Every author needs a cost-effective way to keep their book in front of their target readers. For many authors, publicity is the key to such recognition and awareness. When done correctly, publicity develops your book’s recognition, gives you instant credibility, and ultimately leads to increased sales. And best of all, publicity is absolutely free.
Publicity can come from anywhere and in many different forms. It can be as simple as having a letter published in the editorial column of your local newspaper, or as dynamic as having a front-page article with your name splashed across the headlines. Unfortunately, because of the many myths that shroud the whole concept of publicity, many authors either fail to seek it out, or they approach their publicity efforts with outdated techniques.
Before you can get your book the publicity it deserves, you need to separate the PR facts from the media fiction. Below are the most common publicity myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1 – I will become famous from that one big hit
Getting mentioned in or interviewed by a major national publication with a circulation of over one million readers is certainly impressive. But will such a stroke of luck make your book a household name? Not likely. To become a household name, you need to develop “top of mind awareness.” What is top of mind awareness? It’s when people think of you first to fulfill reading needs. It’s when magazines quote you and publish your articles, and when radio and TV shows feature you as a guest author. It’s when readers say, “I’ve seen your book mentioned everywhere.” But most important, it’s when people buy your book because they know your name or your book’s name, and they perceive you as a talented author. The only way to get top of mind awareness (to become famous) is through constant exposure in a variety of publications.
Myth #2 – I need to use big words to impress the interviewer
In most cases, the person interviewing you, as well as the publication’s readers, are not as intimate with your subject as you are. Therefore, they need the information you give them to be understandable and at a layperson’s comprehension level. The best approach is to avoid speaking with industry jargon or using techno-terms. Instead, speak as if you were explaining something for the first time. The simpler you can make your information, the better your chances of being quoted as the expert source.
Myth #3 – I need a unique theory or insight
While you don’t want to rehash old news, there’s no need to rack your brain for a totally new theory or perspective. The best approach is to present your findings, opinions, or topic of expertise in a new light – one that may be close to someone else’s, but that catches the reporter or editor’s interest. Perhaps you have information that can refute a recent claim or that shows how a current business or societal challenge is affecting the publication’s target readership. When you simply put a new spin on a current theory or insight that interests the publication’s readers, reporters will want to present your findings.
Myth #4 – I can’t get into that publication
It’s common for authors, especially new authors, to feel intimidated by the big name publications. They envision high-powered magazine editors schmoozing with New York Times best sellers and lining up interviews with well-known figureheads for the next six months. In reality, editors scramble daily to find people to interview who have knowledge on the latest trends and topics. Realize too that editors must find new and exciting people to interview either weekly or monthly, so the more knowledgeable people they can add to their database, the better. Make yourself stand out as a reliable information source and you will get the media’s attention.
Myth #5 – Small publications don’t matter
Small publications are just as important as the big ones. Why? Because you never know who reads them. You may think that a magazine with only a 10,000-15,000 circulation could never get you the kind of publicity you want, but what if half of those readers were your target audience? Even better, what if your interview or article in a small publication prompted an editor from a large publication to call you? So target small publications as well as the large ones. As long as your information is interesting and accurate, you will gain more attention and get the publicity you need.
Getting publicity is the best way to promote your book. And when you know the facts of the PR business, you can attain the publicity you need easily and then use it to your best advantage. With a constant stream of good publicity, your book is destined to flourish.
Pam Lontos is owner of PR/PR, a public relations firm that specializes in professional speakers, authors, and experts. Having been an author, speaker, and former VP of Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting, she knows the ropes of getting good you publicity and how to use it to really boost your business. Call for a free consultation at (407) 299-6128, and sign up for a free publicity tips e-newsletter at www.prpr.net.