Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You Can’t Minimalize Book PR

Because writers are short on budget and time, and generally lack a desire to actively promote their book, I am often asked: What’s the priority or one thing I have to do?

It’s akin to asking Congress to make budget cuts – do we decrease funding schools, hospitals, police, or Social Security? Is there a service we can eliminate?

There are a few schools of thought on what authors HAVE to do vs. SHOULD vs. OPTIONAL. It depends on how successful you want your book to be, as well as how many resources you are prepared to devote to it. It also depends on how good the book is and whether or not it is truly promotable.

One can only start from the ideal and work their way down. First, assume the book’s great. Second, act as if you had an unlimited budget of money and time. List all of the things one could possibly do to promote the book. Then start to get realistic. Cross off the most expensive items or the time-consuming tasks. Look for the sweet spot – the things you can do with minimal risk or investment that have a potentially large payoff.  But don’t ignore the low-hanging fruit and the things that should work with some effort behind it.

Look at your PR and marketing like a financial portfolio. Diversify. How much of your resources are invested in:

Marketing – seeking partnerships, speaking gigs, mailings to consumers
Advertising – paid ads and commercials
Publicity – connecting with the news media
Social Media – Tweeting, blogging, Facebooking, website

Within each of the four areas, how do things break down:

What’s your budget?
Who will you reach out to and what will you ask for?
Who can be your sales partner?
How will you contact consumers?

What’s your budget?
Will you create commercials, videos, etc.?
Will you place ads online, television, radio, or print?
How often will you run ads and over what time period?

What’s your budget?
Will you contact TV, radio, print, and online? National vs. local?
What will be your message and background materials?

Social Media
How much time will you commit to this?
Which platforms/sites will you be active on?
What content will you create/provide?

One can easily spend $50,000 to promote, market, and advertise a book properly – and still not get to do everything. One can spend far less – but get a smaller return by far. There’s no formula for every dollar spent; that you will  sell x copies of your book or get x amounts of followers online. But generally, when you spend your time and money wisely, there is a certain level of return for it.

There’s no easy answer to say what should minimally be done for a book. One has to think about who their ideal reader is, ponder how to locate and reach them, and then compare options. Usually one has to try five or ten things in order to find the optimum way to generate book sales, fans and connections.

I do know, however, that you can’t rely on just one thing to get you everything. Social media by itself or bookstore signings alone or sending review copies to book review editors by themselves won’t get you over the top. By combining different approaches, you increase your chance for success. Instead of thinking about doing the minimum, explore how you can do more.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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 is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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