Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ask Britt: How Do I Promote My Do-Good Book Online?

This week's Ask Britt question comes from a friend who is helping a changemaker launch a new book. She asks (I'm paraphrasing):
"How Do I Promote My Do-Good Book Online?"
Here are a handful of ideas:

1. Ask bloggers to review/write about your book

You can find a list of the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati as a place to start, but all of their audiences may not be appropriate for your topic. You might have better luck approaching bloggers listed on:

Changeblogger wiki
BlogHer's lists of Social Change/Nonprofit and Green BlogHers
Best Green Blogs
Social Change Websites' blog section

You can also search for bloggers writing about your specific topic on Google Blog Search, Technorati and's Blog Search.

Before you draft your blogger outreach email, check out my 10 Tips for Asking Bloggers to Write About Your Cause.

2. Set up a virtual book tour

I first heard about virtual book tours through Kevin Smokler. Basically, a couple months before your book's release you contact bloggers, podcasters and vloggers whose audiences are a good fit for your book and ask them if they would like to interview you, review your book, have you guest post, or host an interactive event with you using a service like Gabbly.

3. List your readings on

Isn't it frustrating when your favorite author comes to town and you don't hear about it till 3 hours before? is a free directory created by Kevin Smokler, Chris Anderson and Adam Goldstein that makes it easy for book lovers to find out what authors will be coming to their town. Add your events so that can find you too.

4. Create video trailers

After watching the Michael Franti video for his new song, Say Hey, I can't wait for his new album to come out next month. Some authors are also creating video trailers to generate excitement around their book launch.

You can see some fancy examples on and the YouTube channel.

Here are a couple examples of videos individual authors created on their own:
• Gayle Brandeis' video for her novel, Self Storage
• Michael Belfiore's video for his book, Rocketeers

5. Connect with readers on social networks

There are a lot of social networks out there where you can meet with present and potential readers. Facebook and MySpace are of course the biggies, but you might want to consider creating a presence on a do-good social network like, Care2, Just Cause, Razoo, WiserEarth or World of Good too.

Here is an example of author Kim Keltner's page on, a social network oriented for folks over 30.

You may also want to start Twittering. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging tool where news travels fast. You can find other Twitterers who are interested in your book's topic on the TwitterPack wiki.

6. Have a Contest

Everybody loves to win, and contests move quickly over the web.

Here are a few ideas:
• A video book trailer, or video book review contest. The winner gets a Flip Video camera.
• Flickr photo contest. The author of Social Software in Libraries hosted an Alternative Book Cover contest. The winners got signed copies of her book and were announced at the Computers in Libraries Conference.
• Send bloggers copies of your book to give away as prizes for their own contests.

You can email me your question (please keep it to 50 words) about the do-good, or artistic work you are doing, or want to do, to Title your email, "Ask Britt: your question topic." I won't post your name, but I will post your question with my answer, so keep that in mind as you write if you don't want details in your question to identify you.

Photo Credit: Photo of me answering your questions (: taken by my hubs.


  1. Do you find that the do-good social networks are as useful as the more popular, general social networks like Myspace? Do they have as many users?

  2. Great list, Britt! These are terrific suggestions for all authors but are probably especially useful to authors of books who are more involved with a critical cause than with the ins and outs of online promotion. But you knew that, didn't you? :)

    I'm intertested in learning more about the do-good social networks, too. So much to learn! K.

  3. - Personally, I've found Facebook to be very useful, but it is the social network I use the most. In general, I find that the tools that you put the most time into are the ones that work best for you. I would use a do-good social network if there was a community on it that was specifically interested in your topic.

    For example, on, 180 people have taken 1719 "actions" to "end sexual violence." If my book was about that topic, I would want to connect with those people who are clearly passionate about that issue.

    Sustenance Scout - I'm glad the list is helpful!


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