A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
are 11 tips for authors, publishers, book promoters and marketers to utilize to
become a powerful network in a networked society:
to make networking a part of your everyday life. Commit to it mentally and time-wise. Visualize
the benefits of networking and align your actions and communications with the
goal to build up a quality network of connections.
your contacts through social media good value, offering guidance, direction,
resources, or a genuine offer to help them.
They should return the favor.
possible, move to face-to-face contact with your network. That is the best way to make a true human
connection. The phone is next best -- or
Skype. Email or online interactions may
be convenient, but they lack sound or physical presence.
show that although on average we might meet 200-1000 people a year, we can
only handle some 150 contacts. The rest
fall through the cracks. Choose your
relationships carefully and see which ones are worth nurturing.
a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the people you network
with. Many contacts may not be able to
help you directly, but they can lead you to those who will help. At the very least, they may offer
information, advice, and emotional support or encouragement.
realize that you are responsible for the message others receive from or about
you. How do you brand or positon
yourself? Are you giving clear
explanation of who you are, what you do, who you know? Do you offer clear stories, narratives, or
examples of what you’ve accomplished?
you give off a positive vibe, an inviting or helpful feeling? Are you friendly and approachable? Are you a
good listener and do you ask questions that not only inform you but show you
have a genuine interest in them?
value do you claim to offer others? Is
it your experience or current job? Is it
your knowledge and professionalism? Is
it your personality? Or is it the size
and quality of your network?
you radiate negative energy? No one
wants to be near a needy person. Are you
a Debbie Downer? Remain positive,
optimistic, smile and laugh.
an empowering 15-second elevator speech about who you are. Share it with everyone.
model networkers and analyze what’s so appealing about them. How do they approach conversations? What do
they say or offer? How do they follow up with those they meet? How do they
dress or sound? What’s their body language, voice, or intensity like? What kind of vocabulary level do they employ?
key to networking is to come across as being genuinely helpful while you are
really focused on finding others to give you what you need. This requires research, communication, luck
and sustained effort. Put yourself out
there – join groups and attend events.
Take a leadership positon with some groups.
think long-term and short-term. Think of
your goals and whom could help you. Seek
them out. Be assertive. Look to make the right connections and be prepared to
give something to get something.
don’t necessarily need to know a lot of people, just the right ones. But you need more than a surface
connection. You need to develop a
relationship that yields results.
good news is it’s easier than ever to network.
You can research those you want to meet. You can find ways online to
introduce yourself. Then follow-up with
a call or in-person meeting. It’s like
dating. Tomorrow you may meet Mr. or Mrs.
Right. Not everyone will be your soul
mate, but it just takes a few good people to get you where you want to be.
can authors make good use of their network to sell books?
I have known for some time that the world looks
better on paper. Words, arranged in such a way, can heal in a way where nothing
else can. Words, when positioned just right, can take us to places that don't
exist, perhaps to places that never existed or could ever be. Books transport us
to envision an ideal that for whatever reason escapes our ability to live it.
I awoke from a nightmare one recent Sunday morning reminding myself of a feeling or
conclusion that I rarely allow into my head or to enter my thinking but it's
truthfulness invaded every fiber of my being. The thoughts invaded my
existence and engulfed my consciousness: The world is a dangerous, violent place and it makes me feel
It may have been a combination of hearing about more terrorist attacks in
London or my visit to a marginal neighborhood the day before, but I had bad
thoughts swirling in my head. There are some people, intent on doing bad
things, that simply can't be stopped. The police can't be everywhere and the
criminal intention of everyone can't always be known.
I am the person who believes the world can live in harmony and find a way to
share life peacefully but I am not ignorant to the fact that there is a cycle
of violence that repeats itself in every generation. Poverty, mental illness
and revenge will always exist and as a result we are left with people who will do
us harm. Then add terrorism to the mix. We have nation-on-nation wars over politics,
religion, or resources. The planet racks up a lot of broken bodies and hearts
every single day.
I don't want to be bleak here, and for many of us, we hope to never be the
victims of violence, but all too often millions of people are assaulted
sexually. Others are randomly punched, stabbed or shot, for reasons ranging
from robbery, prejudice, insanity, fun, or ego. We have a long list of enemies
and people we would like to smack the shit out of. Most of us don't act
on those impulses to strike out at others, but too many will let the blood flow
into their engorged fists and let their undeniable rage burst without
restraint or question.
Can books shape a better world and get people like me to see hope, to find
redemption in a humanity that all too often brutalizes others? Can we use
poetry, novels, and non-fiction to not only make us feel better but to actually
help change the world for the better?
Books can make us feel good, if not distracted, but can they cure our social
ills, especially when it comes to violence? Could books even be harming us?
Books can do harm when they ignore the truths that we need to confront, snd
instead focus attention on less important things.
Books can mess with us when they spew lies, misinformation, hatred, and a dogma
that inspires violence.
Books can separate us and leave us less united when they call for groups of
people to be allegiant to a warped outlook on life.
I believe books have an obligation to do no harm and to do more than snestesize
us from life's cruelties and shortcomings. Books need to help, heal, and
harmonize. They need to resolve issues, solve problems, and fix what is broken.
Perhaps I burden authors and publishers but I believe the real purpose of books
is to in fact have a purpose and that is to contribute to creating a better and
publicity is more of a marathon than a sprint, yet some authors and publishers approach it all wrong. A short-term approach is limiting and harmful and should be avoided at all costs.
a book appropriately, effectively and with your author brand in mind, plan for a real marathon.
least six months prior to your book’s release date, complete your website, fill
out your profiles on all major social media platforms, and create your press
kit materials. Begin the process of
securing speaking engagements.
four months before your book’s scheduled publication date, send out advance
review copies to the news media, especially key book publishing magazines, book
reviewers, major morning TV shows, and to those whom you seek to get
testimonials or endorsements from.
the way you’ll reach out to your network of connections to drum up
pre-sales. As you get closer to the
launching of your book, you’ll be in touch with other media – TV, radio, print
and digital. This will continue for at
least three months past the publication date.
a nine-month marketing campaign, similar in duration to a pregnancy. Indeed, promoting a book is like giving birth
to your ideas.
are no short cuts or a one-time burst of activity that nets you all of the
publicity and marketing needed to be really successful. So when people get impatient or think they
should be in The New York Times or on
The View after two weeks of pitching
the media, they need to step back and gain a big-picture perspective.
campaign, over time, unfolds with some unique opportunities. For one, you pitch through several different
news cycles and pitching climates. If
you only shoot for the stars for a short period of time, you have fewer chances, so connect to what the news is covering at that moment.
over time, you change pitches and test out numerous angles. In a short-term campaign you don’t get to try
so many pitches out.
as you build up your media resume over time, you can show clips and links and
reference these media hits to generate even more media interest. In a short
campaign, you don’t get to use as many clips for as long a period.
you simply need time reaching out to the media following up with them, sending
books out, giving them time to read it and then seeing if you came along at the
right time for the media to cover your topic.
In a short campaign, you lack time for the natural back-and-forth
between authors and the media.
over time, you may rack up some awards, land an impressive endorsement, or
generate some large sales or maybe even hit a best-seller list. You can leverage this news by incorporating
it into your media solicitations, but in a short-term campaign you typically lack
time to gain traction in these areas.
though our society is more impatient than ever and news cycles shrink from 24
hours to the speed of a Tweet, authors and publishers must take a
well-calibrated approach to book marketing and media campaign. If you obsess over getting immediate results
you will put at risk the long term gains that could be generated with a more
thorough, consistent and well-paced approach.
understand the idea we must act with immediacy and a sense of urgency -- which is
good to get the blood flowing – but we have to let things unfold at the proper
time or we’ll be left with feelings of anger, frustration, and loss.
a long-term strategy and seek results on a regular basis over a sustained
period of time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
How can authors make good use of their network to sell books?
are many books on fatherhood, though far fewer than on motherhood. And there
are many, many books on parenting, from the classics to the newest
installments. The biggest book I ever
promoted on the subject, Scream-Free
Parenting by Hal Runkel, should be read by everyone raising a child. But there’s no secret sauce to any single
book on being a dad.
a father is something that comes from personal experience. How does your wife parent? What kind of kid do you have? How old were you when you became a dad? How many resources – parents, friends, nanny,
money – do you have? All of these factor
in to what kind of dad you’ll be. But probably
the biggest indicator of what type of dad you’ll be comes from your perception
of what your own dad was like when he raised you.
this Father’s Day approaches – and the one-year anniversary of when my dad
passed away (June 2nd) – I want to reflect on who he was. After all, he helped form the person I’ve
become and the dad that I am to my two children, ages 12 and 9. With this salute
to my father, I hope you pick up a few tips on how to be a dad and live your
fondest memories come from our experiences with baseball. From ages 10-15. I
played six years of Little League. My
father either managed or coached me on all of these teams. We won a championship in our first season and
then went on to lose more games than we won, but it was a lot of fun.
used to take in some of my suggestions about where to bat or play kids in
the field. He didn’t drive, so we ended
up lugging the equipment bags about a mile and a half, from an
apartment building to Marine Park in Brooklyn.
He was a stickler for getting to the games way in advance. Sometimes for a 9:00 am game we were out of the
house by 7 or so. I still had sleep in
in my eyes but he was raring to go. He
loved the competition as much as a kid.
He also liked teaching the kids.
boy growing up in 1940s and 1950s Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he played every
kind of ballgame possible, often with his twin brother, Burt. He told me they played punchball, stickball,
and any game that called upon a Spalding ball.
They didn’t play organized sports on well-manicured suburban fields. They lived on the streets, playing even as
the sun set during hot summers. Their
camp was whatever they and kids from the neighborhood determined would
he wasn’t playing ball he was listening to Brooklyn Dodger games on the
radio. He and his brother loved Gil
Hodges and Duke Snider. His heart was
broken when the team moved for greater riches in L.A. but five years later when
the Mets were born in 1962 he became a dedicated fan and raised my sister and
me to worship the lovable losers.
dad and I went on to coach baseball teams for several seasons once I aged out
as a player. When I played for Baruch
College my freshman year I would join my dad, where possible, to coach 11- and
12 year-old-boys who loved baseball.
One day my dad got thrown out of the game for arguing with the umpire. My dad would never argue with anyone over
anything but on the baseball field he would voice his views and wear his heart
on his sleeve. That same game, after I
took over as manager, I, too, got thrown out for arguing. It was my proudest moment.
dad had sympathy for umpires. He tried umpiring for a few seasons. He was
terrible at it, but he tried his best.
One game he sounded unsure of the call and blurted out: “He’s out, right?” The worst thing you can do is come off as insecure as an umpire.
The team his ruling came against stormed off the field, shocked at how wrong
they thought the call was. The manager
of that team was supposed to drive us home (I was playing in the game). Needless to say, his anger over the call overflowed
and he left us stranded at the field.
I went off to college, transferring to Albany State, he formed his own
non-profit youth baseball program.
funded, with a $500 grant from his employer, Merrill Lynch, a program that
lasted several seasons. He fielded two
teams of kids who came from poor homes.
He didn’t charge a fee and supplied uniforms, equipment and
instruction. Most of the time the teams
played each other but I think they may have played games against other leagues,
as he loved baseball, he adored music from the golden era of the 1950’s. In fact, he used to sing songs like “You
cheated, you lied, you said that you loved me” when he’d coach or if he joined
me in some schoolyard stickball games against other kids and their dads.
worked with the Police Benevolent Association to place a patch on the uniform
sleeves of his players, to honor a slain police officer, Ed Byrne. Builders Baseball was his own league and he
was proud to have started it, but he realized it was too much for one person to
dad was a friend growing up. He spent
endless hours talking to me, sharing views on politics, philosophy and ordinary
life. He was active in the anti-war
movement during the Vietnam War. He even
formed a group called WPA-World Peace Association. He wanted for nothing more than for his
children to grow up in a world without war.
He never thought violence solved anything and always taught us not to
fight. He didn’t believe in corporal
conversations on our many walks spurred my curiosities. He allowed me to question everything. I adopted his views on peace and about
everyone’s role in making the world a better place. He would rarely speak up for himself but he
tirelessly advocated for others. He was
a big proponent of civil rights and social justice. He marched against the war and for equal
rights. He later would protest new wars in
the Middle East, championed gay rights, and stood up to protect the mentally
ill. He wrote countless letters to
Congress, the president, and had his fair share published in the New York Daily
News and other papers. He even ran for State
Assembly in New York as an independent while in his early 70’s. I think he got nine votes but it didn’t
matter. He was speaking out for the
disenfranchised and gave voice to the matters of importance.
was a loving, family-centric, caring father.
He taught me to use my words, not my fists. He encouraged me to become an avid writer and
I ended up taking up his goal of becoming a writer.
was a conscientious worker especially in his 30 years at what was then the nation's leading stock brokerage. He rarely took
a sick day, and if he did it was because he was actually sick. Even during an MTA strike that stopped mass
transportation. he found a way to get in.
He walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and got to work on foot.
short on doling out hugs or telling us he loved us, he was happy if his family
of my proudest moments of him was when he decided to go back to college, more
than 50 years after he had left with two years under his belt. He got a job to support his family back then.
But when, in his mid – 70s, he started
taking courses at a community college and later at Brooklyn College, he was
thriving. He loved to learn and he really wanted to get a diploma.
had a good sense of humor, often a self-deprecating one. He’d laugh so hard at times that it was
infectious. He wasn’t a real joke-teller, but he enjoyed a good sarcastic comment. Even if he was the punchline to his own joke,
he enjoyed a good laugh.
was never an issue for him. He was
married for 54 years. He worked at one
place for three decades. He lived in the same apartment for almost 50
years. He was a member of a lodge, Knights of Pythias, for over a half-century.
He lived his entire life in Brooklyn.
person’s worth is measured in moments -- and in memories – and their legacy from
their words and deeds. He always told me as a kid that I’d become a great
parent. I swore to him I’d repay him by
raising my kids right. I I hope I am honoring him this way.
no proper way to conclude a life or the discussion of one’s existence. The values he installed in others are his
epitaph. His love to me and others are
his legacy. Our memories of him are his
circle of life now comes as I raise my children. Only now do I understand who my father was as
I become a dad to my children. I hope to
repay his patience, support, and kindness in the way I bring my kids up.
used to be early to everything. He would
sometimes, show up an hour ahead of schedule.
He used to say that on-time is late.
Well, Dad, your passing came too early and it’s the one time I wish you
As a writer, you must overcome many obstacles.
You write a book that’s worth publishing. You find a literary agent, book publisher, or
self-publishing platform. You market and
promote the book. Then, opportunity knocks, and the news media wants to
interview you. Finally, your moment has
arrived. But with it also comes pangs of
fear, feelings of insecurity and even a touch of panic.
on. There’s every reason to feel
nervous, that’s natural, and the adrenaline rush can even help you. But there’s no reason to have an allergic
reaction to the media. It all comes down
to you talking about yourself and your book – two subjects you know better than
anyone. You should not fret. Have fun with it.
reasons people freak out may consist of the following:
if people reject me or my book?
if I don’t say the right thing, or worse, say the wrong thing?
insecure about my looks or my voice – can I hide?
fear what they’ll ask me or that I’ll be surprised.
desperately want to make a great impression but don’t know how.
don’t know how to speak in sound bytes.
never done this before, so I have no clue what to expect.
if the media wants to make me look stupid?
exactly should I say that will lure interest in me?
not a big public speaker. I would rather
write than talk.
quite normal to think of any and all of these things. But I can assure you these can all be
first step is to reverse your thinking.
Instead of thinking of the negatives, think of the positives. Finally, you get to have your message heard,
your views voiced, and your book discovered.
Simply choose to see this as a wonderful opportunity with no drawbacks
to alleviate your concerns or fears, go through media training. Have a professional help you.
write up 12-15 suggested interview questions and share them with media
outlets. They are likely to use it as a
script for the interview, which helps you anticipate what will be asked.
start to think of the key points that you want to stress in every interview and
offer a call-to-action, such as going to your website. Have something free and interesting available
as a download on your site.
break the interview down into what it is – a one on-one conversation. Never mind how many people may watch, listen
or read your story -- just think of you talking to one person, one question at a
boost your confidence by remembering why you started to write books – to help inspire,
entertain or elevate others. Feel good about what you’re doing and believe it
will go well.
Seventh, imagine for the moment that you fall on your ass in the interview. You stutter.
You forget an answer. Your makeup
runs. Your shirt has a coffee
stain. Your voice cracks. So what!? What ends up happening?
Nothing. Maybe you didn’t make the best
impression or sell a lot of books but you won’t lose friends or go to jail or
be fined. A bad interview is nothing and
goes into the rear view mirror when you replace it with good interviews. Imagine the worse, realize nothing bad
results from it, and move on. Face your
fear and walk away unscathed.
things can be addressed or even avoided.
For instance, don’t pursue media that may actually try to turn this into
a circus, such as morning zoo radio or late night comedy talk shows. If your topic is controversial – race,
religion, politics, sex – ready yourself to hear opposing viewpoints but never
lose your cool or treat people disrespectfully.
And if you’re worried about your appearance, fix it up (new clothes) or
accept yourself for who you are. Don’t
keep beating yourself up.
remember there are endless reels of bloopers of famous, well-trained
personalities who messed up royally in their interviews. The bar is quite high to compete with their
screw-ups. Believe in yourself and
others will too, and if the worst happens, move on to the next interview. Smile, deep breath…talk.
How can authors make good use of their network to sell books?
lot of book publicity is basic and obvious.
Sure there’s a place for strategy, but when you break it down, there are
common sense things that one must do. So let’s review these core things to make
sure you have them covered and then we can start to address add-ons.
To properly promote a
book in 2017:
·Send out advance review copies to book
reviewers at leading print publications as well as select TV shows, such as the
network morning shows or long-lead magazines.
·Get some reviews
with established media. You can pay some of these outlets, including Kirkus Reviews, PW Select, and The Foreword.
·You should create a website for you and
your book before you start any kind of marketing outreach (about six months
prior to your scheduled release date).
·If you plan to secure speaking
engagements, start early and act months and months in advance. Bookstore signings need to be scheduled at
least two months ahead of when you hope to do them. Libraries need at least a month’s advance
notice. Organizations that hire speakers
book at 6-12 months in advance.
Organizations like a chamber of commerce, church, or local non-profit
may require three to five months lead time.
They usually won’t pay you, but they’ll afford you branding
opportunities and an introduction to people to buy your book.
·Draft your press kit materials before you
send out advance review copies and post portions of them on your website.
·Think of ideas for bylined articles for specific
newspapers, trade publications and magazines – or guest posts for online
media. Write these pieces up and build
up a collection so you can get them out closer to the publication date of your book.
·Start on social media way before your book
is up – then ramp it up as you get closer to publication time. This means you need to build your well before
you’re thirsty – get on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else you feel your
target readership resides. Build up a
network of followers early on and accelerate the process as your book comes
·Interview PR firms five months prior to the publication date and select one with enough advance time so they can do all of
the appropriate pre-publication work properly.
·Don’t forget to ask prominent people for
testimonials and endorsements way before pub date. Put their comments on your book cover, press
materials, web site and marketing materials.
·Apply for all appropriate awards on
time. Don’t limit yourself to one or two
and don’t plan on accepting a Pulitzer either.
·Get on Goodreads and Net Galley.
·Post to your blog regularly and use social
media to promote it.
you do all or most of these things you’ll need to keep at them and hope your
persistence, timing, creativity and luck catch you a break. Of course, you can also brainstorm with
others and craft a unique, personalized strategy to get attention for your
book. As long as you thoroughly attack
the basics, you’ll be ahead of most authors.