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Old 03-25-2012, 02:30 AM   #1
Sheldon Smith
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Promoting books without using facebook, twitter, etc

Hi all

I live and work in China, where Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other social networking sites are banned. My question is, what is the best way to promote a new book without using such sites? While there are many anaemic local variants around, such as Weibo (a Chinese Twitter), Tudou (a Chinese Youtube), these aren't going to garner me any sales, as it's really only Chinese who use them, and they aren't exactly the target audience of my book.

The novel I'm trying to promote is one I wrote some time ago, and promoting it is mainly just an experiment (which isn't to say it isn't good) to pave the way for my next novel, which I hope will have stronger appeal (set in China, where I've been living for the past 10 years).

Cheers
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
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Well, you could start by putting links to your stories in your signature here using thumbnail pictures, like what I've done. If you have a personal website you could include a link to that as well. Its not much but its a start. I'm still working on the whole "advertise without spamming blogs or yahoo news" thing myself.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:08 PM   #3
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You can use your website to help promote it. Have links to your books on your website, and then build in suitable keywords into your website. Put a link to your website in your sig, and post on a wide variety of boards.

Also, the biggest thing is word of mouth. Get people to read it and to tell other people. Get them to write reviews.

Get onto your local papers and radio station and get them to do a story on you.

If your novel is on Amazon, you could try dropping the price so it will appeal to impulse buyers, so it will rise higher in the rankings, and more people will buy it.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Do Facebook and Twitter actually lead to sales? Presumably no-one is specifically looking for information about your book on either of those, so you'd be foisting yourself into peoples social circles specifically to pimp the book. I think the Chinese government policy may be correct in this instance.

Getting people to review it on the sites selling it would be much more useful, I'd have thought.

I don't really like people so the social networking wotnots have largely passed me by and I could be talking balderdash. I do quite like Youtube though. You could get someone to put up a promotional video for you on Youtube. You don't need to access it directly yourself. A simple trailer, talking to camera explaining what the book is about, and then you get attacked by an animal or hit with a rake. Or both, but hey, we're not talking JK Rowling here, so probably best to take baby steps for the first video. Pick a relatively innocuous animal. I'd go for a goose.

Or the reviews on Amazon. Either/or.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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I noticed an uptick in page views and sample downloads after listing something on my facebook. So it might not lead to more sales but it does get a little notice. Course my facebook only has like three friends...

I figured I'd be having to beat off creeps and the little runts at school with a stick by now.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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Any digital media is worth a plug
People who use technology will be people who go on line....MILLIONS OF THEM!
I have sold quite a few through Facebook, many to friends of friends of friends...the new way to pass it on. If you learn how to use FB correctly and use of security settings or simply block nob heads it is a great media. But there are many other sites of a similar function.
As for reviews on sites selling your book...don't trust them. I had many on Amazon, they have now gone for no reason other than some tech adjustment at amazon losing or forgetting to restore reviews. The only way to promote is to tell people about it in any and every way possible so it might just help if you go to the trouble of telling us your plan is to tell us about your book too. Good idea do you think?
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
I noticed an uptick in page views and sample downloads after listing something on my facebook. So it might not lead to more sales but it does get a little notice. Course my facebook only has like three friends...

I figured I'd be having to beat off creeps and the little runts at school with a stick by now.

How do you know how many people download the sample?
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by EileenG View Post
You can use your website to help promote it. Have links to your books on your website, and then build in suitable keywords into your website. Put a link to your website in your sig, and post on a wide variety of boards.
A website is an ideal way of promoting a book providing you know how to tweak the pages for Search Engines. Most people think that you slap a few keywords in and hey presto, you're page one of Google for that term. It's not that simple unfortunately, for one thing Google ignores key words. SEO is not a five minute job, it's a full time job. Once you get it right however, the rewards are well worth it. No point having a flashy website if no one is looking at it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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How do you know how many people download the sample?
Its part of the stats Smashwords records for you.
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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Can't you write a blog hosted on a foreign site? You mentioned your local population is not your target audience. I'm thinking something like an encrypted VPN would allow you to tunnel through any government restrictions to access your non-Chinese site.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:26 PM   #11
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You don't even have to write a blog. Just comment on other people's blogs, and make sure the link to your website is in your sig.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:28 PM   #12
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:47 PM   #13
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Put vampires or zombies in it.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:16 PM   #14
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Biggest upswing in sales I have gotten is when OTHER PEOPLE'S blogs/etc mention me. That is by for the best avenue I have found. Send free copies to everyone that is willing to read/review your book and post about it. Might help you to... but I do not know the Chinese market at all.....
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:00 AM   #15
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Put vampires or zombies in it.
Romantic vampire's with red boots and zombies... And glitter...
And maybe guns which shoot birds... I hope someone get's the reference ;D

SEO is hard and it's combated. Try to think key audience and where they might visit and if advertising there would be non-intrusive...
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