Step Up by Stumbling

Improve on your book marketing with StumbleUpon
Guest Expert: Anita Brady

Marketing your book is not the same animal it was only a few short years ago. With the evolution of Facebook and the staggeringly fast bloom of social media sites, reaching your target readership can be a sticky web to untangle. But once you’ve determined what social approaches you want to use to promote your work, the web can become one of your best marketing tools.

Even though Facebook is quickly approaching the one billion users mark, it’s still a great way to build readership. The key is keeping up with it. If you start by posting updates on your next book’s progress every two weeks, make sure you stick to that schedule as readers will come to expect it and look for it. If you come across some neat news stories that might pertain to the story line of your book, post it and comment on it. Remember, the effectiveness of Facebook is in people liking what you have to say, sharing it, and visiting your page to find out what’s new. You want to keep that going and the best way to do that is to remind your Facebook friends that you’re still hard at work and they really want to read what you have to write next.

But Facebook also has its failings. For one, it is hard to keep up with all those posts, especially if you’re working a demanding day job. And generating new friends takes some work when you’re first getting started. That’s why StumbleUpon is a great companion to your social media marketing efforts.

StumbleUpon has actually been around for a little more than 10 years, but it’s only recently caught on in the past two. The main reason for the slow rise was accessibility. Whereas before you could only access it through a browser extension, StumbleUpon now has a website and a quick access link button for your toolbar, as well as smartphone apps.

What is StumbleUpon?

But what is it? StumbleUpon is basically an intuitive web browser. Once you sign up to use it, the program asks you to click on at least five of your interests from a given list. You can select things like literature, astronomy, crafts, sports, writing, etc. Once entered, it’s as simple as hitting the “stumble” button. The browser pulls from more than five million websites in its database and you instantly land on one it thinks you might like. If you do like the site, there’s a “thumbs up” button across the top of your page that you can click to like it, or a “thumbs down” button if you don’t. By telling the browser what you do and don’t like, it quickly learns what types of sites to send you to and each stumble becomes more and more intuitive. Additionally, the browser doesn’t just draw from a categorized list of websites, it also looks at the preferences of users with interests similar to your own and recommends some of their favorites to you.

How to use StumbleUpon for book marketing

Another way StumbleUpon works is through website recommendations. As a StumbleUpon user, you can add your book website or blog to the stumbling pool by clicking on your name under settings and selecting “add a page.” The browser then asks you to categorize it, and you have the choice to include tags or comments. Once added to the pool, the program will stumble to it for users who like your site’s category, as well as for users with preferences similar to your own. While this might seem like it will take a while to propagate with the browser already drawing from several million sites already, consider the fact that StumbleUpon users spend an average of seven hours a month stumbling. And even though StumbleUpon only boasts about 25 million users compared to 900 million on Facebook and 140 million on Twitter, it’s already driving more than 50 percent of social media website referral traffic (mashable.com).

If you still don’t want to wait for readers to come to you through the organic stumbling process, however, you can always pay to have your website or blog included in user experiences. While StumbleUpon only includes about five percent paid advertising with the average user experience, if you calculate that into the amount of time stumblers spend stumbling, that adds up to a lot of views. And the best part is that you don’t have to build an ad. Your website is your advertising. Stumblers arrive at your site and can treat it as if it were any other stumble. They can like it, dislike it, even comment on it; all of which is valuable information to help you improve on your website or blog and bring in more readers.

In an age where communication is largely through the web, authors can only benefit from getting the word out about their work through as many social means as possible. StumbleUpon offers a way for you to share your work automatically with people who have similar interests with you and your work and helps you start building on your ideal readership.


Anita Brady is the President of 123Print.com. The website offers promotional and office organization supplies like affordable business cards, banners, note-cards, personalized mugs and other items that combine high quality and customization with an affordable price.

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