Authors and publishers are constantly looking for innovative marketing and branding strategies to bring books to a new and ever widening audience in a cost effective way. As publisher’s face shrinking marketing budgets and travel costs increase, the traditional author tour is not always a practical way to promote your book. There are, however, some relatively inexpensive (and sometimes free) ways to connect directly with hundreds of readers and potential readers without ever setting foot in an airport, train station or car.
Teleseminars are live phone conferences where anywhere from a few to hundreds of readers can simultaneously dial into a number and hear an author speak, live, about his or her book. You might recall Oprah doing this with her on-air book club this year and she was able to bring the author to literally hundreds of thousands of people not only on her television show, but in a more in-depth and intimate way, via teleseminar.
You don’t need to be Oprah to accomplish something similar albeit on a smaller scale. Yet what publisher or author would be unhappy about sharing their book with 100-500 people at one time? Most would consider that a valuable use of the author’s time and energy.
During teleseminars, authors can give a talk about their book, a short reading or even discuss something relating to the topic of their book. Depending on the teleseminar platform you use, listeners can type questions into a chat box, real time, or submit questions ahead of time for the author to address. This could be ideal for book groups who might want to read an author’s work and then chat with that author at one of their gatherings.
There are many teleseminar platforms. One of my favorites is Instant Teleseminar. This platform, and many others offer the ability to record and archive your call. The recording can then be available on the author’s website for fans and readers who were unable to attend the call live. Authors and publishers might even consider offering access to the recording as an incentive to sign up for an author’s mailing list. That mailing list can be used to update fans about upcoming national media, local in-person appearances or new books.
Teleseminars accomplish several brand building goals at once. First, authors connect with readers and potential readers in person and establish an emotional connection with the highly motivated people who took the time to come and hear what you had to say. That means you are connecting with people who are already invested in you and your writing. Second, you’ve given those brand evangelizers or fans additional information; information not available in your book but only directly from you because they’ve had a virtual conversation with you via the teleseminar where you shared your passion for writing and for the topic of your book. Third, you’ve created a permanent link where new readers can come to hear what you said via the teleseminar recording and you now have something unique to offer as an incentive to sign up for an author newsletter or e-mail list.
Here are a couple of classic teleseminar styles that can be used effectively to promote books.
- The Interview: Find someone with a large online following on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail lists and blogs to host you. In other words, they promote the interview with you, send out the invitations to their fans and followers and you provide the content in the way of being the expert or author. The host interviews you and you agree to share the recording link so you both are able to use it on your own websites after the event.
- The solo: If the author or publisher already has a large list or way to reach a large potential audience, you can give a lecture style talk without a host and again, make sure you record the event for future use.
- The Panel discussion: Gather 3 or more authors or experts and promote the talk to each authors friends and followers giving you a much wider base of potential attendees. Agree in advance on the order of presentations to avoid overlap and leave time at the end for questions and have the moderator address questions to specific authors for response.
Consider creating something special that you offer only to people who attend these virtual book club talks. This could be an original essay, a short story, or a discount on your book but it should be something that your potential readers would really want from you. Make that available on your website and if the special offer is instantly downloadable once the reader has signed in, all the better.
The goal here is to expose both author and book to a new, wider audience, excite them about the work, motivate them to want to stay in touch with the author and ultimately encourage them to purchase the book.
In future posts, we’ll discuss using the Events application in Facebook and LinkedIn to promote the teleseminar and adding Twitter as an additional broadcasting tool to get the word out. If you have any questions about virtual book tours, post them here and I’ll respond. Let’s create conversations about YOU and your book in 2010.