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The Book Discoverability Conundrum

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The Book Discoverability Conundrum

Publishers, help readers discover your book through continuous social media conversations, finding where you need to be online and not trying to be everywhere.

Stephanie Ridge-IBPAby Stephanie Ridge, PR by the Book

It’s a big crazy world out there for a little book.

It feels repetitive to tell you that we’re feeling a lot of change and transition in the book industry. Actually, someone recently explained the flux of the book industry very aptly by saying “even the nature of the flux is up for grabs.” During all of this change, how do we know what tools and trends to give our attention to so that our books might find the right path to the rest of the world?

Perhaps the key to this discoverability conundrum lies within us (cue zen music).

Here are some basics that remain within your own control and can help lay the foundation for finding your book online.


Maintain Your Website

You need a website. When people go looking for your name and title of your book, you want them to be able to find the most up-to-date important information about what you do and where to find your book. Building and branding a well-designed website can take some time, I know, so at the very least make sure you have a landing page that lets people know your website is under construction and directs people to Amazon or any other social platforms where they can find you for now.

Don’t be gun-shy about launching your website either. You don’t need to wait for your book to be published before you start sharing your site.

Don’t Be Afraid of Social Media Either

You don’t need wait for the perfect social media strategy or for some great event to launch your activity on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, even if you have yet to grab your web domain, social media can be great for getting the conversation started in the meantime.

Start building buzz on social platforms and when you’re ready to announce that your site is live, your book has launched, etc., you will have already started building an engaged audience that will help you spread the word.

social media icons

You Don’t Need to be Everywhere

The foil to being social-media-shy is having social media ADD. This is the guy who has every social media badge on his website…even the ones no one recognizes. He probably stopped paying attention to his profile on many of these months ago, making him look outdated to anyone who finds him there. How can he possibly be having genuine interactions with people in all of these places?

It’s best to do less and do it well. You can rely on Facebook and Twitter ruling the social media realm and on reaching your audience in both of these places—they are very good starting points. Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) let you get lost.

Just because you don’t need to be everywhere doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate yourself on trends that come up. If you deal with a topic that might be highly visual, Pinterest should pop up on your radar. Did you write a business book? Look for opportunities on LinkedIn.

Get on Goodreads

You published a book, right? Well, Goodreads is the one social network site that is only populated by readers. Create an author page and utilize tools like the Goodreads Giveaway to start getting your book on the radar of interested readers.

It’s really quite simple. Those still looking for the Golden Goose of book discovery might just be overlooking the opportunities of this platform.

Lastly, Create Content

The best example of this is Hugh Howey, author of WOOL. He began by writing a novella and after his readers reviewed and pleaded, he developed the novella into a series. Answering the call of his fans created a groundswell. Despite newfound fame, Hugh continues to reach out to his fan base and new readers by constantly updating his blog.


These days, no one will listen if you don’t have something new to add to keep the conversation going. Putting a little more of yourself out there – on a blog, website or social media platform—can be the fuel you need to get to success.

Stephanie Ridge-IBPAAbout the Author: Stephanie Ridge is a Senior Publicist at PR by the Book in Austin, Texas. You can connect with her on Twitter @StephanieRidge. She will be speaking at IBPA Publishing University in Chicago April 26-27, 2013 – Session 604: Spread the Word: Promotion Tips and Techniques to Grab and Hold Readers.

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