Author Questions & Answers for Publicity

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I am in the middle of presenting an online program for the Nonfiction Authors Association which is a great deal of fun. We’re doing it virtually, and there is a whole roomful of people in attendance. When I view the group “Brady Bunch Style” it’s filled with authors and writers. My kind of people.

As we go through the materials, different questions come in that apply to all authors promoting books, not just those in this group. I thought I would explore some of those questions and give some answers here in case you too, have had any of these questions.

Question: How do you overcome the strange and self-conscious feelings that can arise when promoting yourself?

I am asked this a great deal. No one wants to come across as “that guy” or “that gal” who is all about hard-core self promotion and intense sales. We want to help others and let them know what we’re doing; we want them to buy our books, but we don’t want to come off as too brash and pushy. I wrote about that extensively here, but the main thing to keep in mind is that one way you can promote yourself and your book more effectively is by the language you use.

For example: If you received some coverage from a media outlet, go ahead and post the link, but rather than saying, “Look at me! I did this!” complement the interviewer saying something like, “I love the way (insert media person’s name here) asked this insightful question.” Then post it. You’re saying, “Look at me, I did this!” without actually saying, “Look at me, I did this!”

Question: How much time do you typically dedicate to an author and book for publicity? What should we expect? It seems like so much work!

I am asked this question even more often than the one above about self promotion. It does take time to build those relationships with the media. In fact, you should start building those relationships as soon as you start writing your book. There is no shortcut when it comes to building trust. If your book is already out, it’s not too late. Begin building now.

It’s also a big reason why an author hires a publicist. If he or she has been at it a while, they have a nice list of contacts they can approach directly. Rather than spending all their time on research, which you must do when starting out, they can begin getting coverage for you.

If someone is on a budget and needs to do his or her own publicity, then it does take time.

How do you identify your markets and submarkets?

Ask yourself who you wrote the book for. If you have a book on personal finance, for example, then your market wants to know how to handle their finances. You can break that down even further through demographics and psychographics.

Demographics break down populations via statistics, such as age, gender, race, marital status, income, education, etc. Your pitch to Gen Z would be very different from a pitch to Gen X.

Psychographics is the classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria.

Therefore, using the personal finance example again, there are some people interested in finances because they want security, others may be interested in travel and discovery, others may be planning for a family, while others seek status.

With both demographics and psychographics in mind, you can come up with many different submarkets to target for your book and its message.

My topic is leadership development. What are some other ways to find media that covers my topic besides Media Database software?

One is to use hashtags for research. Another is finding and connecting on social media. Another is to follow your niche mates and see where they are getting media coverage. These are all places where you, too, can be interviewed.

How to narrow down hook topics? One of my hooks is, “Are you spending too much money on college?” But that seems too big/general. Thoughts?

The hook, “Are you spending too much money on college?” is too broad. You are right. For one thing, who would ever say no to that question? Everyone feels they’re spending too much. The question is, what is the pain point that keeps them awake at night? Are they afraid they will run out of money? Find out the greatest fear and see if you can create a hook for that. Then you and your book become the answer to that fear.

My book releases in October. Should I do events beforehand? Is it okay not to have books? Or should I wait and bring books to each event?

If you’re doing on-the-ground, in-person events, then it is good to have books available. When people hear you speak and get excited about your message, they will be disappointed not to be able to buy your book. Some authors offer ways for potential customers to get on their email list and be notified when books are available to buy, but personally, having books right there is much better for sales.

Bottom line

There is no shortage of questions from authors and writers. If you have any, feel free to ask, and I will respond here. If you’re not in the Savvy Sunday Community yet, just scroll down a bit to where it says “Savvy Sunday News Community” and say “yes.” I offer additional publicity gems to this group that don’t appear on the blog.

To your success!


P.S. More questions. Who has the answers?





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