Books Publicity – some useful tips from a publicist
As you probably know, Startup PR does publicity for businesses and also for authors. Often these coincide as I meet an increasing number of life coaches and entrepreneurs who have written a book.
With all that hard work and sleepless nights spent writing the book, you’d think you could now sit back and watch the sales come in right? Wrong! Now the difficult bit begins – now you have to promote your book and make sure it gets the publicity it deserves. It can be a little confusing to know just where to start, so this blog looks at a few things you might want to consider:
1. Book reviews – OK so you need to try to get book reviews. Write an interesting release, ideally no more than 1 page, and send it out to the book reviewers.
You may need to do a little bit of research to generate a good media list (look in magazines, Google contacts online, call up magazines and ask for the best email to send the release to). Send the release out and offer a review copy.
Send out the review copies promptly and don’t forget to include the press release in the package so they can get in touch with you. As a rule of thumb I would say follow up 2-3 times, but space it out. For example 2 days after posting you may email to ask if they have received it. A week after posting you may want to send a high res cover image and finally a few weeks after posting you can email to see if they have any feedback or if they are planning on reviewing.
My main tip is do not be disappointed if they do not respond to your emails – and do not keep emailing the same thing if they do not. Chances are they are reading your emails, but remember they get hundreds if not thousands of emails every day so may not reply. Don’t take it personally and please, please don’t get annoyed with them (or at least do not let it show).
2. Author interviews – what is interesting about you and makes you stand out as a writer? Are you a single mum, a leading business person, did you write the book after facing challenges in your life? Don’t be afraid to put some personal information in your release – find what sells and as long as you are comfortable with it, work it!
3. By-lined articles/advice articles – This is one of the main areas of opportunities for authors, in particular non-fiction authors. Publications are always on the look-out for content. So identify your key publications (online and print) and offer them advice articles in your specialist subject, positioning yourself as an expert. In return for an objective and useful article websites and magazines will provide a plug for your book. For example if you are a marketer who has written a book on using twitter, contact the business magazines and websites and offer them an article ‘How to use twitter for your business’. This is very simple, but very effective.
It doesn’t have to just work for non-fiction though, perhaps you are interested in Victorian era and have written a Victorian novel, why not promote your book by creating ’10 Victorian Money-saving Tips for housewives on a budget’.
4. Extracts – You can also use the contents of your book to provide advice/content for publications by offering extracts.
5. Competitions – Offer copies of your books as competition prices and at the very least you will get a description and image of your book and where it is available to buy. Where possible ask the publication/website to include a link to where your book is for sale. If you have a face book account, part of the competition could be to ‘like’ your face book page first. Also, it is always worth asking if you can use the data captured after the competition to send out a reader offer. Sometimes some of this data is available to use.
6. Reader offers – Offering reader offers can be a great way to provide the publication with something useful to their readers, while encouraging their readers to buy your book. Make sure you track the reader offers so you can see which publications work for you.
7. Comment on news stories – watch the news, read the papers and if you see something topical that you have experience or expertise in, send an email and explain what your view is, why you are qualified to comment and offer yourself for interview or to provide a quote. In return for your comment, ask to be referred to as author of…
8. Online PR – Don’t forget online PR. A survey on the e Marketer blog stated that over 75% of people will have shopped online in 2011 so you cannot afford not to be promoting your book online. What’s more, online PR opens up hundreds of new bloggers, websites to promote your book and they are not restricted by a certain number of pages online so you have a better chance of coverage. Offer them reviews, competitions, book reviews and advice articles.
9. Twitter – I think that twitter is one of THE best ways for any author on a budget to start getting word out about their new book. I could talk about this for hours, but to here are just a couple of things you can do:
- tweet about your book
- run competitions where people are entered by following you and re-tweeting the competition.
- Follow and connect with book reviewers and journalists on twitter
- Engage with relevant organisations, so if you are promoting a book on raising your children, then you can connect with mother groups and parenting organisations.
- Tweet a link of any reviews you get of your book to encourage interest
10. Local angle- Your local media cannot be underestimated. Often they are easier to get in to and will be more supportive of local authors. Not only will their publicity be great for the book, they will also help promote local book signings to get people along. What’s more, regional news stories are often picked up by national papers if they like the story.