Sunday, November 9, 2008

FOR WRITERS: Promoting your book on

One of my favorite places to promote my books is on the social networking site: You might have heard of Gather already through their First Chapters contest. The winner receives a cash reward and a publishing contract, and many talented writers have been discovered through it. What you may not know is that people swap recipes, health articles and photos of their vacations, just to name a few.

To get a sense of how Gather works, click the People, Groups or Explore buttons on the top of the page. Then at the very bottom you can click on Books, Family, Food, Health, etc.

On Gather, you can share articles, photos and videos. First you need to create a profile, which is similar to Myspace, but a lot easier as you don’t need any html programming for your page. Every time you share an article or image you will receive Gather points, which apparently can be redeemed for cash (the site has changed since I signed up, so this may no longer be the case). I elected to give my earnings to charity, as I knew I’d already be benefiting from the site as a marketing tool, but you will have to decide which option to choose. You’ll need to post your profile photo as well.

Before you start sharing any articles, you need to find people to send them to. The quickest way to start getting the word out (without spending a lot of time finding people to connect to) is to join groups. There are many book groups on Gather, including Borders, and you’ll need to click on their icon and click the ‘join this group’ button. You can click the Groups button at the top of Gather’s home page and search groups for those that enjoy reading the kind of books you write (this info is usually provided in their profile, just like on Myspace). Or, you’re welcome to piggyback on my page:

Click the groups button just above my profile photo. Then click on the group icon and join that group. Most of my groups are book related, or welcome general postings of all kind.

Now that you have some groups to send your content to, click on the ‘share’ button just beneath your profile photo on your ‘my Gather’ page. This will then take you to a page where you can click on sharing a photo, article or video. Another window will open that will allow you to upload a photo or video, or write an article. After you’re done writing your article or uploading your image, you will be asked to add tags (one-letter descriptions of your content that makes your entry searchable). The rating and comments option is automatic, so I suggest you click on the blue options button to disallow ratings, although I’d keep the comments open. This is to discourage DB1’s (people who don’t read your content, just drive by and slam it with a 1). Most people who leave a comment will really care about your content. Then you will have to click on which groups you want to send your content to. Your content will automatically go to all of your friends, and if you don’t have any yet, don’t worry. People will often reach out to you. Now, you rate your content if necessary, then submit it.

You can get to your articles from the ‘my posts’ link on your Gather page. Click the title and it will open to any comments you have received. Whenever you receive a comment (or any other activity on Gather), an email notification will be sent to the email address you provided when you signed up. You do have the option of removing these alerts from your ‘email preferences’.

Play with the other buttons on the site and you will soon get a grasp of how to navigate around. I do want to point out that from your ‘my Gather’ space, there will be notes on how many messages you received (click to open your Gather email inbox), friend requests, and group invitations.

Many of the Books Groups love getting reviews, so I will often post reviews for my own books that others have written (with acknowledgement, of course). Again, you might want to check out my Gather page to get an idea of the type of articles I’ve posted. If you have a blog, especially if your content is geared toward articles about the writing craft, sharing your posts on Gather would be beneficial to you and the community. I’ve received helpful feedback on book videos, covers and articles. And most importantly, I’ve met some really terrific, supportive people. Just be prepared to give back what you receive, as far as providing advice and encouragement to your connections.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Until next time,

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