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There is an excellent article „15 Do-It-Yourself Tools to Promote Your Book” by Tony Levelle, published on writersstore.com. The texts addresses “a book of any kind”, so we have to remember that scholarly publishing has some unique features that are not necessarily taken into account within this guide, still the article contains a few important ideas, that would appeal to promotion of every book indeed. My favorite part is:
Three years before the book is published–if you can–start building a network of supporters and reviewers. Keep track of everyone you meet as you research and write the book. Pay special attention to, and make notes about, those who demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for you and your project.
As the project evolves, keep in touch with these people. You might send them an occasional email, or keep in touch via a social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook.
For significant milestones–the signing of your book contract, the completion of the manuscript, the arrival of the galley proofs, and the arrival of the finished books–you might bring key people together for a house party. At the house party, you could read short excerpts from your book and answer questions about the project.
This piece reminds us that both being a writer and doing science equal taking part in some community. Scientific community has a specific pecking order. Even if some scientists conceal the hierarchy behind their open and cooperative attitude, the fact is that scholars have figured out countless ways of measuring an individual prestige and position and they use all of them in their everyday work.
While thinking about creation of the network of supporters and reviewers it is worth to remember what Matt Davies told me on promoting work on Pubchase: “If you want to be more discoverable go do a post-doc in Harvard and publish a paper with a famous Nobel Laureate. When you finish it and you start working in your lab, then PubChase will put your articles at the top of the list.”
Oh well, some of you may have forgotten to send the application to Harvard, or maybe, due to personal issues you prefer to stay in a country, where the Nobel Laureates are few and far between? Cheer up, you’re not missing out on anything! Just remember that the most efficient way of promoting your work is promoting it with a little help of team of academics working in your field. It is important to have a team of close supporters (the best you can get) and to keep them updated with your research and your work on the book. Especially if they are academic teachers in the field that your book is about and if they frequently visit conferences and seminars. Looking for these people and discussing the book with them will never be a waste of time.
Conducting researches in the open notebook way is also a step, you might consider. In fact it extends number of your collaborators to potentially infinitive. Thanks to sharing your data on Figshare or, putting your notes on-line, your book may become hot topic way before you finish the second chapter. But beware! This is not going to happen unless you complete the first step; personal contacts and direct conversations are still crucial. Internet is really, really crowded and while being present in the Internet might help, it is a “real” life of your scholarly community, that will give you a positive advantage as far as promoting your book is concerned.