Top Posts of 2011: Promote Your Book by Commenting on Blog Posts

This post originally appeared on Publetariat on 5/27/10 and has received 2101 unique pageviews since then. It’s been one of the most popular posts on Publetariat in 2011.

Commenting on other people’s blogs is a great way to get visibility, build relationships with bloggers, subtly promote your book, and get links back to your site (if the site gives "do-follow" links). But you can hurt your credibility if you go about it the wrong way. Here are some tips for successful blog commenting:

Actively look for relevant blogs to comment on. Subscribe to the feed of the most important blogs in your area of interest, and use tools like Google Alerts to keep an eye out for relevant posts on other blogs. You can also use Google Blog Search or blog directories like My Blog Log to find blogs that are a good fit.

Contribute to the conversation. Don’t just drop by and say "great post."  Instead, make a thoughtful comment that contributes something. You might offer an additional tip or real-life example, or expand on a point the blogger made. If you’re commenting on a book review, explain why you enjoyed reading the book. Your comment doesn’t have to be long, but you do need to say something useful and relevant. Do not give the impression that you are just there to promote your book or leave a link to your site.

Don’t make inappropriate comments. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a point that someone has made (and many bloggers encourage disparate views), but do so in a polite, respectful way. I’m amazed at some of the rude and tacky things people say on blogs and in online forums.

Don’t be overtly promotional. Commenting on someone else’s blog is not the place to blatantly promote your book or services.  However, there are subtle ways to convey that you are an expert on the topic being discussed and encourage people to click on your name to visit your website.

You might work in a reference to your book related to the comment you are making. Here are some examples:

"Twitter is such an important tool for authors that I devoted an entire chapter in my book to promoting through Twitter."

"In researching my book, Selling Your Book to Libraries, I discovered that . . ."

"Because I write mystery novels myself, I really appreciated the way that the author . . ."

Depending on the topic under discussion, I sometimes sign my name with a tag line such as "Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer" or "Dana Lynn Smith, author of Facebook Guide for Authors."  Some people include their website address in their signature, but many bloggers frown on this. Creating a signature that’s several lines long and blatantly promotional is not appropriate. Some people think that including any type of signature or reference to your book is too promotional.

You will have to use your judgment to determine what is appropriate, but you might look at what other commenters on the blog are doing as a guideline. Just remember that you are a guest on someone else’s site and mind your manners. Comments, anyone?

Excerpted from The Savvy Book Marketer’s Guide to Blogging for Authors by book marketing coach Dana Lynn Smith. For more book marketing tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana’s Savvy Book Marketer blog, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter.