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Shameless Book Promotion

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I hear it all the time. How did I get people to buy my book?


The simple answer is to make it as easy as possible. In two previous blog posts I talked about the role book cover design and book descriptions play in a reader’s decision to buy a book. Preferably, your book.


My third suggestion is to take a page out of the New York Times playbook. 


I subscribe to Read Like The Wind, a weekly newsletter published by the New York Times. Each newsletter typically reviews 2-3 books, similar in some way, then offers additional books and related book topics to consider. The reviews are interesting, and I always enjoy the subtle ways that the books are related. But lately, I have been reading the weekly book reviews in a new way—from the bottom up.


At the end of each book review is the following:


Read If You Like: . . .

Available From: . . .


The reviewer uses the ‘Read If You Like’ section to identify other aspects of the book that a reader might find interesting.


For example, the most recent book review in Read Like The Wind was “The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy,” by Rachel Cusk. The actual book review starts off with:


What you want in a travel writer is a superb noticer of things. In this chronicle of a summer in Italy with her family, Cusk notices the “tiny crescent smile” of a nun on a train and the “slender, murderous shoes” of women in Naples . . .


And ends with:


Read If You Like: Pizza, the painting of Raphael, the travel writing of Patrick Leigh Fermor, being imperious.

Available From: Check your library or local bookstore, or buy from the publisher.


Honestly, if all I had to consider was the book review / description, I would have moved on to the next review. It is impossible to cover all of the facets of a book in a summary, review, or synopsis. 


But having read the ‘Read If You Like” first, I was reading the review with interest in the additional topics specifically of interest to me—pizza, the painting of Raphael, and being imperious. All things that made me curious enough to read the review and consider buying the book. I had no idea who Patrick Leigh Fermor was, but the fact that he was listed made me Google him and see what I was missing. Learning something new made me appreciate the book even more.  


Reading such a dispirit list of “if you likes’ puts the book in a whole new light. 


And that is exactly the point. Shamelessly promote what is of interest in your book beyond the plot and characters. Give me some fun Read If You Like tangents to get me interested in your book and watch what happens. 


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