2. Affordability: They say never gamble or invest money you can’t afford to part with. The same is true with PR. Don’t dip into a college fund, retirement account or take a loan on the house to pay for publicity. PR and publishing is an experiment – it’s certainly worth trying – just don’t bet the farm on it.
3. Goals: Determine what your goals are and explore how the publicity will help you achieve them. For instance, you need more than a radio tour if the goal is to be best-seller, but by contrast, you don’t have to be on national TV to sell books, build your brand, create a media resume, get a positive message out there, or to increase Website traffic.
4. Ego: The worst reason to do PR is pure ego. Additionally, some people simply expect their book will be an instant best-seller and be featured on The Today Show. Instead, you should do PR because you have a useful book and have a positive message that deserves exposure. The rest will flow from there. Be optimistic, but contain your expectations.
5. Have A Good Book, On a Timely Topic, with Good Credentials: Know your competition and determine why you offer something truly new, different, unique or better. The consumer and the media don’t need more of the same – they need a fresh voice and perspective.
6. You Can Judge A Book By Its Cover, Layout and Title: The media is like anyone else – they look at surface things and make quick judgments. Your title should be one that’s short and easy to say – don’t use insider terms that only hold significance for a few. The subtitle should clearly explain what the book is about. As for the layout design of the contents, no one will read small print, hold cheap paper, or stare at dull chunks of text or books that just don’t feel inviting. The media also likes a cover that draws them in. So, appearance counts!
7. Endorsements Only Mean Something If You Don’t Have Them: You should get testimonials from fellow experts and authors on the topic you write on. Go after recognizable names, organizations, schools, etc. Professors, heads of corporations or non-profits, politicians, celebrities – all are fair game. But, once you get them, do not be under the false impression that this alone ensures sales, but do be aware, the media and consumer will notice if no one or only small names endorse the book.
8. Timing Is Key: The merits of your book speak for themselves, but if you can also link your book to a story the media would find more interesting and relevant, then do so. If it’s a parenting book, link it to the first day of school, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. If it’s a hot topic like politics, link to the upcoming elections, the war in Iraq, or July 4th. Or maybe your book ties into an anniversary of an event or links to an honored day-week-month such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month or Literacy Day, etc.
9. Road Tours: The use of road tours is still popular but many people substitute or supplement road tours (physically traveling to other cities) with tours they can do from one location, such as a radio tour by phone, a local TV tour by satellite, or an e-marketing campaign online. It’s a waste of time in most cases for authors to purposely hit the road for a 10-city tour. But if you already plan to be in various cities because of business, or you conduct seminars, or you are there for family matters, then you can seek out piggyback media, where a publicist seeks to get you media in the cities you are in. You should never hit the road solely to promote a book tour – with no events or connections to those cities.
Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer at Planned Television Arts (www.plannedtvarts.com) and blogs daily at http://www.bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert.
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