Today I started to feel pre-publication jitters for the September release of Defending the Defenseless: A Guide to Protecting and Advocating for Pets. This is now my second book, but I still feel like a new book author. There is so much I have learned, and still have to learn; not necessarily about writing a book (that, surprisingly, is the easy part), but about getting my book in the hands of people who will read it and then help animals.

Publicizing my first book (How Shelter Pets are Brokered for Experimentation) was trial-by-fire as I learned (and am still learning) about social media marketing, blogging, and other current-day methods to let people know about my books. For me, writing about animal protection issues is vitally important to creating a more caring society. So not only do I feel a sense of responsibility for what I write, but also feel responsible for spreading the word about my books and being part of the movement to protect animals.

But what I have also learned is that just because I have a book published does not mean that I will be able to walk in to my local book store and see it smiling at me on the shelves. One day that will happen, but I’ve learned that it depends on the type of book and the publisher. I’ve also learned that book signing events in book stores are not as popular as I had believed. While I have enjoyed several book signing events, and plan to schedule more later this year, they would be more successful if I were J.K.Rowling and promoting the Harry Potter books. So in working with my publisher (Rowman & Littlefield), we are crafting methods to spread the word about my books.

In addition to this blog, and my You Can Do More for Animals Facebook page, I am also using my professional LinkedIn site to promote the books and to have book signing opportunities when I travel the country training at conferences on animal protection issues. I am also checking out video book trailers and whether that would be appropriate for my books. And I am connecting with animal protection bloggers, animal radio shows, and animal-related magazines to all review the books and write about them. But I feel that more can be done, especially in reaching out to people who are not involved in animal protection. Basically, I want to preach outside the choir!

So my question to you (especially if you are a social media guru) is … what ideas do you have to help promote my books through social media? What would it take for my books to go viral on the internet? For the top 5 ideas that I select (that have not already been mentioned) and that are submitted by Tuesday, July 26th, I will send a complimentary copy of one of my books as a thank you (you choose!).

If you are inclined to put on your thinking cap and help me find a way to get my books in front of people who are not helping animals but would if they read my books, the primary beneficiary of your kindness will be the animals. And for them, I know they would say “thank you.”

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