them there because I’m talking about them. It’s pretty obvious by my header that I write books, so if anyone is curious, they can easily find out. … Editors Hate Everything – that was a good article! Thanks!

    • I’ve seen lots of authors with books on the side bar … how do you do that, exactly? Is it a widget you use, or … what? Lol.

      • For my theme, it is a widget. When I go to my widgets, there is a panel to the right labeled “Main Sidebar.” I drag an “image” widget over there, add the url to my picture, and voila’ – picture of my dog, books, etc. in the sidebar. I see you have a main sidebar, so it should work the same way for you.

        • Thanks 🙂 I’ll try it out.

          • Yeah, that’s how I do it too: just an image widget. I can use my own images, but I then have to figure out the best size to make them, fix the ratio, etc. I found just using Amazon’s thumbnail images of my books was easier. They’re all the same size that way and they seem to scale down better (probably because they know the magic ratio).

            • I played around with it earlier, and managed to get a picture of MA FACE up on the sidebar, which linked to my website. I took it down right away, because it was kind of weird to be staring at myself. But I am pleased to announce I have successfully mastered the book-in-the-sidebar-widget technique 🙂

  8. I am a firm believer in the shameless plug! Seriously, if your blog is about publishing and your book then it is sort of expected to see a plug. However, if you are writing about health food and you plug your non-health food related book constantly, then it may be a turn off. I read your blog to catch up on book news. See

  9. I try to be tactful in my approach. I started a blog just to publish my first novel so I don’t know how far over the line that is. I don’t post up buy it here links at the end of every post because I think that is too much, but I do it when a chapter ends. I got tired of it not selling so I thought I would try and build my audience a better way – by offering it for free. Maybe this will help me with future books and with agents. Who knows, as long as people are reading I am happy, free or not.

    • I like your attitude 🙂 I can’t give away this book for free, due to the whole iUniverse thing, but I’m seriously considering polishing up a book in a different series that I can give away for free. Like you said – what better way for people to hear about a writer than by reading their book?

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