Saturday, May 19, 2007

Boosting Book Sales Through Discussion Groups

Discussion Groups can be a gold mine for generating interest in your book. Search discussion group sites like Yahoo Groups and Google Groups for groups that are relevant to the topic of your book. You can also search for discussion groups by subject matter. Type in the search engines +discussion +groups +mothers +young +children, for example. Join the groups that have at least 500 members and are active. It's better if the group is un-moderated. You're not going to spam, absolutely not. But groups that are un-moderated usually have higher activity levels. The posts don't have to go through the time lag that's required for the moderator to approve it. If the group is moderated you can see if the activity level is high by looking at the number of posts in a month.

Some groups are un-moderated, but a new member's first few posts have to be approved. That cuts out the spam, which is a good thing.

You want at least 500 members so the base is large enough to have enough members that might be interested in the topic of your book.

In your profile make sure your signature includes your website, blog, and title of your book and brief description with a link. Some discussion lists have limits on what can be included in your signature and how long it can be.

Now take a few hours and read the previous posts to get the flavor of the group. That first day just introduce yourself. Members will most likely welcome you aboard. You can reply with a thank you. Every time you post you are gaining visibility, but don't overdo it. It's annoying to see the same person just post "I agree." or "me too," just for the sake of posting.

Over the next few days respond to posts that are relevant to your book. Provide helpful information, resources or relevant links. You don't have to mention your book because it's in your signature. What you're doing is establishing yourself as a valid and valuable member of the group.

You could also write a couple of articles and post them to an article directory like, Ezine Articles. When the subject comes up in a post in your discussion group, you can include the link to the article as a resource. Most of the article directory sites allow you to include a bio box. In the bio box include a statement such as "If you want to learn more about – subject of your book -- please visit"

Posting articles also establishes your credibility with the discussion group as an expert.

When a group post addresses a problem that your book solves, save that post in a folder. Most groups have options that allow you to either bookmark a post, or separate it and file it in a folder. After you've been a member of the group for a week or so, start replying to the posts you've saved with a very gentle response that you can help the person. Ask them if you could send them additional information about your book? In this way you're asking permission for them to become a sales lead for you.

Even better is to compile a brief report, say 2000-3000 words that's relevant to your book. At the end of the report include a description of your book and links. Offer your free report. When they request the report you can follow up with an email about your product.

This procedure works with fiction as well as nonfiction, although it's a little bit more of a challenge. Just think of your characters, the location of your story, and the theme. Say your book is about a woman who solves mysteries while running a flower shop. You could address gardening groups and flower arranging groups for example. I'm sure you can come up with lots of ideas.

If you spend 30 minutes a day participating in discussion groups you can substantially increase the visibility of your book, and hopefully sales.

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About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them,. They are also the authors of a novel, Over Time - Love, Money and Football: All the Important things in life.

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