Thursday, July 19, 2012

15 Elements For A Strong Book Publicity Campaign

For authors to grow their name and sell their newest book – as well as market their services, raise their speaker profile, and disseminate a positive and meaningful message to the masses – they will need to execute a quality book publicity campaign. Below is a checklist of what is needed to achieve that result:

1.      A plan – otherwise you have a plan to complain and to fail.
2.      Lead time – begin preparing six months or more prior to your book’s scheduled launch.
3.      Flexibility – be available to do whatever it takes to succeed.
4.      Variety – participate in multiple types of media -- radio, TV, print, and online – do not focus on only one media segment.
5.      Money – you will need to hire a professional to assist in areas you have little time, experience or knowledge to work on -- or little preference to be involved in.
6.      Time – promoting a book and a brand will take up your time.
7.      Persistence – you will need to have a thick skin, determination, and resilience.
8.      Strategy – once you create a plan, you’ll need to regularly strategize on how to best implement that plan.
9.      Execution – great ideas and well-fashioned plans are useless without your ability to execute.
10.  Research – know who you are trying to sell to, find them, and present a targeted message to them.
11.  Great writing – not only must you have a great book and the credentials that dictate your writing of it, you will need snappy press releases, attractive Web site copy, savvy social media communications, and strong blog content.
12.  Courage – be prepared to be rejected, criticized, and ignored by others.
13.  Conviction – believe in your book, your writing, and your abilities – and you will take a big step forward.
14.  Vision – you need to think beyond yourself and beyond the obvious – and to think of bigger ways to expand what you want to accomplish.
15.  Rewards – be sure to celebrate your wins and forget your losses – you have earned the success you have gotten.

Interview With Novelist & Screenplay Writer Holly Hunt

1.      What type of books do you write? I write Novels and Screenplays based on them.  I write literary novels. My stories hinge upon supernatural events that change the characters and their directions, and it is Magic realism set in central Arkansas.

2.      What is your latest or upcoming book about?  My latest novel , just finished, is Paper-dolls of the Riviera. It is about a sweet, industrious grocery store florist in Portland, Oregon.  She works at SafeWorld, a grocery store corporation that dismisses her artistic design skills.  She longs for her childhood back in Arkansas.  One day, she pricks her finger on a mysterious, exotic plant and gets pitched into an alternate life, another place, back to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  She is thrilled to be living this precious life until she realizes she is the mastermind of multiple horticultural homicides.

3.      What inspired you to write it? I was inspired to write Paperdolls, because, for the past four years, I worked as a floral designer with Safeway, for managers and bossy merchandisers who hated my guts.  Just to get through the day, I started imagining an alternate reality, situational ironies and variables, and I could then laugh at ugly situations.  My customers were angels, though!  They were regulars and loved my work, and I will always love them forever.  My sweethearts!    It is a crazy, wacked out book.  It is like a giant lasso that some cowgirl is able to get up in the air, and it grows bigger and bigger until it is miles wide, and it keeps on turning.  I think I learned how to do that by writing a great deal of poetry of mythic proportions.

4.      What did you do before you became an author? Before I took the MFA at the University of Arkansas, I acted in plays as a Theater major in college.  Then I worked as an assistant in kindergarten and third grade.  I have always been writing, ever since I was twelve.  Recently though, I took a break from writing and worked as a floral manager and lead designer, but the break didn’t last-- I ended up writing a novel about it.   In the end, the novel took over and became the reason I was working as a floral designer.  The job became a most valuable reference for developing my main character, her conflicts, and her story.

5.      How does it feel to be a published author? I  am not published.  Yes, I have published quite a few poems in prestigious journals, critical reviews in journals and newspapers, and articles in magazines.  But I haven’t published a book.  Mainly I feel anxious and insecure.  I feel dreamy, I sometimes hear voices, I imagine I might be soon abducted by aliens, and then I realize I just need a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate.  That’s the cure.  It don’t suck much, not really.

6.      My advice for struggling writers?  My friend and supporter, the late Jim Whitehead at the University of Arkansas, in his last letter to me, said, “I’m going to tell you what I was told: Keep it up. William Faulkner told me that, and I am telling you now.”   And I am telling everybody reading this now:  Keep it up.  Bill said so.  I have been blessed to have been taught by great story-tellers, including the late James Dickey. Novelists whose work  I love?  Daniel Woodrell, Denis Johnson, Russel Banks, John Irving, and Kaye Gibbons. 

 I have been told not to worry about “making it,” just to write and polish and revise and revise until it is the best it may ever be, and the rest will take care of itself.  Huh? What the hell! Why don’t you just pat me on the head and feed me some smelly, canned dog food?    

7.      Where do you see book publishing heading? Oh, maybe wherever the ad dollars will take it!  If a book, even poetry, or an idiot’s guide to sifting sand, is advertised in 30-second to 60- second spots on prime time TV, there ya go!  How to get rich books,  those long info-mercials?  Bingo! I swear, you could produce an info-mercial selling a new title, “How to Murder Your Neighbor’s Barking Dog,” and the next day all five media monopolies would churn out something equally murderous. 

But the future of inventive literature as an art (even as crazy comics) that rocks the world will rely upon indie renegade publishers who don’t care about TV or dealmakers in NYC or Los Angeles.  They create little worlds and live meagerly within them, sharing with forms of higher intelligence and curious humans.  Like William Blake, my fave prophet.  He had it hard until the day he died, but he never stopped printing those visions and poems.  I’m not sure he was concerned about being on the outside. Perhaps it was actually a prerequisite.  In his later years, his neighbors disparaged that he and his wife “were still dirty,” meaning his (and her) hands were permanently stained with the inks and paints of his Trade.  His Trade.  My heart pounds tonight to think of it.  The Tiger is still Burning Bright.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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