Category Archives: Book Publicity

How Authors Can Maximize BookExpo

It’s May and that means BookExpo is weeks away.  BookExpo is the most important publishing industry show in North America. If you are an author, want to be an author, or are even thinking about being an author.  BookExpo is an incredible way to see the publishing industry and make all connections. Representatives from every area of the industry – publishers, book cover designers, editors, distributors, foreign rights agents, literary agents, store book buyers, and media– will either be attending or exhibiting.  It is a chance for many authors to finally have that breakout moment with the media.

So how can an author maximize the BookExpo experience if they are exhibiting:

  1. Don’t cheap out. You’ve already spent tens of thousands (or millions) on your exhibit. Spend a few extra bucks and bring a public relations professional. Your sales team is there to meet buyers, partners and to sell, not handle media walk-bys, demos, interviews, social media posts and press room activities.
  2. Stick to your schedule. Reporters hate it when you decide to cancel or reschedule an interview at the last minute. They’ve already booked other appointments and you’ll risk losing the story. Don’t throw a hand grenade into a schedule that your PR team has spent weeks finalizing. Having a PR pro on-site will solve the inevitable sales meeting or customer drop-by conflicts that pop up.
  3. BYO. Don’t rely on the show’s registered media list; qualify and build your own. Show media lists are notoriously out of date and often incomplete because many Tier 1 media simply don’t pre-register. They decide to attend last-minute. Advance media calls, confirmations the week of the show and reconfirmations during the show will ensure you connect with the right reporters.
  4. Help media cut through the clutter. We’ve landed major national news stories by offering producers and reporters the opportunity to walk the show floor with a client who really ‘gets’ the category and can offer sound data, insights and opinions on what’s hot – and what’s not. Most trade shows are overwhelming, and the 24/7 news cycle makes them even more unmanageable for skinned up editorial staffs.
  5. Brand the press room. If you’re spending a small fortune on an exhibit, why neglect the place where most media gather even if they skip your booth? There are 1001 smart and not always costly ideas for establishing a branded presence in a press room – from supplying a masseur to massage tired feet to sponsoring coffee breaks, note pads or back packs.
  6. Stock the press room. Don’t count on media to find you. Even if it’s just a a humble jump drive, make sure your latest product info is available in the press room. No matter how old-fashioned it sounds – media still congregate in ‘their’ area to talk, post stories and get re-caffeinated, and they will scout out available materials. Even if they missed you on the show floor, there’s a good chance you can get your message in front of them.

Authors – Don’t Forget Your Book Title In Media Interviews

Authors know that a major television or radio interview can be critical to the success of their public relations campaign. A successful media appearance can translate to new followers on social media and more importantly sales. Yet a major mistake that many authors make when doing a television or radio interview is to neglect to mention the title of the book they are promoting. They expect the interviewer to mention the book title but omit to mention the title in their answers. Authors often refer to their book as ‘it’ or ‘the book’. That is a major mistake.

Authors should always work the title of their book into their answers.

Authors often ask why should they do that. The reasons are simple:

  1. Using a book’s title helps the audience recall it after the interview.
  2. Using the title sounds professional.
  3. Referring to the book as my book or it sounds impersonal and remember you are trying to establish a personal connection with the audiences.

Thousands upon thousands of books are being published annually. The purpose of a public relations campaign is to allow your book to stand out. A first step to achieve that is mentioning the title in your interviews. It truly makes a difference.

Book Promotion for the Dog Days of Summer

Authors know book promotion is 24/7 year round activity. Yet when many ask themselves how they can promote their book during the slow summer time, they become discouraged.  They shouldn’t.  The summer is a great time for book promotion and to get the momentum going for the critical fall months.

First authors need to remember in the 24/7 news cycle and social media driven world, there is no slow time.  Newspapers, radio shows, television news, and magazines are all looking for story ideas.  And with the summer a slower period of time, the media is more likely to give a look to a story that they might not in the fall and also give it more coverage than in a busy news time.  Tie your book into a news story to help brand yourself as an expert.  This is an ideal time to do so and can allow you to be branded for even bigger opportunities in the fall.

Regardless of genre a book can be tapped for summer stories of new interests. For example, if you have a cookbook, some ways to position it might be healthy recipes for the summer or tips on how to eat healthy during the summer. If your novel is a mystery, promote your book by offering tips on why mysteries are popular during the summer.  Or if you are a romance writer, tie your book into summer romance tips.

If your book is at all related to family or children activities, the summer offers an abundance of media opportunities. Many novels have a theme of family.  An angle for this is tips on creating family traditions.  Or another angle would be tips on the perfect family reunion (always newsworthy during the summer as many family reunions are held during the summer).  If it is a children’s book with activities, you can incorporate it to summer activities for parents and children.  Tips on foods, style, activities, and travel are always popular angles throughout the summer.

If your novel is set in an exotic location, a travel article or tips on traveling to this location is a good way to get your name and book some coverage with an article or op-ed. The media loves travel tips.  Even a tv segment can be made into this concept.

Parents are always looking for educational ideas for their children during the summer months and this is the ideal time to promote a children’s book.  If you have a book on teaching children Chinese, this can be made into an activity for the summer.

Every author wants to be on the Ellen Show or Rachael Ray.  August is a great time to reach out to producers at nationally syndicated programs as they begin forming their fall schedule and booking guests.

Finally, for the very reason that summer is considered a slow time – vacations, your book can be branded the perfect summertime read on vacation. Suggest it as preferred reading for the summer vacation.

Authors – summer is not a slow time for book promotion.  It is the ideal time to be creative and get a head start before the fall.  Summer book promotion can be the best of times if done well.

Book Promotion In The New Economy

The economy as we know it has changed entirely. Purchasing patterns and consumer behavior will be radically different from what it was two years ago. Excess and glitz are out. People are staying at home and enjoying the simple things in life – particularly a well-written book. That is the good news for authors. The bad – this means that that the challenge and competition any author faces is more daunting then ever to standout from the rest. The way to do this is through a comprehensive publicity and marketing campaign.

First determine your target market. Too often when asking an author who their target market is, they will answer everyone. Just like a business you need to segment who you think your primary and secondary audiences. Just because you wrote the greatest self-help book on relationships means that everyone in a relationship or looking to be in a relationship will purchase the book. Fact is that most of the buyers of any self-help book will be predominately female, even if they are buying the book for the man in their life.

Determining your target audience is essential for the next part of any media campaign – targeting the media. Once you know the primary audience, you want to begin targeting the media that audience reads, watches, or listens too. For example if your book is on business, you want to target business media, but even more specifically you want to only target the media that covers what is in your book. A book on finance wants coverage by the reports that cover finance not retail. Just like your target audience, segment your media. Don’t overlook online media. In this day and age, more people rely on the online media then traditional media.

Don’t send books outs randomly. The largest cost that authors often incur is by sending books out to every book reviewer or producer tin which they can find a mailing address. Be economical about sending out books. Most unsolicited books sent to reporters go unread and are either returned back to the author, sent to a charity, or tossed in the garbage. With postage on the rise, as well as books, that is too much money to waste unless there is a commitment to review the book or do a story on the book.

Utilize all online tools at your disposal. An author website is critical. It should include a compelling call to action description about the book, an author biography, a contact page, and media page. Utilize social networking websites. Twitter and Facebook are essential. On Facebook make sure that you have a fan page for your book as well as an author page. Use Twitter to get out small messages from your book to a following. The key is creating followers through retweets. A smart way to do this is by creating an online contest. Conduct a blog tour to get your message out. A blog tour is a simple cost efficient way to reach thousands of readers in a cost-efficient manner. It’s quickly becoming the new form of a media tour.

Do as many interviews as is possible. Interviews are what people respond too in purchasing a book. Book reviews are still important but more people view, listen, or read an interview then ever read a book review. Make your interview compelling. The media and public react to authors who speak in black and white terms with a strong inspiring story. Again utilize the social media in repackaging your interviews to reach an even greater audience. Remember no media is too small. Every interview allows you to reach a portion of your target audience. Plus you never know who is listening. For example we had an author on a local station whose interview was heard by key executive at Federal Express who ordered his book as a training manual.

Finally, leave the readers with a reason to purchase your book. Remember in this economy, people want a reason to purchase the book. Demonstrate in your interviews and your blog tours how their lives will be better because they purchased your book. And never give up in getting your message out.

Key Elements In Getting Started With Book Publicity

The book world is seeing an explosion in books coming out each year as self-publishing has changed the book world forever. No longer do a few publishing houses control who gets published and who doesn’t. More and more people are achieving their dream of being an author and yet the challenge for authors whether self-published or published with a traditional publisher to stand out is even greater than ever. There is a greater need for book publicity than ever before but promoting the book can be even a harder and longer job than writing the book itself.

A publicity campaign takes time. Authors spend months and even years in writing their book and pour their heart and soul into it. A successful book publicity campaign doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and dedication. A book PR campaign is a way to penetrate the public’s consciousness with your book. A comprehensive campaign allows an author to reach a target audience and stand out from other authors in your genre, it brands the author and the book. A typical book publicity campaign takes between 6 months to 18 months to be successful. Yet despite all of this hard work and time, a public relations campaign cannot guarantee that readers will purchase the book.

Before beginning on the book publicity campaign, authors should have certain items ready as they begin their promotions. The key items authors should have in place as they begin their PR campaigns are:

  1. An author website. The website should include an author bio, information about the book, a sampling of media coverage, a list of events, contact information, and a way to purchase the book.
  2. A professional headshot. Authors should have professional headshots made some with a business look and some in a more casual setting.
  3. Business cards. Just as a person business needs a business card to give in networking meetings, so does the author as they are in the business of building a brand and selling their book.

Book PR 101: Tips For Success

Jule_LA_BookExpo5

The book world is seeing an explosion in books coming out each year.  Self-publishing has changed the book world forever.  No longer do a few publishing houses control who gets published and who doesn’t.  More and more people are achieving their dream of being an author. Yet the challenge for authors to stand out is even greater.  There is a greater demand for book publicity than ever before.  Yet for many authors book publicity can be daunting and frightening.  They don’t fully understand it.  Here are some essentials that authors need to know about book publicity for it to work for them.

  1. Publicity does not equal sales.  One of the biggest things I hear when speaking to an author is how many books will I sell based upon an interview.  I tell them over and over again, there is no guarantee of sales.  In today’s world book publicity allows you to reach a target audience and stand out from other authors in your genre.  There is no guarantee that viewers, listeners, or readers will purchase your book based upon an interview or review but the chances of it happening increase.  Many authors have heard about the sales authors have received by appearing on Good Morning America, Ellen, and of course the now defunct Oprah.  Yet there is no guarantee that you will see the sales.  I had one author who did FOX & Friends, Good Morning America and appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today at the same time and did not see a dramatic increase in sales.
  1. A publicity campaign takes time.  Authors spend months and even years in writing their book and pour their heart and soul into it.  A successful book publicity campaign doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time and dedication.  Most successful authors spend between six months to a year in publicizing their book.  Sadly many authors think they can become a bestseller and get the publicity they need in a matter of days or weeks.  Remember it takes time.
  1. All media is important.  Everyone wants to be on the Today Show, Hannity, Ellen, or The View or in the New York Times, Redbook, or Vanity Fair.  Yet smaller shows or publications are just as important.  First a smaller show allows you to practice your interview skills before you are on national and hone your message.  Even more importantly you never know who might be listening.  I had a client once who had appeared on all the major networks and seen mediocre sales.  Yet he appeared on a small Miami station and sold over $40,000 worth of books because the Vice President of FedEx was listening. Every media opportunity is important.
  1. Remember who you are trying to reach.  Many authors when they are doing an interview forget that they are trying to reach the audience and instead try to make the interviewer like them.  They react as they see the interviewer reacting.  The interviewers interview hundreds of guests a year.  Chances are they will forget the author and the book the next day.  Authors need to remember they are targeting the listeners, the viewers, or the readers not the reporter.
  1. Incorporate your social media component with your publicity campaign.  Social media is important and essential to the success of any book publicity campaign.  Yet many authors fail to utilize it effectively.  They forget to post upcoming interviews or post the interviews after they happen.  They also fail to interact with their followers and sometimes have a message different from that they are doing in their interviews.  Or even worse they post the same thing on Twitter, blog, and Facebook.  People know when something is programmed rather than done by a human.  Always have the three different but conveying the same theme.
  1. Realize you need professional help.  Despite the popularity of self-published books, the industry still has a stigma with some of the media.  The worst thing an author can do is add to the stigma by trying to do their own campaign.  It comes off as amateurish.  Seek out a professional who understands book publicity and the components of a campaign from interviews to media kits to trade shows to speaking engagements.

Publicity is a daunting and challenging proposition for anyone.  For an author unfamiliar with it, publicity can be overwhelming.  To ease on confusion and to ensure success, an author needs to prepare for it like they did when writing their book

Where Self-Published Authors Should Invest Money

 

Jule_LA_BookExpo

More and more authors are turning to self-publishing.  In 2013, Bowker reported over 391,000 books were self-published.  That was up 59% from 2011.  This trend is expected to continue. 

With the increase in self-publishing, many authors wonder where they should invest their resources when undertaking this endeavor.  They know the cost of self-publishing can be astronomical.  I recommend that any author who is self-published spend their money on:

  1. Editorial
  2. Cover design
  3. Marketing and publicity

A good cover will catch a reader’s attention.  People are visual.  They react to what they see.  When competing against thousands of book in your genre, a good cover is essential to grab the consumer’s attention and get them to pick up the book and look at it.  Getting a consumer to look at your book is half the battle in selling the book.  This means a striking cover design that will arouse the reader’s interest.  A good cover conveys a sense of what the book is about and lends a sense of intrigue as well.  You don’t want to use clip art.  You want a graphic artist who has expertise in designing cover art and understands what your book is about.  A good graphic artist will provide you with several samples to select from after going to work on your cover.  Sometimes the perfect cover may be a combination of all the samples.  No matter what, work with a professional who has worked with authors before and can show you samples of his or her work.

Once a reader’s attention has been spiked, they will skim through the book to determine interest.  A book with spelling errors or grammatical errors will turn off the consumer and probably cost the sale.  Beyond that, you are struggling with the mindset (an unfair one) but one that still exists that self-published books are subpar.  A badly edited book will reinforce that mindset and hurt your sales.  Reviewers will pounce on any grammatical mistakes in the book.  Spending money on a good editor prevents that from happening.

So you have written the world’s best book, yet if you don’t publicize it, no one will know that it exists.  Getting the word out about your book is a lengthy process, sometimes as long or if not longer than writing the book.  It means book reviews, interviews, websites, collateral material, press releases, social media, speaking engagements, book trailers, blog tours, and book signings.  An average marketing and publicity campaign for an author takes between six to sixteen months.  It encompasses developing an author brand and reaching readers.  Don’t forget your competing not just against other self-published authors but also authors published through traditional publishing houses.  The challenge to get your book to stand out is immense.  That is why investing in a strong marketing and public relations plan either with an agency or individual who has worked with self-published authors in the past is essential.

Writing a book and taking it to market is a fulltime endeavor.  Making is successful can even be more challenging.  That is why know where to make your investments as an author is critical.