- As much as you
love to write books – and perhaps other forms of content – you have to
plan for some of your day to promote and market yourself. Beyond your household chores, personal
obligations, and professional demands, carve some time to promote your
- When writing
your book, take into account the elements of your story or information
that could be a selling point to consumers and the news media. Think about what people want, like, or
need in addition to you seeking to write the book that you feel drawn to
- Understand that
book marketing is not a one-time thing – it’s an everyday, all-the-time
thing. It can’t be left in the
hands of a publisher, should you land one, and it can’t be performed only
when you have a book out. You are
always building your writing and book marketing -- resume.
- Get a grasp on
the book marketing landscape. It breaks down as follows:
- You’ll need to
budget time and money for your book marketing and you may need to get
training in areas where you lack skills, such as website design, media
coaching, or understanding how to fully utilize social media.
- Understand the
timeline that revolves around a book. Once you
know when a book is being launched (its official release date is listed in
Books in Print), work backwards
from there. Let’s say your book is
coming out May 1. Four months prior
to that – January 1 – you’ll send out advance review copies (galleys) to
major book review media such as Publishers
Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, and NYT Book Review, as well as long-lead magazines (magazines
like Time, Glamour, Fast Company, and Parents that work way in advance, and the morning TV shows (Today, GMA, CBS This Morning, Fox & Friends). Prior to that, other things must take
place, such as book cover design, printing the galleys, creating press kit
materials, developing your media list, designing and posting your website,
and setting up your social media account profiles.
- The key window
of time to get publicity for your book starts about a month before the book’s release,
through the first three months from its launch date. After that, your shelf life, in the eyes
of the media is essentially over.
Though some books can remain relevant (about terrorism or how to
recover from cancer), they only make the news down the road when something
is making headlines that you can connect to. If a terror attack takes place seven
months after your book was released, you can still be quoted as an expert
and as the author of a book on terrorism.
of your best information assets
for marketing and publicity, aside from publications like Publishers Weekly, Writers Digest, or The Writer, are trade groups such
as ASJA, Authors Guild, PEN, National Writers Union, and IBPA.
- Other writers can be supportive and helpful too. Join the professional group of your
genre, from Romance Writers of America to Society of American Travel
Writers. Meet writers at
conferences and book fairs.
Befriend them online through FB or LI Groups.
writers that you emulate and find to be leaders in your genre. Connect with them on Facebook and
Twitter. See what they are saying
and doing and copy what you can while incorporating your own style and
are the things you will need to get up:
- You need to
think of your author brand
– how do you express yourself when discussing who you are, what you write
about, your writing style, and your unique voice or views. Come up with a 20-second elevator
speech, a tagline, and an image that represents you -- it’s not just a book cover or author
photo, but more of a logo.
- Look at the news
media as an investment portfolio. Just as you divide your wealth into
various areas – real estate, stocks, gold, bonds, etc. -- and then further
subdivide within each investment class, see media the same way. Devise a
plan for securing coverage with:
- Then think about
which specific media outlets would you approach, and at each outlet who
should you contact? For instance, under print, you might
select newspapers, then USA Today,
then a specific book editor, columnist or reporter. A good media list is half the game here.
- Think like the
media. What do they need, want, or desire? What are their demographics – whom do
they try to appeal to for advertising and readership? What would that specific reporter be
interested in, based on prior coverage, personal details of the reporter, and
the demographics of the media outlet?
- Be ready to help
create a story. Can you deliver facts, stats, video,
photos, documents, and other resources to help the media craft a timely,
relevant, and unique story?
- What will your
message be to the media? It can’t just be “I wrote a book.” Will you offer a benefit, expose a
secret, say something new, discuss a famous person, help us feel inspired
or emotional, make a claim, issue a challenge, raise a question, lobby for
an issue, spark a debate, or be controversial? Will you appeal to key topics that move
us: sex, religion, politics, wealth, health, kids, death, or celebrity?
- he key to
improving one’s efforts to promote a book to its maximum potential,
ultimately rests on the following: Timing -- doing what’s needed when
it should be done. News Cycle
-- your book needs to tie into what’s in the news, on the calendar, or an
honorary day/anniversary. Luck
– sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time. Word-of-Mouth – your book, if it’s
really good, once in the hands of a few hundred or thousand people can get
word-of-mouth traction. Great
Testimonials – they alone don’t sell a book but they add to the
positive impression needed to influence others. Persistence – push daily and never giving up or get
discouraged. Confidence – act
with the belief you will succeed. Planning
– strategizing and executing go hand in hand. Local to National – start locally and regionally and then
branch out nationally.
- Give Yourself A PR Audit. Examine your past and see what the media might find
noteworthy. Look at the experiences you have had and see if any are worth
discussing. Think of the connections you have and the people you know –
can you drop names to the media? Identify what is in your book that the
media will find of interest?
- Avoid Mistakes By Authors Who: Wait too long to start thinking about publicity; Mistakenly
think they can do it all; Wrongly assume they will succeed without PR; Falsely
believe the media will cover them with little effort; Think PR is a
one-time thing but really it’s an ongoing, perpetual thing.
- What’s Today’s
Media Landscape? There are more media outlets
and opportunities exist than ever before. Their value, individually, is
more diluted than ever before. You will need a certain quantity of quality
media placements. Most media coverage can take place by phone and email --
it’s becoming rarer that an author needs to travel or take to a road tour.
- How You Talk About
What You Wrote Matters. Are you the
most qualified to write your book? Sound like it. Find a way to summarize
without the details. Can you compare your work with other known writers? Sell
the action, the dilemma, the characters, the words. How do you describe
your book in the context of your life? Can you genuinely speak with
passion, confidence, and conviction? You should visualize your press
release headline as you write your book. Find a way to succinctly put your
book or story into perspective and relevance. Express it in a way that
serves a need, fulfills a desire, or feeds a want – and sounds
- What Helps You Get
Media? Localize or
regionalize the book. Media coverage begets media coverage. Get
buy-ins early to create traction. Build buzz by getting early
reviews. Have the backing of a group. Try to ride the coattails of others
or be linked by association to big things, people or events. Tie into
something that is on the calendar – a relevant holiday, an anniversary, an
honorary day. Think of your life – create a matrix of people, events and
experiences and think of how to call upon your past – ask for specific
favors. Exploit personal experience: overcoming addiction, abuse, poverty,
loss, disability, arrest. Create a resume: don’t lie, but shape it to tell
a story = develop your media persona. Channel your energy, resources and
creativity not just towards your writing, but to your PR efforts. Use your
gift – your ability to communicate with words and images – to promote your
- What Else Can You Do? Meet deadlines and work in advance to handle potential
setbacks. Poll others to test out ideas. Anticipate – don’t just
follow – trends. Get used to talking about things in a way that is more
hype than substance, more extreme than modest, more sensational and not so
ordinary. Copy what works for others – but only the important traits. Coincide
your media pitches and efforts with upcoming events, holidays,
anniversaries, honorary days, and timely news hooks
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What is the payoff for authors to getting a million clicks?