The first thing we did as far as promotion was align with a charity and then write and distribute a few e-news releases/ezine articles; the media loves and needs charity in its news. You find your heartwarming angle and you can sell the news. If I did it again, I'd start in the real world instead of online. If you're willing to put just a little bit of money into your campaign, you can end up with guaranteed press. There are a lot of ingenious firms and angles out there today.
The move I'd most recommend is finding a charitable tie-in, mine is breast cancer, and then create your news angle and approach your local news outlets. Sounds cliché, but
if you live in a city of 100k to, say, 600k, they're dying for people like you. It's such a manageable size with only so many potential stars. Yet, those cities have to fill newspapers, radio shows, and TV news broadcasts just like their counterparts in larger cities. If you live somewhere more vast, a major metro area, find your section of the metro and begin there. Find a community newspaper or smaller radio show or a
local retail outlet or a charitable program that needs an expert in your market/industry/genre, and create the next big thing; make yourself into a hero, into a bona fide HOME-GROWN star. Then, you can take that press nugget and ease into other markets. "Hey, look at what kind of press he gets in Moline? He should be on the cover of the Arts section in Des Moines. Put him there!" Now, that's a little melodramatic, but you get the point. It's all image, you know? It's not like today's Hollywood is brimming with talent; the town simply sells "image" by the boat-load.
Also, we learned the whole SEO game recently. That, to this point, has been our only real online promotion. We're in the process of establishing an affiliate program, as well as a couple of other unique angles, but thus far the SEO has yielded roughly 10,000 unique visitors per month.
Most effective has been word of mouth. Now, that doesn't mean that we receive a majority of our books sales via word of mouth. It merely means that when someone recommends our books to a friend, family member, or colleague, the close rate--or "sell rate"--is almost 100%. That's gold to anyone marketing themselves.
Nelson Pahl is the author of BEE BALMS & BURGUNDY. You can visit his website at http://www.nelsonpahl.com/ or his blog at http://www.nelsonpahl.blogspot.com/.
Tags: online book promotion, virtual book tour, Nelson Pahl, BEE BALMS & BURGUNDY