103 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2009
I was excited to get this book since I wanted new ways to "plug" my book. Currently I have an ebook and the subtitle of "Online Book Marketing for Authors" got me to take a look at Weber's book.
The copyright date is 2007 and since then a lot has changed. In fact he has a section on social marketing. It is all about MySpace. There is no mention of Facebook. To Steve's credit he has set up a site (blog) with updates and there he does have posts about Facebook and social marketing. This book, however needs an updated edition.
This isn't necessarily a bad book if you want to focus on marketing your book through Amazon, which is what most of the book is focused on. If that's your goal then this is a good book to get. The writing and layout of the book is good and makes it easy to read.
Bottom line is that the subtitle should be "Online Book Marketing Through Amazon and MySpace", and it is in need of a serious update/revision.
82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
One rule of thumb among independent consultants is that they should spend about half their time not just doing the job they do, but schmoozing and hustling the next job. Weber proposes something similar for writers. The craft of writing the book itself is dealt with elsewhere, at length. Weber deals with writing about your book, and about all the other hustling that it takes to get people to pick it up in the first place. He identifies two big parts to this job: selling the book, and selling the writer.
An unknown writer is in the odd position of proving he has something to say before anyone will listen. A solid third of the book, plus a pervasive atmosphere throughout the rest, talks about creating an internet presence: blogging, social networking, and generally putting yourself where your potential customers will see you. If you want their eyes on your writing, you have to put a lot of it out there, with new content all the time to keep them coming back. (The motto of the internet may be "Yeah, but what about lately?") Building a following takes time, maybe years, and the day the book hits the streets is way too late. The ongoing effort may seem daunting. If you're really a writer, though, you would have been writing anyway. Weber's advice is about putting it where it will do the most good.
Then when your book is on the electronic shelves of the internet booksellers, a whole new job begins. (A new writer's share of brick'n'mortar shelf space is just about zero - your choices are the internet or the trunk of your car.) Weber discusses dozens of techniques for directing buyers to your book, centered largely on Amazon. He discusses lists, links, tags, and especially reader reviews like this one. Positive reader reviews may be the biggest thing that sells a reader, once they've found your book's page. Free review copies, like the one I'm reviewing, are one great way to get the first few reviews written.
Weber is well aware of the line between intense promotion and unethical shilling, including embarrassing cases where writers were outed as authors of glowing reviews for their own books. There are cases, though, where the line is subjective - the difference between eagerness and aggressiveness is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.
There are reams of useful tips here. One interested me in particular: writing your book so as to make the most of the internet sales venue. When I first opened this book, its dense and detailed table of contents took me by surprise - it lists two or three entries for some individual pages. That made sense after Weber pointed out that booksellers sometimes display the TOC or index on the product page. A detailed TOC or index lets the author make as much use as possible of this feature. Well, it's a new kind of world out there. Weber offers a useful guide to navigating your book through it.
//wiredweird, reviewing a complimentary copy
59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
You've got your novel all written, proofread, and have even found someone to read it and give a good critique of it, and his suggestions were all carefully considered and where appropriate implemented. Now what?
For most new authors, what's next is an excruciating travail of trying to find someone interested in actually publishing it. The process can take years. But then you find a small publisher willing to take a flyer on your book, and you finally hold an actual printed copy in your hands. Your job as the author is done now, right? Surely your publisher will do everything possible to make this book sell, and sell...
Well, maybe. More likely is that their `marketing' department will only put out a few announcements, try and set up a few speaking/book signing events for you, and have it on the shelves for a few months only. If you really want to make your book sell, you need to do something about it yourself. How?
Read this book. Follow its suggestions. Doing so is not a small amount of work, but you've already invested a huge amount of effort in writing your book, so a little additional effort is probably more than justified.
This book has as its main focus spreading the word about your book through various on-line sites and tools. Weber makes the telling point that the network is your friend, that one mention at one place leads to another connection at another site - and readers of these sites, seeing your book mentioned more than once, are far more likely to buy your book.
The main tool he recommends is this site. For better or worse, Amazon is the 800 lb gorilla of on-line book marketing. Weber details many, many features of this site that can help you sell your book and precisely how you can take advantage of them. Prime is garnering reviews of your book, and Weber does an excellent job of explaining which reviewers to contact and how to get those reviews without coming across as a spammer. To some degree, this review feels a little incestuous, as I'm one of the resources he lists as useful. He also explains the various `tie-in' tools available to authors and publishers, the Amazon sales ranking system, the benefits and downsides of contracting to get your book pushed up in the Amazon rank system, linking possibilities, and what to do about reviews that appear that you might consider inappropriate or factually in error, along with many other things.
Other, more traditional methods of promoting your book, and other on-line retailers are not ignored, but they receive a much less detailed delineation, along with comments about how hard most of these methods are for an individual author to actually use.
The second main tool he recommends is the blog/web site. Once again, the main idea is to get your book noticed by those who care about your subject matter. He details where and how to set up a blog, and gives solid recommendations about what content it should contain, from press-release type material to audio/visual author interviews (and also gives some pretty good estimates of the cost factors of producing such materials). Google page-ranking, click-ads, and other such items relating to how easily searches for your book's subject material will actually return your book's title are also covered.
Third is something he identifies as `social networking' on places like MySpace. Once again, he offers very specific suggestions on how to go about this without irritating those you are communicating with, a highly important point on today's net where anything even remotely looking like spam is going to be immediately ignored.
Now the real question is, do Weber's recommended actions actually work? The answer to this is a qualified `yes': in general, it won't make your book a best-seller, but can get it into the mid-list sales numbers, assuming your book is of general interest and is well written - a point Weber emphasizes, as no amount of marketing will help a bad book. Weber gives several examples of authors who have been successful in this manner, and I know from tracking a couple of authors that I like that things like a well-written blog and good reviews can do a lot to get a book noticed and bought.
Throughout this book, Weber gives specific web addresses, contact information, and setup instructions. As such things can change with lightning speed on the web, he also maintains a on-line site that has updates to such information.
About the only thing missing from this was an overall estimate of just how much effort doing all the things he recommends would take. While this is certainly not a minor number, it's also true that few people would actually try and do everything specified here. A person planning on trying his suggestions should carefully read this once, then go back a second time and determine which particular portions of it are both applicable to his book and are something he thinks he can actually do.
In all, a very solid, practical book that should be of great value, especially to new or lesser-known writers.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I really liked this book a lot. It was jam packed with content and great information. I've been using the Amazon site for a little over a year now to help me with my SCORE counseling. And I've written a number of book reviews on books I recommend during my SCORE counseling. As a result, I have become quite familiar with the inner workings of the Amazon site. In my humble opinion, this book does a great job of demystifying Amazon so an author, consultant, or coach can use the site to maximize exposure for their book or publications. The marketing system this book includes will work well for nonfiction writings. Fiction writers probably won't get much benefit from this book, but maybe authors of children's books could benefit?
The book includes material on the following six topics:
1. Amazon Online Retailer
2. Other Major Online Retailers
3. Ethics of Online Marketing
4. Web Sites
5. Blogs (A Special Kind of Web Site)
6. Networking Online
Topics 1 and 4 through 6 were covered in some depth as follows:
Amazon Online Retailer
>>Amazon Bestseller Campaigns
>>Google, Amazon, Digital Content
>>Selling on Amazon, Beyond
>>Amateur Book Reviews
>>Tag - You're It!
>>Advanced Amazon Tools
>>Building Your Author Web Site
>>Book Promotion with e-Books
>>Pay Per Click Advertising
>>Revenue from Your Web Site
Blogs (A Special Kind of Web Site)
>>Blogging for Authors
>>Author Blog Platforms Up Close
>>Syndicating Your Content
>>Beyond the Blogosphere
>>Electric Word of Mouth
My favorite topic covered was Amazon Online Retailer. That topic definitely dominates the text. The topics on Web sites didn't do a whole lot for me since I'm pretty well versed on that subject. Recently I have read a few books on blogging, and the coverage on that topic was good. And I enjoyed reading what the author had to say about Networking Online (NO). I may want to try some of the suggestions on NO to help market a business I'm starting?
Although I gave this book a "5 star" rating, I came very close to giving it just 4 stars. The outline of a book and its flow are VERY important to me. The topics I list above were the chapter titles in the book. But they are not organized here the way they were in the book. Thus, the book did not really flow for me. Just the same... 5 stars!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
While not exhaustive,this book is a GREAT checklist of things to do to promote your book. Yes, the publisher promised. No, you have to do stuff yourself. Did you forget MySpace? A blog? This book has ideas you may have forgotten, or at least it serves as a gentle reminder and organizer. Recommended.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
Authors can't rely solely on their publishers to do the marketing for their book especially self-publishers. They need to take it in their own hands and the Internet simplifies the task. However, are authors making full use of the Internet? Plug Your Book! is a checklist complete with instructions so authors ensure they explore every potential book promotion resource.
The book's introduction gives good advice on how to use this book. Make a copy of the table of contents and cross off each item as you do them or pass over them. To be thorough, read the book and decide which methods work best.
As a frequent book reviewer, I've seen successful authors rely on many of the tactics covered in this book. Book marketing goes beyond using Amazon, blogs and your own web site. Weber shows how to get more mileage from these resources and points to others like social networks, search engines, and tags.
Creating an account in MySpace may be obvious to most. Some tips Weber offers for making MySpace work for you including making the right friends, managing your top eight pictures, and paying extra attention to specific parts of the profile. He provides detailed advice so there's no confusion on what to do.
The Internet makes it easy for authors and publishers to use other identities in posting positive book reviews and buying books to boost the book's rank. Weber briefly addresses the ethics of marketing books online.
Authors and Internet pros who know about most of the resources covered in the book will benefit because of its organization, scannable contents, readability and conciseness. Plug Your Book! succeeds in ensuring the author makes the most of every opportunity and resource.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2007
The World Wide Web is a wonderful Al Gore invention; at long last, authors from small houses or authors who have self-published can finally compete with the big boys in terms of marketing and promotion. But for those of us rather technically challenged (myself included) the Internet--and its virtually limitless options--can be a rather intimidating accomplice when it comes to how and where to most effectively promote your book. Enter Steve Weber and his little gem of a how-to: PLUG YOUR BOOK! ONLINE BOOK MARKETING FOR AUTHORS.
Weber starts with the obvious--Amazon, the world's largest bookseller. Most of the features here I already knew about and had played with, yet Weber effectively covers all the bases and offers enlightening tips to make your title soar in the Amland sales rankings. Of more interest to me were his discussions of promotion elsewhere online, including blogging, setting up an account on MySpace. . .even utilizing ebay. Wow. None of this stuff would have occurred to me if I had had a gunnysack full of epiphanies.
Weber not only tells you about these websites, he gives you links to everything. The information is presented in a concise, informative, and organized manner (just like I like it), and Weber doesn't wax poetic on anything--just the facts.
I have implemented several of Weber's suggestions, but have only scratched the tip of the cyber iceberg. For those of you who have written or are writing a book, I highly recommend you use PLUG YOUR BOOK! as your online marketing guide. Your pocketbook will thank you later.
--D. Mikels, Author, DAWN OF THE TRANSCENDENCE/WALK-ON/THE RECKONING
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Steve Weber's book is packed with tips to help authors promote their books online. The book is full of inside information on how Google, Amazon and other less well known websites work and how you can best use them to promote your book. Weber also discusses the best use of blogs, MySpace and internet groups. He clearly knows his topic inside out and is candid about both the disadvantages or potential pitfalls of each medium.
Weber provides very specific "how to" instructions for the novice book promoter, such as letter templates that can easily be customized. His writing style is very simple and enjoyable to read. If you are wanting to promote your book online, this is an essential reference manual that you will refer to again and again.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2007
I consider myself a mega marketer when it comes to promoting my book, and have earned the nickname of Shameless Promoter in my circle of peers and friends. Over the past 4 years I have tried many strategies to increase my internet "exposure". Many of them have been small time. Some didn't work at all.
Steve and I seem to be 'on the same page' when it comes to how important it is to market books online. It's vital. You can reach millions of people if you know how. If you follow Steve's advice you will have thousands of people a day finding you and your book. Do you know how many book signings that would take?
Do you want to see your book make a bestsellers' list? Get 'plugged in'. Plug Your Book is an excellent resource and a MUST-HAVE for every published author. I had been doing many of the things he suggests, but not to the extent and without fully understanding why these things work. If you have written a book, if you want to sell that book, then you need Steve Weber's book. Like any business, you need the right tools. And Plug Your Book! is definitely one of them.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Author of Divine Intervention
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
I hate to leave critical reviews, but I don't recommend this book.
You might want to skip straight to its companion website [PlugYourBook.com], but even that hasn't been updated in a year. The site is also littered with ads.
I went in knowing a few things:
1. This is aimed for nonfiction authors, not fiction
2. It was written in 2007
I read it cover to cover anyway with the impression that nonfiction marketing can still yield ideas to fiction authors, and that I might still be able to glean timeless marketing theories/methods/case studies from this older material.
I got a few good ideas, but that's it. The real problem with the book is too much of the information is outdated. I mean, there's an entire section devoted to MySpace. The SEO section is four paragraphs long. It talks about how there are no good eReaders so eBooks aren't doing well, and obviously that's not true anymore.
Weber talks a bit about his companion site and how it offers "updated content," but it's really just has a blog with a few publishing news articles. It has a slow posting schedule...only a few posts in 2011 and nothing since. That violates his "post frequently" suggestion in his blog section of the book, which I found ironic.
His book started out strong, with case studies and suggestions of what to do and what not to do. But the second half is comprised of short sections outlining basic/obvious tools and websites with brief discussions of what they offer.
A few ideas are tried and true, and I liked that Weber focused on various ways to employ grassroots marketing. It's clear the focus is doing a little every day over time and building up your readership. He doesn't try to sell you a quick fix, and I respect that. There are some good tips on blogging, and like I said, I did get some good ideas. But I expected more.