Book Marketing and Social Networks
October 19, 2007 3:20 PM   Subscribe

What are some clever web 2.0 / social networking tools to use to market a book to college aged kids in America these days?

I've got a book that's about to come out, and I've got a big social network of my own to work with. What are some effective, unique, cool, and smart ways to spread the word?

I'm not super familiar with how to promote things on Facebook or My Space but I know there are multiple ways. How hard is it to write a simple gadget (text and a pic) to include on peoples facebook pages?

The main character in the book is going to have his own My Space and Facebook Page, so how can I use that in my plan? There will, of course, be a book webpage with chapter excerpts and a blog for the character. Any clever viral-worthy gimmick ideas that are easy?

Any real idea, no matter how dumb or seemingly obvious, is welcome!

(anony due to pen name)
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are missing out about what your book is about or at least genre, which would be a big help. Can you pass it to Jessamyn or Cortex to drop into the thread?
posted by parmanparman at 3:31 PM on October 19, 2007

Can you register a real myspace and facebook profile for him? and friend him?
posted by Mr. Gunn at 3:58 PM on October 19, 2007

Some of my friends who have written YA books have made book trailers and put them up on Youtube.
posted by sugarfish at 4:15 PM on October 19, 2007

One comment, Facebook doesn't like fake profiles.
posted by Good Brain at 4:23 PM on October 19, 2007

Get all your friends on facebook to install the "books iRead" app and have them add your book in the "wanna read", "reading it", or "read it" category.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2007

Oh, you can also pay for a fairly targeted facebook flyer. They're not too expensive. I like sugarfish's book trailer idea too (get your friends to link to the videos, of course)
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:10 PM on October 19, 2007

Telling your actual friends about it—yes, enabling communication between friends is what makes these sites a service that we use, instead of an annoyance that we ignore.

Flyer—anything would be better than that awful Win-a-Free-iPod thing they keep giving me now.

Start a facebook group for reader discussion. When your own friends join, their friends will hear about it.

Fakebooking—DO NOT WANT.

An application? For your book? Is that what you're asking about? Bad idea, man.

An application that causes its users to autoshill all their friends to install it too? Congratulations, a rock-solid guarantee that this college kid will conscientiously avoid your book till the end of his days.
posted by eritain at 6:15 PM on October 19, 2007

If you can build an application like the Harry Potter ones (actually do something, ie; cast a spell, get an avatar of your character) then maybe do it, but just a picture on the profile? Lame. I would go with making a group instead, perhaps have an event for the release and invite your real friends to it, hope it spreads through them. Also do a flyer.
Basically, what eritain said.
posted by jacalata at 7:48 PM on October 19, 2007

Fakebooking—DO NOT WANT.

posted by birdlady at 7:52 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Honestly, any web gimmicks will make me and my friends think your book is a gimmick.

On the other hand, if one of my friends reads your book and likes it, they'll mention it. It will go on a lot of book lists. If those people agree, the cycle repeats, ad infinitum.

And my friends are just credible college kids.

That's what I'm trying to say: gimmicks will make me question the credibility of your book. It's like those fancy wine bottles -- the fancier the bottle, the less I believe the wine can sell itself. Good wine comes in boring bottles; the bottle is irrelevant to the wine.

The "gimmick" I suggest: sell the first printing of the book for $1 a copy. If your book is really interesting, you'll have a whole lot of evangelists telling people to read it. You can sell the second printing to those people for as much as you want.

Oh, and give the book away to professors. If it gets into curriculum, you'll have a market that must buy your book.
posted by Galen at 9:42 AM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Facebook is suffering from information pollution. Before I noticed 5 or 6 things on a profile and they carried a great importance. Now there's so much information that each subject is becoming increasingly marginal. If you're trying to maximize book sales under some sort of imaginary integral, I am sure marketing professionals will tell you that hard selling and using flyers, gifts or other traditional marketing mechanisms will saturate the market and get your highest obtainable revenue, this perhaps shouldn't be the goal, as it doesn't count a indirect awards.

The only two things I consistently pay attention to in the Facbook feeds are (1) friends that friend's add, (2) events friend's go to.

So if I am a friend of your friend, and this network is exponentially large, I will see "geoff. friend Winthrop von der Pretentious is attending 'Anonymous Book Release Party.'" More importantly if I see multiple friends attending the same party it raises my awareness even more.

My point is to use traditional mechanisms of exposure to their maximum potential. Use Facebook groups for discussion, hold parties when you go for book signings or something similar. These are all traditional ways of accomplishing exposure, except it is increased through the Internet. When I see someone I never heard of, advertising aggressively in an unproven medium, I feel sold to -- and that's not good.

The HBR Oct '07 has an article about segmenting customers using a formula based on discounted cash flows. A customer such as an "Advocate" has a greater value now over a given reader because they would get more people to read your book, as if branches off a node. I recommend you pick it up and soak in how it talks about a methodology of favoring, potentially very valuable readers, for long term success. The math and technical jargon are suspect and what you get with the HBR, but the basic methodology is expanded on what others have suggested in more intuitive language here (i.e., send it to professors).
posted by geoff. at 1:22 PM on October 20, 2007

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