Sell More Books by Developing and Leveraging Relationships

relationshipsRelationships with other people and organizations that cater to your target market can be incredibly valuable in promoting your book. Here are some steps to developing and leveraging relationships:

1. Identify the places that your prospects turn for information about your topic.

Search the internet to compile a list of the top websites, blogs, ezines, magazines, newsletters, online forums, books, ebooks, clubs and association that cater to your target market or cover your topic. For example, if your book is about fly fishing, search on terms such as “fly fishing blogs” and “fly fishing magazines.” Placing the search term in quotes may yield better results.

You can determine the popularity of an online site by looking at its Alexa rank, relative to the other similar sites on your list. Download the Alexa toolbar by clicking the link in the lower right corner of at Or, try this new search engine, which combines both Google and Yahoo results and lists each site’s Alexa rank:

Blog directories such as Technorati and Google Blog Search are great for locating blogs on a specific topic.

To find forums and discussion groups, search these sites:

Search Amazon and Google for books and ebooks on related topics that appeal to your target markets, but don’t compete directly with your book. Then, locate the author’s website.

2. Research each site, organization, and publication.

Study each site to get a good understanding of what they do and how it relates to your book. Look for possible promotional opportunities (do they review products, sell affiliate products, accept content from others, allow comments, etc.) and gather contact information.

3. Contact the owner or manager of each resource and seek to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

Prioritize your list, and identify the prospects that seem to be the most important and have the most potential. Do NOT write a generic “would you like to trade links” email. Instead, craft a thoughtful, customized message complimenting the prospect about their site, publication, or organization, and suggesting some specific ways that you might work together to your mutual benefit. Some possibilities include contributing content to each other’s sites, doing joint tele-seminars, selling through affiliate programs, cross-linking, and promoting in ezines.

4. Follow up and follow through.

If you get no response from your initial email, try again in a week or two or try sending an old-fashioned letter, making a phone call, or contacting the person through a social networking site such as Facebook.

When you get a favorable response from a prospect, follow through promptly to deliver whatever you’ve agreed to. Keep in touch with your new partners on a regular basis to build relationships, and look for additional ways you might work together.

5. Join the conversation.

Read the top blogs on your list and look for opportunities to comment on posts using your promotional signature (name, book title, and URL). For the online forums, read the group rules and lurk for a while to get a feel for the group and the level of expertise. Then look for opportunities to respond to posts in a helpful way, using your promotional signature. Be subtle about promoting your book, follow the group’s rules, and don’t spam.

Dana Lynn Smith, the Book Marketing Maven, develops marketing plans for nonfiction books. She has a degree in marketing and 15 years of publishing experience. For more book marketing tips, visit and sign up for her free monthly ezine, The Savvy Book Marketer.  Twitter: