What Readers and Book Buyers Want to Know About You and What You Need to Know About Them

Every now and then, I’ll have an author ask me what they should write about when asked to write guest posts or what emphasis they should concentrate on when answering questions in interviews or just what they should do to create the most impact on their book buying public without becoming overbearing, pompous or downright horn-tooting obnoxious.

The first thing I tell them is get out of the mindset that you’ll be getting on peoples’ nerves with all this horn blowing and get on with the matter at hand. You are out to sell your book. Without you tooting or someone else you pay to toot for you, you might as well kiss your book sales goodbye.

Good publicity relies on these things:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Hard work
  3. Dedication

I’m sure that you know this and I’m sure you’ve got all three of those qualities going on for you, but good publicity also requires this:

  1. Knowing what common sense rules to follow when promoting your book
  2. Realizing that researching your subject in off before, during and after it’s published leads to successful promotions later
  3. Networking, schmoozing and generally getting your fans to adore you

Knowing what common sense rules to follow when promoting your book takes practice and experience. Unless you are out there noticing how other authors are promoting, you probably haven’t a clue. Are those emails coming from a certain author, publisher or publicist who has added your email to their email lists getting on your nerves by their promotional email blasts? Number One rule is never sign up anyone to your email list without their permission. I know no one is going to heed my advice but when this happens to me, I’m quick to delete and hit spam. However, if it is someone with whom you have connected in the past, they’re open bait and if they wish to unsubscribe, delete, hit spam, that’s on them but the odds are in your favor they’ll stick with you.

Researching your subject after the book has been written sounds a bit confusing, doesn’t it? Let me explain. Joe has written a book on fly fishing while Mary has written a romance novel. Both Joe and Mary have elected to promote on their own. Joe goes about the normal promotional procedures like putting up a website and/or blog and wishing for the best, but Mary decides she’s going to put her book subject in Google Alerts to find out what others are talking about relating to her book. Mary also loves to blog so she has elected to visit blogs that concentrate on her genre. Mary also has decided to pick out certain topics, locals, etc., within her book and researched them to find other like-minded people out there blogging about the same subjects in her book. Joe feels all alone in his self-promotional journey while Mary has made lots of friends, which has resulted in lots of sales.

Networking, schmoozing and generally getting your fans to adore you rounds out my third point which ties into researching your subject. Once you have found the many people out there who absolutely loves your work and loves to hear as much as they can about your book and you, treasure them like gold nuggets. These are your fans. These are the people who follow you like shadows on a moonlit night. These are the people you need to nurture. These are the very people that you must pay close attention to and never let them feel you’re just another name on another book. They are your book’s lifeline.

When you can find that happy medium between what your book buyers want to know about you and what you should know about them, book promotion gets a little bit easier.

Dorothy Thompson is CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book , an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion and virtual book tours for authors wishing to take their books to the virtual level. You can visit their website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.


  1. says

    Aha! This article is very good. I’m off to research blogs and online articles about the stuff in my novel. Thank you – According to Luke comes out soon, and I want to be inundated with questions about its controversial aspects.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for your comment, Rosanne! That’s certainly the right attitude. Never stop researching because it always turns up a ton of promotional possibilities. Good luck to you and we look forward to reading your book!

  3. Diiarts says

    Excellent article – one of the best I have read on here in a long time.

    One thing to watch out for is that until you have a name and a following, it’s WHAT YOU SAY in the blogosphere, rather than WHO YOU ARE, that will attract people’s attention. (A point that this blog might bear in mind: I have never once read a post entitled “Joe Bloggs – Author Interview”; I have no idea who Joe Bloggs is and why I should read what he has to say. If the headline was “Author Joe Bloggs on the influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins on his work”, I’d read it. And I’d buy Joe’s book.)

    Saying “I’ve written a book about…” is no longer enough to get readers’ attention – there are too many others saying the same thing. Talking about your subject – demonstrating your knowledge and that you have something worthwhile to contribute on that subject – these will get you noticed and welcomed into others’ discussions.

    And one other thing about Dorothy’s final point on networking and schmoozing. Always, always, act professionally and courteously. If you are doing what Mary does, and trawling the blogs to find people discussing her genre, sooner or later you are going to find a self-opinionated, ignorant halfwit who has set him or herself up as the ultimate authority in your area. You are going to want to correct at least some of the stream of deluded misinformation which this individual is putting out as gospel truth. (Actually you’re going to want to punch them in the kisser and then break their internet connection. Resist this temptation.) Engage with these people courteously and with good humour, and there’s a chance that some of the halfwit’s followers will look at what you have to say.

    And don’t be afraid to walk away from an online argument – again, courteously.

    Best of luck.

  4. says

    Great comments, thanks!

    And thanks for the comment about titling the author interviews. We do have a change coming in the next batch of interviews to post. It’s not exactly what you have in mind, but I think it will add some variety and interest to the post titles.

  5. Diiarts says

    Thank you, Cathy. It goes without saying that those who follow Dorothy’s excellent advice and trawl the blogs, will find many, many excellent people there – charming, intelligent, engaging, articulate, open-minded people – and will make good friends among them.

  6. says

    I’m so flattered, Diiats…another point – an author needs to start networking the moment they learn how to use the computer because sometimes it’s those early contacts who will get to know and trust you (knowing you’re not out to sell them anything)who will come in handy later. And don’t forget the I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my back theory – never forget anyone who has done anything for you and don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who hasn’t (as of yet).