As a literary publicist I often am asked about publicity tips, tricks, and the magic behind my work. It's not magic. All you need to know are the basics and from there you will be able to create an effective book promotion. Below I've listed the most vital and basic tips to a successful book publicity campaign.
1. ALWAYS Take 'No' for an answer
It can be frustrating when the media isn't interested in your book or story idea, but always thank them for their time and move on. If you try and persuade or argue with them you will leave a bad impression of yourself and your chances of working with this particular media in the future are slim. Try back in a couple months if it's a show or publication that you're particularly interested. The media changes with the seasons, and trends, so they may love your show or feature idea then, rather then now.
2. Don't Hound Your Publicist
The more time you take up with your book publicist the less time they have to talk with the media. When you first begin your book publicity campaign ask your book publicist when an appropriate time would be to have a weekly chat, and see if they have a number to call in case of a publicity emergency. This will be well received by your book publicist and their efforts will be more successful!
3. Start NOW
A book publicity campaign is the most successful within the first 6 months from your book's publication date (differs for traditionally published authors). This is because the media wants the latest products and they want to be the first to tell their audience about them. It's best to start publicizing your story to mainstream and industry media prior to your book's release and reach out to consumers once your book is available to order.
4. Don't Pitch Your Book
Make sure that you're pitching a concept, show idea, or solution when you begin promoting your book. If you sound more like.. "Hello, I am an author who just published my women's interest novel....." rather then, "Hello, is this a good time for you? Great. I'm a relationship expert who has proven that love novels bring couples closer in bed." The second pitch is more intriguing and will most likely get a few minutes from the person on the receiving end. Your goal with every pitch should be to get their attention, a few minutes of their time and booked or featured as a guest, depending on the type of media.
5. Create a Press Kit
Before you begin promoting your book you should have a press kit ready to go. The essentials in most literary kits are a cover letter, press release, author bio, Q&A page, sample interview questions, and articles that make your topic relevant today. You're publisher should supply you with these materials and if you're self-published you'll most likely need to create these materials from scratch and on your own. This can be a daunting task to some, but the internet or library can be helpful when researching the proper formats of these products. Or, find a publicist to create a press kit for you!
6. Know Your Target Audience
Who will buy your book? 'Everybody' is not the correct answer to this question, although it is a common answer. The more focused you can get with your efforts the better your results will be. If your book is more main stream rather then specialized, then try beginning with a smaller audience and broadening your focus after you've saturated this first audience. Just a tip: Authors should always start with their local media, then regional (surrounding areas and states), and finally saturate national media.
7. Have fun!
Your enthusiasm, humor, and smile should shine through in every phone pitch, letter, and e-mail. If you're not excited about getting your work out there, then why should a producer or editor be excited to give you time on their program or space in their publication.
I truly believe that any author can publicize their own book if they have the drive, energy, and time to see it through from beginning to end. Publicity is the most vital within the first six months from its publication date, so authors should hit the ground running. If you need more guidance or would rather hire a professional to handle your book's publicity then start looking now. There are many publicity companies out there, but you need to find the one that's right for you and that is as excited about your book as you are.
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