The Fundamentals of Book Publicity

Book Publicity Fundamentals by Joanne McCall

In the world of book publicity, it comes as no secret that much has changed in recent years. But there is good news too. While it sounds counterintuitive, when we think of all the changes, the truth is much has actually stayed the same. I know that’s not something we hear everyday, so I want to take a moment and remind us all about the fundamentals.

Fundamentals are the elements that are always going to be true. When successfully marketing and publicizing your book, these things are fundamentally true:

  1. You have to write a great book
  2. You have to find a great hook, story, and pitch
  3. You must be willing to reach out
  4. And you must be willing to follow up

There are others, but these are definitely the top fundamentals. They were true 30 years ago and will be true 30 years from now. Let’s explore each one.

You have to write a great book

This probably goes without saying, but we will say it. First and foremost, writing a great book is the foundation upon which all marketing efforts are built. A well-crafted, engaging, and insightful book naturally attracts readers and generates positive word-of-mouth, making it indispensable. Getting the media and influencers to cover your book is what ultimately determines its long-term success. (Unless you already have a huge network of people who will immediately buy whatever you write. That is the one exception.) Tips, strategies, how to’s, and clear, thought-provoking insights create an unforgettable reading experience that resonates with audiences, including media. Therefore, investing time and effort into writing a great book is the most critical step in ensuring its success in the marketplace.

You have to find a great hook, story, and pitch

Equally important is finding a great hook, story, and pitch. These elements capture the essence of the book in a compelling manner, making it irresistible to media and your target market. A strong hook differentiates and positions your book in a crowded market, instantly grabbing attention and sparking curiosity. It’s the unique angle or intriguing premise that makes your book stand out amidst a sea of options. Alongside this, a captivating story is crucial. Why did you write your book? What was the motivation behind it? Making your “why” powerful creates a very strong pull for others to want to know you and read your book. A well-crafted pitch ties these elements together, succinctly conveying the book’s allure in a way that is both persuasive and memorable. Whether you’re pitching to journalists, literary critics, or potential readers, a compelling pitch highlights the book’s unique value and appeals to their interests, making them eager to explore further. Together, a great hook, story, and pitch form a powerful trifecta that enhances your book’s visibility and appeal, paving the way for successful marketing and publicity efforts.

You must be willing to reach out

If you want your book to have legs, you must be willing to talk about it and pitch others. Proactive outreach to media outlets, bloggers, and influencers expands your book’s visibility and opens doors to publicity opportunities that might not come otherwise. Reaching out involves identifying and contacting individuals and organizations that have the power to amplify your message to a broader audience. This includes sending personalized pitches to journalists, arranging interviews, and offering review copies to book bloggers and influencers. By initiating these connections, you create opportunities for your book to be featured in articles, reviews, podcasts, and social media posts, significantly increasing its exposure. Moreover, proactive outreach demonstrates your commitment and enthusiasm for your book, which can be contagious and inspire others to support your efforts. It also allows you to build valuable relationships within the literary and media communities, which can lead to further opportunities down the line. And, of course, we want you to become a Media Darling.

You must be willing to follow up

With thousands of books published every day, relying solely on organic discovery is insufficient. As mentioned above, proactive outreach puts you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to strategically position your book in front of the right audiences. But you may not get a response to your first pitch. You have to be willing to reach out again. You must put aside any fears that you are bothering someone, or that the media person must not be interested if they didn’t respond right away. Neither of these ideas are true in over 99% of the cases. We have to go beyond any of those fears and keep trying, although each time you should come back with another piece of information or another angle on your pitch. Taking the initiative showcases your dedication and professionalism, earning you some respect. In essence, proactive outreach is about creating opportunities rather than waiting for them to arise, ensuring that your book doesn’t get lost in the crowd but stands out and gains the recognition it deserves. I can assure you this: It doesn’t magically happen…for anyone.

Bottom line

The fundamentals are fundamental for a reason. Successful book marketing and publicity rely on them. By focusing on these 4 core elements, authors can effectively promote their work and achieve lasting impact.

To your success!


P.S. It first happened 10 years ago, and it is happening again! Full details coming soon, but get a load of this! Watch at least the first minute. When it comes to promoting your book, it helps to think outside the box.








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