Author Self-Promotion Tools: Three Types of Sound Bites for Authors

A sound bite is a word morsel, a phrase that offers pleasure and surprise as it expands in the listener’s ear or the reader’s mind. To help promote your book, create sound bites to use during media interviews, in your blog, newsletter and press releases, as well as in your book.

Any dictionary of quotations contains well-worn but still effective sound bites from authors of the past, such as “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” from Robert Frost or “It is never too late to be what you might have been,” from George Eliot. Here are three easy ways to create something quotable that your fans, followers and media friends will want to help you pass around – and that may even outlive you.

1. Slogan or motto

Is there something original you are fond of saying? If it’s pithy, ironic, humorous or surprising, turn it into your slogan or motto, like Red Smith’s “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed” or Helen Keller’s “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Use it as a tag line on your web site or blog. Place it in the signature section of your daily emails. Include it in your author bio and mention it whenever you are interviewed.

Before adopting a motto, make sure it is as concise as it can be and has an appealing rhythm when said out loud. As in both the Smith and the Keller sayings that I quoted, place the kicker word or idea at the end rather than at the beginning.

2. Moniker

A moniker is a nickname or showy stage name for you, like “Dr. Niche” for Lynda Falkenstein, “The Happy Guy” for David Leonhardt or “The Dean of Destiny” for Patrick Snow. Even better than one you make up for yourself is something that a reporter or book reviewer bestowed on you. Dr. Doris Jeanette lets people know, for example, that the Philadelphia Inquirer called her “The Siren of Spontaneity.” Incorporate your moniker into your bio and use it as often as you can in other publicity materials.

You might think it goes without saying that any moniker you embrace should have a positive impact. But I have just encountered someone calling himself “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging,” as if that is a point of pride. Freddy Krueger is a horror movie character who looks repulsive and kills people. The positive spin that the blogger gives for this moniker cannot overshadow the abhorrent associations many people have with this character. If you notice people using your moniker apologetically instead of enthusiastically, you need to send it back for a rewrite.

3. Mnemonic

With a mnemonic you focus on your subject matter and summarize three, four or five important points in a memorable formula that uses the first letter of each point. For instance, Judy Dunn gives us the three Es of blogging: “Helping bloggers educate, engage and entertain.”

Don’t strain so hard to come up with catchy initials that you provide a formula that in turn needs explaining. One organization tells us, for example, that “R.A.R.E. stands for Random Acts of Requisite Education.” However, “requisite” is an unusual word whose meaning many people won’t recall. Moreover, even though I do know very well what that word means, its presence in “Random Acts of Requisite Education” makes little or no sense to me.

These three types of sound bites don’t begin to exhaust the possible ways of attracting attention with words, but they give you a great start in creating associations that will stick in the minds of folks finding out about your books, ebooks and other works.

Marcia Yudkin is the author of the ebook The Sound Bite Workbook, available for Kindle or Nook, as well as 16 traditionally published paperback books. She teaches a course for nonfiction writers who want to join the ebook revolution while living up to traditional publishing standards: http://www.yudkin.com/kindle.htm.