Here is an e-mail I got from Sariah S. Wilson last week:
My first book, "Secrets in Zarahemla," will be on bookstore shelves this week. In honor of my debut novel, I am offering several contests on my website, www.sariahswilson.com.
I'm contacting you in hopes of spreading the word about my book and to give you the chance to participate in one of the giveaways, the "Secrets in Zarahemla Tell A Friend Contest." I am hoping that you will tell your blog readers about this giveaway. The direct link to this contest is:
One reader can enter to win a free copy of "Secrets in Zarahemla" and a $50 gift card of their choosing. They will need to enter the name of your blog in the "who referred" them box.
The blogger/blog site that drives the most entrants to the contest will win their own $50 gift certificate and a free copy of my book.
The contest lasts until February 28, 2007.
Thanks so much!
Sariah S. Wilson
P.S. - If your blog has multiple posters, I will leave it to your discretion to determine how the prize should be awarded - whether you prefer to have it split up or to give the certificate away on your own site or have me donate to a charity in your name, etc.
Apparently this is working because I have seen her announcement on no less than 4 forums/message boards and 3 blogs that I regularly visit. This is a smart way to get the word out.
Here's why it is good:
1. For me, Anonymous LDS Publisher, to have gotten this e-mail means that Sariah is sending announcements of her book to everyone she can think of. That's good. I'll bet everyone she knows from grade school on got a variation of this e-mail. (Just be aware that some people might consider this spam and delete without reading. Usually I do, but I recognized Sariah's name from a blog that she does.)
2. She is targeting bloggers. Bloggers who write about her book and post links help spread the word and increase sales. When someone Googles her name or the title of the book, a whole slew of sites will show up. If they're all saying good stuff it increases the buyer's willingness to purchase the book. If you don't think this is effective, I ask you, ever heard of "viral videos"? Also, getting on blogs is free advertising for Sariah's book. (Some bloggers might ask for payment or a copy of the book and it might be worth it to oblige them, depending on their hit count.)
3. Speaking of blogs, before Sariah sent out this e-mail, she had been blogging regularly. People who like what they read on her blog are a lot more likely to purchase her book.
4. She has her website in the e-mail in two places, including a link that the reader can click on to go there. She has made it very, very easy for people to go find out more.
5. She's sponsoring a contest--several in fact. Contests are always a good thing. The one that is really good is the "Tell a Friend" contest. You win by spreading the word about how others can win a contest.
6. When you actually go to Sariah's website, it looks really cool. Very professional. A good web impression can be subliminal encouragement to buy the book. Even though our logical minds know that creating a website and writing a good book are two completely different skill sets, our emotional mind (which drives our book buying) does not. Like judging a book by its cover, we often judge an author by their website.
When your book is accepted for publication, talk to your publisher and start planning how you will get some grass roots publicity for your book. Sometimes the publisher will be willing to provide the cash, gift cards and books for your winners. Sometimes it will come out of your budget. But either way, this is a great way to use e-mail and the Internet to promote your book.
NOTE TO ALL AUTHORS: Please do NOT bombard me with e-mails about your books and expect them to be posted on this site. I have only posted this one because it is the first I've received here and because it is a great example of what to do and how to do it. I will not be posting any other e-mails of this type unless they show an exceptional grasp of marketing and/or provide a teaching moment.