It’s not over when you put your pen down…
Many authors think, quite reasonably, that they’ve done their job in writing the book. It’s disconcerting to find that they are then expected to promote it. Having to be a marketer as well as an artist is a surprise to many, and requires learning some new (if in some areas overlapping) skills.
Remember to pitch articles early, because many national media outlets have a 3-6 month lead time. They too like to take advantage of event-based marketing. Some topics are more popular at different times of the year. If you are a consultant who organises bespoke, luxury winter holidays, no one is going to publish a feature on the perfect snowy getaway in early Spring – it would be better to reach out in late summer, so they and prepare the feature ready for Autumn.
People are interested in the story behind the book and the person who wrote it, often much more than the expert advice shared. This is why you, the author, needs to be the face of the book. That’s just not outsourceable. Seen a bunch of celebrities on chat shows talking about their book? I bet you have. You need to do the work
Sorry. Not Sorry.
The cornerstone of your publicity strategy is your press pack or media kit. You can distribute your pack in printed format to key people if they express an interest in receiving it, else digital is fine.
Here are some basics you need to include.
A head shot by a professional photographer. Your expression should match your personal values and area of expertise, for example, smiley, fun and friendly for a fitness professional or sombre and measured for a lawyer. You can also include environmental shots to suggest more about you at a glance, so a chef might have a photo taken in their kitchen.
A series of biographies of different lengths. Your bio tells a reader why you are uniquely qualified to have written this particular book. You can add this to the back of your book and your online profiles on social media and your website. This means you can control how you are presented to someone else’s audience. You don’t want someone editing your bio down or rewriting parts of it. Provide a series of alternatives to choose from, so there will always be a bio to fit the space available. Also, include a bio that can be read out before you speak on stage. One last pointer, if you have a name that is difficult to pronounce, include a phonetic spelling in brackets).
A ‘one-sheet’ for the book: a single piece of paper with a colour print of the book cover on one side on the flip side a description of the book. Be sure to include a few short positive reviews and soundbites too.
Include a sample chapter. This is similar to a downloadable version of the Amazon search inside facility. Include everything up to the start of chapter 1, and helpful pages from the back of your book. Add in an extra page or two with how to buy your book and reader reviews.
Include in-depth published reviews in media outlets. Ask websites and publications in your field to review your book and include these reviews in your press pack. People are much more likely to work with you and feature your book when they see positive feedback from others.
Write a press release for PRWeb and include it in your pack. It’s not a silver bullet but it does help to get the word out there. If you are not sure what to include in a press release, get some advice. There’s no point sharing dull, self-interested information no one cares about.
Add a link to your book and your press pack in your email signature.
Events and activities
Run a big charity fundraiser so that for every book sold on a certain day or a certain week you give all or part of the profits to a charity of your choice (or better yet, run a fundraiser and then send everyone who donates a free pdf of your book – you won’t make money directly from this but it’s all about promoting you and your book).
Explore your creative side. Take advantage of your book’s details and make them an inspiration in making connections, for example, national and international days focusing on something to do with your book. Ideally, plan these in advance, so you are well prepared.
Look for trending topics to hook your book onto. Social media is great for this. Look out for journalists tweeting about it. They will be using #hashtags to help their message be found.
Time the release of your book together with an important event such as the opening of a trade show or conference, and use the hashtags that go with the event for your book
There are so many options available. The only limiting factor is your time and life force! Here are some ideas
• ask to be interviewed by your local paper
• ask to be interviewed by the local radio host
• ask your readers to screen shot buying your book
• ask lots of people to stand together holding your book up. This works well at workshops and seminars.
• send your book in lumpy mail to influencers in your industry
Live media interviews
When you’re being interviewed, you need to repeat your domain and book title a few times, without it looking too obvious. Few people listen to a podcast or interview in its entirety. Radio can be as little as 5 minutes at a time. This means a lot of listeners will not hear you say it. Don’t wait for your host to prompt you, mention it when it naturally fits into the conversation.
Imagine you are being interviewed and you hear the presenter start to close the session. The host asks you to give your website one more time. What do you say?
Firstly, don’t say “Http://” or “www,” this is code for OK I can switch off now, in the listener’s mind. Don’t do it. Potential readers don’t need to type it in to visit your site anyway, so you don’t need to say it. Use that time to explain what free goodie you are giving away on your author platform website. Your goodie should be some high-quality information that solves a big problem for the listener in double quick time. Checklists, listicles, and short guides are good things to consider.
Customise this type of closing statement and learn it off by heart: “For more information about [your book title] visit yourbooktitle.com. You can also download my [high-quality goodie] so you can [get a cool result / solve a big problem] today.”
Add a cool hashtag to a t-shirt and use it for promotion.
Donate your book
Another option is to give your book to libraries, business reception areas, schools and colleges, to help get more eyeballs on your work.
In my next post in this series, I’ll be looking at setting up your author platform website.
See you then!