What is the most important thing an author should do to promote a book?

Sorry for the delay in updating. I had a bit of a medical situation when I was in New York.

Speaking of New York, I participated in two panels for writers last weekend. One was on all things “social networking” related and another one covered the topic of book promotion.  On both panels, we (me and the other panelists) had the opportunity to answer questions from the audience.  To benefit those who were unable to attend, I’ll report on some of the information that was shared on the panels along with some of the questions we fielded (and the answers, of course).

At the book promotion panel, the first question we received was this – perhaps a bit paraphrased: “You’ve thrown a lot of information at us. It’s all a little overwhelming. If we only had the time/money/resources/interest in doing ONE of the things you suggested, what would you recommend doing first?”  

All three of the panelists and the moderator agreed upon the answer: You should have a website or a blog, not unlike this one.    Most blogs can effectively act as an author website as long as you’ve added a widget or some other form of functionality to sell your book from it.   Outside of that, as long as your book is sold on Amazon, your Amazon “sales page” can act as your website and accept book sales for you.  Amazon’s sales page also posts reviews of your book and can broadcast your blog if you have one — by setting that up through your Author Central account, which I’m positive I’ve blogged about in the past.

The good news is, between your Amazon sales page and WordPress.com or Blogger.com, it is relatively easy and free to get started on the right path toward book promotion.  The only cost is time.  Blogging takes commitment.  But it is also the one thing all the panelists agreed upon was the first most important thing you should do to promote a published book. Blog consistently, professionally, and respectfully. After all, you’re building your author platform, here.

I’ll talk about other things we covered on the panels in New York in future posts, along with more Facebook stuff as I promised.