Monday, May 13, 2013

Never Too Late For PR Hail Mary

Though it’s true there’s a general window of time for promoting a book to the news media, it’s never too late to throw the ball downfield in hopes of getting a lucky, last-second score.  The PR “Hail Mary” is within your reach.

Generally, for a fiction book, your window for publicity is around 4-5 weeks prior to the book’s launch, until about three months afterward.  A book is considered “new” by most media during that time.   Non-fiction has the same time period, but it can go longer if any of a number of things happen:

The book becomes a best seller
The author is a famous person
The book ties into something making headlines
The book is involved in controversy: lawsuit, censorship, scandal

But regardless of when you promote a book – or for how long – there’s always a chance, however slim, for the big hit.  But there’s no chance of it happening if you don’t try.  So how does one score a touchdown when they are 60 yards away from the end zone and the clock’s ticking down? You throw it up and hope someone catches it.  Same goes with book publicity.

Make your list of targets and contact them.  Give it your best shot.  Don’t worry about perfection.  Don’t imagine defeat.  Don’t over-strategize. Just get your book into the hands of the media.

It’s a crapshoot. You may fail.  Likely, you will.  But you just need one big media outlet to validate you and it is game won.  That exposure may get you started on obtaining additional coverage.  It may help you when looking to sell your next book.  It may give you branded credentials when looking to market yourself as a speaker or for a job.  It’ll be worth the effort.

Fade back, look downfield, and give that ball a ride.  Then close your eyes and listen for the cheers.

You’re a winner just for trying.

Interview With Mystery Author Betty Webb

What type of books do you write? Two different mystery series. The noirish Lena Jones "Desert" books are set against human rights abuses in Arizona and elsewhere -- such as polygamy, female genital amputation, cancer clusters in the Southwest, etc. The Gunn Zoo series is set in a Monterey Bay zoo, and is a cozy.

What is your newest book about? In "The Llama of Death," zookeeper Theodora Bentley takes Alejandro the llama to a Renaissance Faire, where someone murders Henry VIII; the llama didn't do it. In "Desert Wind," private detective Lena Jones discovers that two murders are connected to the Cold War testing of more than 900 atomic bombs on the Nevada Test Range.

What inspired you to write it? As a volunteer for the Phoenix Zoo, I'm intrigued by the behavior of animals (versus the behavior of people), and this shows up in all my Gunn Zoo books; I also love to educate people about the "back stage" workings of well-run modern zoos.
But as a journalist, I frequently cover horrific human rights abuses, and those anger me enough that I just have to write about them.

What is the writing process like for you? Brief flashes of thrilled inspiration interspersed with years of sheer drudgery.

What did you do before you became an author? I was a journalist at a major daily newspaper, where I interviewed astronauts who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize winners, and polygamy runaways.

How does it feel to be a published author? Although I've been published for more than 30 years, seeing my name in print is still a thrill.

Any advice for struggling writers? Write every day; if you don't, you won't make it.

Where do you see book publishing heading? The phenomenon of ebooks is not a flash in the pan; it will continue. This doesn't mean, however, that every ebook will sell thousands of copies. Most will sell under 200 copies because most self-publishers don't understand the necessity of marketing their product.

For more information, please consult:


What Happens When you Really Get to Know Your Connections?

Book Publicists Don’t Know Everything

Writers Read This: You Are Marketers

Pitching To Understaffed Media

Why Authors – and Publicists & Publishers Need A Therapist

Going Small Nets Big Media Splash For Authors

Online Retail Tax Levels Book Marketplace For Bookstores, Amazon

Amazon TV Could Lift Books

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. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

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