On Sunday, March 20, Annie Begins will be the featured book on Stephanie Elliot's phenomenal "March Madness" book giveaway, where she runs a bit of a lottery every day of this month giving away the books of writers like Emily Giffin, Allie Larkin, Laura Dave, Allison Pearson, and....me! It surely goes without saying how excited I am to be in the company of these great authors, many of whom are Stephanie's personal friends. (I recommend checking out Steph's various blogs, one of which includes an excerpt of her novel in progress; she's a terrific writer.) I've noticed that giveaways are a popular form of book promotion and it makes sense--readers love discovering new work and writers are eager to get the word out about theirs. But what I especially like about how Stephanie is approaching this is that she chooses a question that relates to the theme of the book and asks her readers to answer it as part of their "entry" into the daily drawing. The result is a lively discussion and a sense of community, and also a way for potential readers to get into the spirit or theme of a book while deciding whether to read it. I had noticed an interview by Catherine MacKenzie talking to Emily Giffin on this topic that shares additional insights about book promotion. Check it out for other excellent ideas.
I am somewhat dumbstruck by the sheer number of profiles, book pages, author pages, websites, blogs, twitter accounts, etc. that writers are utilizing to manage their interface with readers online. I myself am, just as of tonight, the proud owner of a new Facebook Book Page (which has precisely two friends so far) and an Amazon Author Page (which I am in the process of updating so that you can actually *see* my all-white book cover against the all-white background!), and I await the completion of my website while relying on the temporary one I built. Once my book is available I will create an author page on GoodReads and Shelfari, and I am sure I am missing something (feel free to comment on what that might be!). One thing I am not doing is Twitter -- I don't already tweet, and believe I need to master the proliferating venues I've already committed to before trying to express myself in 140-character spurts. This seems a little out of control right now, the different ways we provide essentially the same information to readers, but at the same time, I don't want to miss someone who prefers Facebook to, say, Blogger. So, at least until the whole online universe rationalizes itself or someone makes the master app that lets you manage everything from one central location, I will be updating across platforms just like everyone else! There is much more to be said on the topic of promotion, so with the recognition that this has just scratched the surface, I think a good next step for me is to produce the definitive list of places to have an online presence for a writer. I tend to start lists like this at Google, guessing someone else has already done it. I'll post here whatever I find.