Okat newspaper reviews are dying off.  Okay, the Internet is where it's at.

Okay, the Internet is a swamp.

Anyone have creative ideas on increasing the signal-to-noise ratio and generating some focused interest online?  What I did for my last book, BREATHING WATER, worked, but it took almost four months out of my life.  I sifted through more than 400 review sites -- everything from the bigs to the littlest and most personal blogs, got my publisher to give me 50 ARCs, and e-mailed the moderator of the 90 sites I liked best.  When the blog seemed to appeal to a special interest, I generated a specific pitch.  I offered each of them an ARC in exchange for a snail mail address where I could send it.

I got more responses than I had ARCs and had to make up some bound reduced manuscripts to fill in.  I would up with almost 40 online reviews and -- more important -- those contact names and the physical addresses of the reviewers,  (This was, by the way, a MUCH better result than I got when I paid Fauzia Burke's firm $6000 for the second campaign they did for me.)

I suppose I'm going to do it all again this time.  Morrow has been kind enough to give me a whopping stack of ARCs.  But does anyone have other ideas?  I mean, honestly, if (a) the Internet is the future and (b) most publishers can't handle it, isn't it to our advantage to figure it out?

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I've been wondering about this myself, looking forward to answers from the more experienced groupers...

Tim, the big question--how much did these online reviews help with sales for Breathing Water?
I agree with Dave. Did these reviews turn into sales?
Hi, Dave --

Hard to say. What I do know is that the book sold and is selling better on Amazon than in stores, and it seems to me that online reviews probably drive online sales more than brick-and-mortar sales. The reviews were all strongly positive -- a lot of "one of the best of the year" reactions -- and, in fact, it sold a little better than the second in the series, THE FOURTH WATCHER, for which I hired an online publicist.

What I do know is that I wouldn't feel as though I'd done my job if I didn't try to support sales in every possible way, which is why I make video promos (here's the one I made for BREATHING WATER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_ThwWON14c) visit bookstores and libraries, etc.

What I want to do is target all that energy more productively. I feel like I waste a lot of motion.
I just passed your name and a strong recommendation to the reviewer for THE JAPAN TIMES. He's interested. That translates to me into a coming review. I loved A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART.
He's got the book already, so no need for an ARC. Unless you need the latest reviewed -- in which case, e-mail me.
That is SO sweet of you, IJ. Will e-mail you re: the ARC of THE QUEEN OF PATPONG.
Here's several specific ideas;

1. Advertise on-screen in movie theaters--hose visual spots of advertisements we see before the movie clips.
And use some imagination in verbiage and visuals when you advertise. Catch the reader's eye.

2. Banner Ads inserted on web sites like Thrilling Detective. Thrilling Detective gets a huge number of hits on
a yearly basis. Lots of eyes will see your ad.

3. Web sites like this place, Facebook, My Space. And the ezines that specialize in crime fiction, see if you
can get a banner ad on those sites. Again . . . you're playing with sheer numbers.
Thanks, B.R.

I think the movie idea is probably prohibitively expensive, between the payment to the theater and the need for something can can be projected that large without falling apart, but I like the other thoughts, especially the banner ads, which I'll price out ASAP. Maybe I can do something creative with them.
No no, you don't write a movie. It's basic advertising. An oversized Banner Ad would work.
It requires a lot of writing time, and the online stuff -- blogging, stories, chat rooms -- didn't sell as many books for me as the face-to-face meetings with librarians and bookstore owners. I got a few to read my books and those who liked it a lot recommended me to other librarians and/or book buyers. Supersellers, I've heard these readers called. A nice chunk of the NJ library system got behind my NJ protag.
It's a time sink. The guest blogs alone can take days, if you decide to do a bunch of them. And at times I have the sense that the 20 sites I did all have the same 13 readers. But if I don't do it, I feel like I've left potentially important stones left unturned.

I did 20 stores in 16 states for BREATHING WATER. Took almost 6 weeks and put 9200 miles on my car. But I know it was worth it, because most of those stores went on to sell books. They gave my books better display after the events and the staff recommended then when they thought it was appropriate. But boy was it a slog.


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