Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

Originally assembled for Greg Pincus' presentation at the social network workshop, May 22.

Update, September 28: See the new Book promotion on the web wiki.


  • If it's related to technology, civil liberties, free culture -- or the kind of thing that's likely to appeal to geeks -- try to get it on Slashdot. The "/. effect" is huge, and translates to visitors and sales.
  • Are there other high profile blogs/sites where your book is a natural fit? Think of all the communities you're involved in or would like to be.
  • Use Google Alerts to help find places where you, your book, or your area of expertise might be a natural fit.


in progress ... to be presented as one of the modules for the social network workshop
For other Facebook-related resources, please see Social network workshop: Facebook

  1. start a Page, instead of (in addition to?) a group. Unlike groups, pages can have applications. (What are the other advantages?)
  2. use events for book readings, online discussions, and to coordinate and promote blogswarms and carnivals. Events are one of Facebook's most powerful virally networked mechanisms; as Gayle Laakmann describes, "On Facebook, people discover invites for (public) events through their friends - but without their friends inviting them, because of mini-feeds."
  3. be on Facebook long before your book is out. Find friends and join groups where you will be an active participant before coming on simply to promote. Or, if you're a newcomer, partner with somebody who's been around for a while.
  4. create videos and post on your book page: book trailers, read an excerpt, personalize invites to readings
  5. when you send updates to fans, make sure to TELL them to click on the Share button to push the event or fan page out to their network
  6. Make sure your blog feeds into your FB profile and book page. If you blog at multiple places, combine the feeds into a single one using Feedburner -- although keep Facebook's friendly advice in mind: "If you import too many blog posts in a day, you could be blocked from writing or importing new notes, and this could result in your account being disabled."
  7. turn excerpts of your book into jpeg files and add your books as a photo album - it keeps it safe and is the only way to get your book onto facebook product pages at the moment.
  8. use the status update on your personal profile to 'refresh your story'. In other words, don't say "hey, buy my book!" but mention upcoming book related events, exciting reviews, or anything else you want your Facebook friends to know.
  9. use the Posted Items/Share an Item feature to share links about you, your book, or anything else you think people might find interesting.


  • post about it in the Book Warehouse group ("we encourage blatant capitalism!")
  • Using MySpace as an Author Promotional Tool by Rick Reed.
  • when you get a friend request, look at who is asking and see if there's any information you should send them. Many bookstores, libraries, librarians, and book sellers are on MySpace and would actually appreciate good information. Use the opportunity to offer something of value.
  • use the MySpace blog as a means of communication -- put in information your readers would want/be interested in, remind folks of events, make it interactive by answering questions, and update often enough to keep the story (your book!) interesting. A good example is here on author Jay Asher's MySpace blog and how blog info is highlighted on his profile.
  • if you have written a work of fiction, create a profile for your main character(s) or a page for a band featured in your book (for example, Metal Assassin from Mark Haskell Smith's book Salty) or any other variation you come up with that ads value and fun for the reader and potential reader.


Almost everyone at LinkedIn wants to hear about jobs. The easiest way to send all your LinkedIn Contacts a note is as a job offer: "Promoter for my new book." When Adam Shostack published The New School of Information Security it went above #5,000 on Amazon using this technique before any other press, reviews, or PR.


  • Ira Socol suggests building a network of subscribers for your Xanga blog; this has been his biggest source of sales so far for The Drool Room.


  • don't forget about Yahoo! Groups.
  • if there are beautiful or interesting images in your book, get them on Flickr. Consider Creative Commons licensing them to make them easy for others to reuse -- and credit
  • it works for Oprah, so why not give it a try: post questions on Yahoo! Answers and encourage participation.



  • Build a "lens" on Squidoo. You can include links to your blog/webpage and syndicate your blog here as well. Also, Squidoo is set up nicely for selling your book via links you provide.
  • Seth Godin, one of's founders, says that Squidoo is working on some tools for this area. Watch the SquidBlog for details.


  • Authors can blog on via the Amazon Connect program. If you already blog, you can use your blog's RSS feed within the Connect program.

if you self-publish, how do you get your book on Amazon?

Success stories[]

Visibility and sales[]

  • How to create a liberal bestseller describes how Glenn Greenwald's How Would a Patriot Act? "rose from obscurity to number one on Amazon largely because those initial blogs ignited a wildfire of mentions and purchase links throughout the blogosphere."
  • Bloggers Expose and Sell the “Real McCain” describes how Cliff Shechter's book The Real McCain reached #6 on the Amazon biography list with no advertising and no TV appearances, but active promotion in the blogosphere
  • Leinad Zeraus' (aka Daniel Suarez) self-published thriller Daemon grew sales through blog buzz and word of mouth before eventually selling to Dutton... with a sequel also purchased.

Book clubs and salons[]


Articles and discussions[]

Other resources[]