Book publicity generally requires the following:
· A very good, well-written book
· Timely topic
· Little competition
· Well-spoken author with a platform
Most authors lack at least one of these things, often almost all of them. But, that’s okay. Every pot has its lid and every author has publicity that is theirs to claim.
Of course, to generate book publicity, one needs:
· Time to chase the media and seek out marketing opportunities
· Money to hire help, pay for advertising, and beef up the Web site
· Strategy to execute a smart, well timed plan
· Courage to risk rejection, criticism and failure
· Confidence, ego, and enthusiasm for their work
Many, many authors lack at least one of those things as well, usually several of them. Still, that’s okay. There’s low-hanging fruit that can be picked before it turns rotten.
So what’s achievable on a low budge for an inexperienced author with a little-heard platform? Scale your efforts so they are achievable. Instead of trying for The Today Show, start with your local cable news outlet. Instead of contacting The New York Times, first reach out to your local and community publications. Take a grassroots approach.
And strive to pursue multiple streams of marketing. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Experiment with TV, radio, print, and online. Seek out book signings and speaking engagements. Look to build loyal fans via social media.
You don’t have to do a 15-city road tour. You don’t need to spend wildly on advertising. You don’t have to be on The Daily Show. Truth is, you likely won’t be doing those things, so don’t bother pursuing the big stuff until you succeed at getting grass roots support for your book.
Book publicity that is achievable should be secured before you look to take it to the next step. It’s your proving ground – a time to test ideas and see what kind of feedback or reactions you generate. If you can’t convince local libraries or weekly papers to talk to you, well, it’s a short-lived campaign. But when you begin to build on smaller successes, you’ll be poised to break through.
Interview With Author Meg Welch Dendler
1. What type of books do you write? Picture books, middle grade readers, and so far one more YA style book is in the works. "Why Kimba Saved The World" is my first published book, but there are two others on the way for 2014.
2. What is your newest book about? "Why Kimba Saved The World" is about a pampered house cat who wishes she could be wilder and have more freedom, until she suddenly learns that she is really part of an alien race and has a whole huge destiny and big adventures expected of her. It's exciting at first, but she has some life-changing choices to make about what is important and where her loyalties lie.
3. What inspired you to write it? The main character is based on one of the cats in our house, Kimba. I had grown up with the idea that cats might just be aliens -- my mom read lots of science fiction -- so it wasn't much of a stretch to wonder if that was true of Kimba too. That led me to wondering what would happen if the young Kimba of my imagination was put in that situation of finding out how big her life really could be. Later books in the series will focus on the different characters and how they deal with their own challenges in coming to terms with their alien heritage.
4. What is the writing process like for you? My head is all full of good ideas, and I usually have the story totally complete there, but it is very hard for me to put down a first draft. That's not terribly uncommon, but it is very frustrating. Once I get most of the story on paper, I do better with the elaborating and editing process. That part is fun, but the first draft is like house cleaning -- I know I have to do it and I'll regret it if I don't, but I come up with lots of ways to avoid it. Setting a release date for the sequel has kept me on task this time round. My office is in a room without windows in our basement, which can be kind of depressing when the weather is nice, but Kimba hangs out with me, and I have a huge collection of Disney mini-plush toys that watch and encourage me too.
5. What did you do before you became an author? I have been writing since I was a little girl, and I did freelance work for many years as an adult. I worked for over 10 years as a certified teacher and moved around over almost all of the grades when opportunities came up. Teaching was great fun, and I'm still in touch with many of my students, but writing is where my heart lies.
6. How does it feel to be a published author? Magnificent. For many years it seemed out of reach because I just didn't have the right connections or the time and money to go to lots of conferences and meet people. I'm so grateful that through the freelance work I have done over the years I did know the right people to serve as book guides and help walk me through the nitty-gritty of taking a manuscript and making it look professional and just as wonderful as every other big publishing house book on the shelves. Knowing that I have the control to keep doing that over and over without having to send out dozens of letter selling myself is amazing.
7. Any advice for struggling writers? Write, and then write some more. If you have a book in your head, go for it! But also be sure to get input from people around you that you respect. Join a critique group. Go to conferences. Sometimes I get the best idea on how to tweak a story or "bling" it up some just by listening to others talk about their work. And pay an editor if you are self-publishing. Pay someone to help you make the best cover you can. You MUST have a good cover! If it doesn't look professional in the end, it won't matter how good your story is. Make it great!
8. Where do you see book publishing heading? Ebooks and self-publishing are clearly the future of book publishing. How to navigate through the influx of book that will hit the market that way is the tricky part. I'm grateful to be in on it during the first few years of the boom so that I can establish myself as a quality writer and stand out from the coming pack. There may be a ton of not so great books that manage to see publication in that way, but it is also a fantastic way for unknown writers to make their mark. I hope I can be in that second group for a long time to come.
To learn more about Meg and her book, "Why Kimba Saved The World" (Serenity Mountain Publishing), check out www.megdendler.com.
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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 email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013
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