It is a fact that when you write a book, you have two different jobs with two very different skill sets.
The first is the actual writing of the book, which includes having a great idea, the ability to write and tell stories or explain your point of view, research skills, editing and revising, to name a few.
The second set of skills is the publicizing, marketing, and promotion of your book. These skills include branding, content creation, public speaking, press and media relations, social media management, book launch planning, and more.
I thought in today’s post I would share some dos and don’ts of book publicity, which may help you as you navigate this new world.
The Dos of Book Publicity
Host Webinars or Author Talks: Offer webinars or virtual author talks on topics related to your book, showcasing your expertise and book simultaneously. If you haven’t done much of this yet, why not make this the time that you put some thought and effort into it? If you want to line things up for the holidays (I know, I know, the holidays?), then now is the time to begin making those plans.
Contribute to Writing Magazines or Newsletters: Pitch article ideas, essays, or interviews related to your book to writing magazines or newsletters in order to reach fellow writers and book enthusiasts. Be sure you’re very familiar with the outlet so you can suggest the appropriate section and show you understand what they’re looking for.
Network with Book Influencers: Connect with influential figures in the literary world, such as bestselling authors, literary agents, and editors, to expand your professional network. Through social platforms this is easy to do and there is no reason not to.
Offer Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) or Galleys: Provide an ARC or galley of your book to influential bloggers, reviewers, and media before the official release to generate early buzz. They want their review or coverage to hit at the same time your book goes on sale, so be sure to get it to them with enough time to make this happen.
Run Social Media Contests: Organize contests or giveaways on social media platforms to encourage engagement and attract new followers. If you’re not sure how to do that, follow some of your favorite authors and pay attention to what they do. We can learn so much doing this very simple thing. I’ve written on social media for authors here if you’re interested.
Create Engaging Author Videos: Share video content, such as author interviews, book trailers, or behind-the-scenes footage, to make a deeper connection with your audience. This is important for other media opportunities too. They are going to want to see and hear you do other interviews before taking a chance on you. Make it easy for them and for yourself.
Cross-Promote with Other Authors: Partner with other authors in your genre for joint promotions or cross-promotions to access each other’s fan bases. This is simply smart to do and it’s a fabulous way to make new friends.
Offer Special Editions or Bundles: Consider offering limited-edition versions, signed copies, or book bundles to entice readers and create a sense of exclusivity. If you’re speaking you can make enticing offers to the hosting organizations. For example, you could help raise money for a charity by selling your books to them at a deep discount. They sell at retail and the profit goes to the organization. You can also do a 50/50 split of the profit, so sell at 50% off to the organization, they sell at full retail, and you split the difference. A true win win.
Build Relationships with Local Media: Cultivate relationships with journalists and reporters from local newspapers, radio stations, podcasts, and TV channels for potential media coverage. They are always looking for story ideas, so provide them. You need to put some thought into it, however. Publishing a book is not enough. You need a great story.
Promote Your Author Brand: Develop a consistent author brand across all platforms, showcasing your writing style, values, and personality to build a loyal readership, and so that you become easily recognizable. There is nothing worse than using different profile pics for various platforms. Make it easy for others to recognize and find you.
Leverage Book Awards and Lists: Submit your book for reputable book awards and aim to be featured on bestseller lists, as these accolades boost your book’s credibility. But keep in mind not all of them are good. There is a fee to enter each of them and some have been created just as a money maker, so pick and choose wisely.
Guest Blogging: Write guest posts for relevant blogs or online publications to introduce yourself and your book to new audiences. Create one that is an overall description of your work and book, and then create several other pieces that go more fully into each sub-subject, or write individual pieces directed toward certain audiences.
Utilize Hashtags Strategically: Research and use trending and relevant hashtags on social media to increase the visibility of your book-related content. Often your book title can be a hashtag as well.
Create Shareable Content: Develop shareable graphics, quotes, or excerpts from your book that readers can easily repost on social media. This helps to spread the word and introduce new people to your book and its message
The Don’ts of Book Publicity
Don’t Overlook Local Media: While online promotion is crucial, don’t forget to engage with local media outlets, bookstores, and libraries for regional publicity opportunities. If you want to do larger media, often a local interview will help you do exactly that.
Avoid Spamming Book Reviewers: Personalize your pitches to book bloggers and reviewers instead of sending mass emails. This can not be stressed enough. You must show that you’ve done your research and you know who you are talking to. This will increase your chances of securing interviews and reviews substantially.
Don’t Neglect the Power of Book Signings: Even in the digital age, in-person book signings and events still have value. Don’t disregard the potential of connecting with readers face-to-face, not to mention the bookstore staff. It’s a great way to get on their “recommended reading” table.
Avoid Ignoring Trends: Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing and publicity trends. Being adaptable will help you stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape. This is something I work to address here each and every week. If you discover something new that really helps you, please let me know.
Don’t Disregard Negative Reviews: While it’s essential to handle negative feedback gracefully, don’t be disheartened by it. Constructive criticism can help you grow as an author. In addition, this is required for trained reviewers. Their job is to list what they love about the book, in addition to what they consider to be weaknesses. Often, the negatives are a very small part of the review, so focus on the good things they say and use that for your quotes.
Avoid Overextending Yourself: Plan your publicity efforts realistically, so you don’t burn out. Pace yourself and focus on the most effective strategies. Self care is important here too. Eat right, move each day, meditate or sit quietly and read material that is uplifting.
Don’t Neglect Follow-Up Opportunities: If you have a successful publicity event or campaign, don’t miss the chance to leverage it for further exposure or media coverage. For example, book store managers and librarians all have networks. Ask if they know anyone else who would be interested in having you at their place.
Avoid Focusing Solely on Sales: Book publicity is more about visibility and brand awareness in a crowded market than it is about sales. Sales are important, of course, and that is what your marketing speaks to directly. Building a loyal reader base and establishing your author brand are equally important.
Don’t Underestimate Word-of-Mouth: Encourage your readers to spread the word about your book through reviews, social media shares, and personal recommendations.
Avoid Excessive Automation: While automation tools can be helpful, don’t rely on them entirely. Personalized engagement is vital for building lasting connections with readers. I am often puzzled at how we live in such a connected world, and yet reaching a real person can be a challenge.
Remember that each book and author’s journey is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to book publicity. By being authentic, persistent, and open to learning, you can navigate this world effectively and make a lasting impression on your target audience. Remember, we live in a world that is ever changing. It’s time to embrace it, and get your books out there.
To your success!
P.S. It’s Time to Begin!
P.P.S. I am thrilled to be providing the training for The Book Publicity Master Course via the Nonfiction Authors Association. You can join me by clicking here and becoming your own publicist. I’ll be sharing lots of insider secrets on exactly how you can do that. Join me!
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