Sunday, January 1, 2017

The 5 Ways Of Elite Book Marketing

It takes courage for you to put on the hat of publicist. Welcome to my world, one in which I have directly helped more than a thousand authors since 1989.

I guess I could have called this the 7 ways or 15 or 30.  The number is not important. The key here is to understand there are certain ways to do something and specific steps that need to be taken in order to book market like a pro.

I have found there are certain things you will need to address in order to be successful with your book PR efforts. Let’s explore the role in book publicity of:

·        Time
·        Money
·        Connectivity
·        Creativity
·        Attitude

Always realize that no one is an expert on everything.   I know what I know from experience, observation, what I have read, and what others have told me. I also use common sense and a vivid imagination.

I have had the opportunity to work with so many unique, passionate, and interesting authors and have learned that a lot of them follow certain patterns of thought and action.

My goal is to help you see that book publicity is necessary and achievable -- and that you can play a big role in this area. I understand it is not easy nor even something authors want to be involved with. Of course you would rather spend your time writing, but you can’t dismiss nor ignore the power of book marketing.

That is your gift, your passion, your purpose. No one is born destined to be a book promoter. But you can learn how to be one. Anyway, you have no choice in the matter. Your books need attention in order for your writing career to continue – and thrive. The key is to find a balance in your life, with your writing and with your book publicity. Both are vital to your success.

I spend a lot of time blogging about book publicity and marketing, not only because I enjoy it, but because it is necessary for my career. I have probably written the equivalent of way more than a dozen books over the past five and a half years on my blog,

Here are the five ways elite book marketers operate – and so should you:

Way No. 1:

Book PR can be time-consuming. It is not always immediate that you see your investment of time pay off.

You have a lot to do. You need to research and build your media lists. You need the right media outlets and to find the right people at them. You have to spend time tracking them down and reaching out to them. You need to do follow-ups. You are crafting and rewriting pitches, both verbal and printed. You are creating and updating a web site.

Then there is social media and blogging.

Plus you have the rest of your life and your writing to tend to.

You may feel overwhelmed. Don’t just talk or think about it –  get it done!

Think it through and then convert your thoughts into action.

So how should you schedule your time?

Set your priorities. Determine what is needed most, what you do best, what you like to do, and identify what you dislike or are weakest at doing. Break it down into manageable chunks.
Schedule your time, but with flexibility. Leave time to strategize, reflect and to think freely.

Then leave time to execute.

Determine what you can delegate. Time is money: What can you outsource?

Create a timeline of when to start and end your PR campaign. Know what can be done vs what should be done. And what needs to be done vs. your desire to get it done.

Too many authors come to me when it is too late to really be effective. If you miss a deadline or a window of opportunity, just move on. Be timely to capitalize on your launch date, the news cycle, special dates, trends, anniversaries, or holidays.

You will need to experiment in your PR – give it time. Diversify your approach and vary your media pitches. Even try reaching out to the media at various times of day and different days of the week.

Time, no doubt is a precious commodity but make sure you leave some for your book publicity.

How To Manage Your Time
·        Assess your true needs.
·        List your core goals.
·        Examine how you spend your time.
·        Stop procrastinating.
·        Don’t let things bottleneck.
·        Look for shortcuts.
·        Consider lowering your standards.
·        Set time limits for a task.
·        Vary your tasks throughout the day.
·        Acknowledge your time-efficiency patterns.
·        Get more energy by changing your diet, sleep, and exercise.
·        Work longer days and in smarter ways.
·        Reflect often on ways to improve.
·        Model others who manage time well.
·        Cut down on travel time.
·        Avoid long lines.
·        Schedule your days – leave little to chance.
·        Schedule calls/meetings in 15-minute segments.
·        Be aware of time windows to get certain things done.
·        Be ready to react to a changing news cycle.
·        Drop everything to pursue a new opportunity.
·        Respect reviewer deadlines.
·        Respond ASAP to a media inquiry.
·        Contact the media way in advance of a holiday, honorary date, event or anniversary.

Be flexible on time zones/availability
·        Be willing to do interviews
·        In the early mornings
·        And late nights
·        On weekends
·        Wit overseas media

When should you start your PR?
In many ways PR is continuous.

·        There is always something to be done.
·        Always a blog post or tweet to send.
·        Always someone to connect to online.

PR campaigns should begin 5-6 months prior to your official publication date. Set your goals and work backwards. Some things need time to unfold. Some can only happen at a certain time. Leave time to learn about the media. Make time available for the media – of any size.

Specific Things Must Happen Early On
·        6 months prior to your book launch:
o   Create your Web site
o   Brainstorm ideas

·        5 months out:
o   Strategically plan your campaign
o   Develop your press kit/media pitches
o   Pull together your Advance Review Copy (ARC ) media list

·        4 months out:
o   Send out your ARC’s
o   Select/schedule book signings and appearances
o   Research the media you plan to approach

·        3 months out:
o   Solicit testimonials
o   Follow up on ARC media
o   Continue to query book stores/speaking opportunities

·        2 months out:
o   Contact non-book reviewer media
o   Approach online reviewers
o   Reach out to tour city media

·        1 month out:
o   Start scheduling radio and TV interviews
o   Finish ARC follow-up
o   Contact more online reviewers
o   Add on bloggers and Web sites
o   Hit daily newspapers, newswires and weekly publications

·        First 90 days of the publication date:
o   This is your time for interviews and stories to run
o   Media and bookstores see it new then
o   All short-term media must be contacted

Stick to your timeline and don’t deviate.

Way No. 2:

Who you know counts. How well you know them, is also key. What are you willing to ask of them?  What are you willing to give to them? Make the relationship a two-way street, but obviously focus on what you need to give in order to get what you want.

Build your lists early and often:
·        Collect emails
·        Can you team up with the lists of others?
·        Befriend people like crazy on Facebook or LinkedIn
·        Get more Twitter followers – set daily or weekly goals
·        Attract more people to your site with content/discounts/giveaways/special events

Your lists can do the following:
·        Give you a potential customer list.
·        Some members can be carriers – they share with others.
·        Provide an increased chance of going viral.
·        Can give you helpful advice and resources.
·        Gives you the ability to impact others with your message.

Your numbers give the perception of importance and influence to:
·        Potential consumers
·        Literary agents
·        Speaker bureaus
·        News media
·        Publishers

How do you connect with others?
·        Find your target demographic.
·        Speak their lingo.
·        Make yourself accessible to them.
·        Give advice or share helpful info to them.
·        Introduce your connections to others.
·        Focus your time on building relationships.
·        Invest time to create new connections.
·        Ask people for help.
·        Promise to give them something.
·        Phone or meet those you met online.
·        Email or text those you have seen in person.
·        Be vigilant in making connections.
·        Assist others before you need to call a favor in.

The connections that count the most are the ones you have with your fan base. Then come the media.

You need to research the media or acquire a database. You will need to know how to make contact with them and when to contact them -- and exactly who to reach out to at specific outlets.

You need to think like them, think for them, and speak their language. Media begets media.
It is a numbers game – do your research and cast a wide net. Use social media to meet and interact with the media, too.

The old saying is true: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

To add to that: It’s not what your book says, but what others say about it. Get more people to say more things about it – it will make a huge difference in sales.

Way No. 3:  

You need to be as creative with your book PR as you are with writing your book. You need to infuse the media with your vision, hope, and conviction. Passionately show the media what you see and feel and convince them the way you would try to convince a court that someone is an innocent person. You can be creative in what you say to the media: the ideas and words expressed. And creative in what you show them, visually.

You can be creative in how you find them, contact them, and follow-up with them. Your creativity will be needed in how you contact the media. Creativity is not just to be applied to writing books, but also in how you implement a strategy to market your book.

Here are some creative steps to take:
·        Think of how you can turn your life into a news story.
·        Explore what resources you have to call upon to help create a story for the media.
·        Be creative in taking your entire book and turning it into a headline.
·        Be creative in consolidating your book, life and writing career into a 15-second elevator speech.
·        Be creative in how you write your opening paragraph for your press release.
·        Be creative with your Web site, book title, cover design, business card, etc.
·        Think of whom you can partner with to help support your media efforts.
·        Get creative in what you can trade or do for another.
·        Be aware of the current news cycle and the media landscape and think of how to capitalize on circumstances or trends.

Creatively think of what separates you not just from other authors, but other experts on your topic. Look and see:

·        How can you make it clear that you have a solution to a problem?
·        Do you have an idea worth exploring?
·        What experience can you share that is too interesting to ignore?
·        What truth needs to be revealed?
·        Is there a fact that is worth showcasing?
·        Do you have something new to say or can you find a new way to say it?

Explore what you have to work with that can be turned into a story idea and then create quotes, data, facts or ideas to support such a pitch.

How do you move from the core of your comfort zone in talking about your book’s theme to far-reaching story ideas?

How creative will you be about being controversial and outspoken, instead of silent, neutral or uncommitted on something?

You may just be able to brainstorm your way to good publicity.

Way No. 4:

Money buys you time to work on your book PR campaign and book marketing efforts. It can buy you marketing. It can buy you marketing help. It certainly can help spruce up your web site. Money can help you pay for ads on Google and Facebook and with your SEO.

It can also  pay for ads with Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and publishing trades, which in turn may give you access to editorial coverage.  It can even buy you reviews with certain publications – Kirkus, PW Select, Clarion Foreword. The wall that separates the two sides is paper thin.

For some, they can even buy their way onto the bestseller list. It can give you the ability to travel and go on tour. It can finance your holding of – or participation in – events. Money can help you create a higher quality book product, from the cover to editing to the paper quality and other add-ons. Money may even afford you the ability to do stunts or gimmicks. It can certainly help you hire a prominent name to write your foreword. You can pay someone to give you a testimonial.  You can hire someone with a name to be involved as a spokesperson.

Can money make a difference? Yes, but don’t waste it if you have it.

There are things you can do for free, however:
·        Research online for bloggers and media to contact by email and phone
·        Do digital giveaways and free chapter downloads to inspire a following
·        Social media, though it can be a time-suck, could also give you a boost

And whatever you do in regards to spending money on PR, start sooner than later. You can’t do it in too many stages over too long a period of time. You can’t wait to first sell books in order to fund your PR. Make an investment, take a risk: You have a limited window of time to strike.

Settle on a PR budget and commit to it. How much money is needed depends on many factors, namely:

·        What is needed of others vs what you will do for yourself.
·        Determine what is achievable and hire out for the things you can’t do or don’t want to do.
·        Stay within your budget and don’t take out a second mortgage to fund it.

When you hire a publicist, ask many questions. Then get quotes from several people and compare their offerings. Be clear on what they will do: length of time, amount of outreach and follow-up, expectation of results, and seek to understand the process. Choose someone with a proven track record, perhaps from a referral. Find someone who specializes in books and your genre. Make sure they sound passionate, intelligent, knowledgeable, and available. Do not throw money into PR expecting automatic results or favorable coverage. Support the efforts of those you pay to help you – it is a collaborative process.

Money can certainly make a difference, but you can still compete on a shoestring budget.

Way No. 5: 

In order to succeed at PR, you need to have the right attitude. Optimism is a must. Persistence, too. You need a nothing-to-lose attitude. You have little to risk in promoting your book – but you risk a lot by not. If you want a shot at getting beyond obscurity, you will be a promoter.

You need to be willing to invest your time and money – and to make a mental commitment to PR.  When you display confidence, others believe in and like you. When you act with energy and enthusiasm, people gravitate towards you. When you express something with conviction, people begin to believe in you.

You will sell yourself, not the book. You will sell a story, not the book.  You will sell a benefit, not a feature.  Be positive and pro-active – know that you can do this.

That said, be prepared for rejection – writers know something about that. Expect to be ignored at least 75% of the time you call or email the media. And of the remaining 25%, expect to be declined 85% of the time. But you are looking for a handful of people to say yes.

Don’t worry about who says no. Build on your successes.

Even a bad review could have a good pull quote.

Be of the belief that no publicity is bad publicity.

You may think an interview went poorly, but you are not objective. You are too close to it – maybe it was not so bad.

Do not let ego lead you into thinking you don’t need to be helpful, involved, or assertive – roll up your sleeves. Don’t let your past record -- good or bad – determine your efforts now. Don’t allow what you hear from other authors to taint or deter you. Don’t be jealous of others or think everyone has a hit but you. And don’t think that no one ever breaks through. You must think big and dream and to go beyond your reach. And you must think small and go after what’s reachable.

Set clear objectives for yourself and identify reasonable goals. It is okay to have a wish list, but don’t hold yourself to it.

You need brains, resources, hard work, timing – and luck – which comes from all the other things and a never-give-up, can-do spirit. That said, know when to pack it in or consider re-tooling and re-launching your book. Or make time to move on to your next book.

Whatever you do, try to enjoy the process. Being a writer is special and seeing your book talked about is like no other feeling.

You  can be a successful book marketer, not just because you are a great writer, but because you can master the five ways authors become an elite book marketer!

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017 ©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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