In book publicity, it’s tempting to wait for publicity to “do its thing.” After all, your book has been featured in newspapers and magazines, you’ve been interviewed on countless radio programs, appeared on TV, and even enjoyed some glowing published reviews. Now, you might think, it’s time to sit back and watch the book sales rack up and your book rocket in popularity.
But, the reality is that securing publicity is no longer sufficient. Record numbers of books are being published every year, the competition for attention is intense, and well, it’s just not like it used to be. The game has changed, and it’s time your way of thinking about publicity changed, too.
This game-change, however, has also opened up new opportunities for authors beyond book sales. Books are now being written and published for a variety of purposes, and the media exposure secured can be the catalyst for success in new and exciting ways.
Publicity isn’t an “end,” it’s a beginning; it’s now more of a tool than a process. To maximize the benefit of media exposure in today’s market, you have to use your publicity. To paraphrase a famous American president, “Ask not what publicity can do for you, but what you can do with your publicity.”
The following tips are meant to get your mind thinking in a new direction when it comes to your book and publicity; the possibilities of what you can do are only limited by your imagination.
1) Internet, Internet, Internet.
There are so many ways to use the Internet to get the most from your publicity, and more opportunities are developed every day.
Website: Put simply, when you get media coverage, put it on your website immediately. Create an engaging and interesting “media” page on which you showcase your coverage. (For a terrific example, visit Smith Publicity client Bill Losey’s website and click on the media page: www.myretirementsuccess.com) Create audio links to radio interviews, video links for your TV appearances, and list all of the print coverage you’ve received. Create hyperlinks to archived coverage, and remember that virtually all media outlets now have online equivalents or supplements. In most cases, MP3 or similar audio files and videos will already be created for you by the media outlet, you just have to link to it.
Social Networking: Announce every interview or article about you or your book to the online world via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites. If you just completed a radio interview, Tweet about it and list on all your social networking outlets. If you haven’t already, find the special interest networking sites out there; join them, and let them know what you’re doing.
YouTube: YouTube has become a powerful tool to spread word-of-mouth awareness about a person or book. Add a clip of a TV interview to YouTube, and make sure you include keywords so when people search they find you. If available, post your book trailer on YouTube. Also, why not make a short video of yourself describing your book and display print coverage you received?
The key thing to keep in mind about the Internet is that what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. And the more you put on the Internet about your book, the more search engines will find it, the higher your website Google ranking will become, and that beautiful thing known as a “buzz” about your book will begin. Trust me. If you’re diligent about taking the time to use the Internet, word about your book will spread to more people than you can imagine.
2) Use media exposure as a tool to get more exposure.
Contrary to what you might think, media outlets often become interested in an author or book when a producer or editor hears or reads about it from another media outlet! Why do you see authors become “hot” media items, heavily requested for interviews? Because media professionals are no different than anyone else. If they hear about someone interesting, they are going to be interested. With the exception of “hard news,” i.e. breaking, explosive stories, media outlets consistently cover the same subjects and people.
If your local newspaper, for example, writes a story about you, then tell a national or much larger regional paper about it. Send them a clipping of the story, show them you’re interesting, and they just might want to cover you as well. If you’re interviewed on a small radio talk show, send a BBC producer a link to your interview. Remember, media exposure builds upon itself so use each run to your advantage.
When it comes to TV, most producers of mid to large programs want to see a potential guest on air before booking an interview. You can use a local TV interview to demonstrate to another producer that you can handle yourself on the air and are an excellent guest. Sending an e-mail link is the most convenient way for a producer to review the video, but you can also make a DVD and send it “snail mail.”
Remember: Every newspaper magazine has column inches to fill, every magazine “white space” they desperately need to fill, and every radio or TV news/feature show has airtime to fill. In most cases, they won’t care that they aren’t first!
3) You’re an author, people are talking and writing about you, you’re unique; use it to enhance your professional advantage.
Even with the explosion of self-publishing and the fact that more people than ever are publishing books, the vast majority of people have not written one. Whether you realized it or not, you’re special, you’re unique, and people will look at you differently because you’ve written a book. Most importantly, the media coverage you secure makes you more than special; it gives you credibility and makes others view you as important. Whether you’ve penned a novel or written a business advice book, you can use that book and media exposure to enhance your career.
Example #1: You’ve published a novel and have received great media exposure, and you’re in competition at the workplace for the next promotion. Why in the world wouldn’t you let your boss know about the interviews you’ve completed or the print coverage you’ve received? Inevitably, he or she will be impressed and in their mind, you’ve become different and separated yourself from others. Your status as an author can only help improve the image others have of you.
Example #2: You’re a business consultant and published a book displaying your expertise on the subject of your work and have enjoyed a stunning amount of media coverage. You and another consultant are vying for a lucrative contract with a firm. Along with your other marketing materials, you submit a copy of your book and clippings of your press coverage to the person or people who will make the hiring decision. Your competitor has similar credentials but no book and no media “credentials.” Who do you think has the better chance of getting that contract?
When it comes to resumes, in addition to typical information, attach articles written about you and your book and list interviews you’ve completed. There can be no doubt the interviewer will be impressed and put your application at the top of the pile.
One case in point when it comes to leveraging media coverage is author Stacey Hanke, whose book Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others to Take Action, has received interest from over 120 media outlets.
“My book and media attention have given me the opportunity to promote my business in ways I could not have done before,” says Hanke.
Randy Petrick, a writer, speaker, and money coach with more than thirty years of experience teaching financial concepts, has received nationwide media attention for his book Money Games: 85 Ways to Save Money and Attract Abundance. Petrick’s book and expertise has made him a particularly attractive source for the media in light of the recent economic difficulties.
“Writing and publishing Money Games has been a wonderful opportunity to enhance my business as a financial consultant,” says Petrick. “I can’t imagine a better ‘business card’ in these financial times than my book.”
4) Make you and your book more appealing to agents and publishers.
Authors are increasingly going the self-published route first and the traditional publishing route second. Self-publishing is no longer the “ugly stepchild” of the publishing industry, and agents and publishers are taking notice and offering publishing contracts to self-published authors who’ve proven their merits. But simply writing and publishing a book isn’t enough. High sales numbers will certainly open eyes, and media coverage will too. The classic query letter to an agent or publisher can be transformed into a magnet for attention if accompanied with press clippings and highlights of media coverage. Your odds of getting the attention of an agent or publisher increase substantially if they see that others have already taken an interest in you.
5) Media coverage to secure distribution.
Every author wants to get on the shelves of bookstores and in multiple distribution channels, but it’s not easy, especially for a self-published author. But consider publicity the “great equalizer” when it comes securing distribution and getting shelf-presence in stores. Certainly, most books you see in your local bookstore are from mainstream publishers, but not all. Of course, the quality of a book is paramount when determining which gets on the shelves, but quality can be “proven” by publicity.
You should stay in constant contact with your distributor, letting them know every time you’ve completed an interview or received newspaper or magazine coverage. Let them know when an interview will air or an article will run so they can let their sales representatives know and make pushes to local bookstores.
6) Make you and your next book more appealing.
Even the most famous authors rely upon previous media coverage to enhance the appeal of their next book. You can do the same thing. Pull quotes from articles or reviews and put them at the top or bottom of your book cover. Put “As Featured in …” if you received coverage in substantial outlets or were interviewed on well-known shows.
On Amazon and other bookselling sites, in the bio section, make sure to add in notable media coverage for your previous book.
The idea is straightforward: If your previous book received acclaim and positive media feedback, your new book must also be good!
One thing to keep in mind: For book covers, it’s best to include quotes or listing of interviews completed if these are from mid-level to large media outlets. An endorsement from your tiny local newspaper — although great publicity — probably won’t mean much to book buyers all over the country or world.
7) Show off and have fun.
Too often, authors — and publicists — forget to have fun along the way and after a publicity campaign. You worked hard, why not show off and have some fun? From simple things, like framing an article about you in your office, to sending copies to friends and family, promotion is all about showing off. It’s hard for some people to draw attention to themselves — it can feel awkward — but you need to shed your fears and tell the world!
Dan Smith is CEO and founder of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Smith Publicity has implemented over 900 book promotion campaigns and secured placements with virtually every major media outlet. The firm has serviced authors from over 25 countries and has offices in New Jersey, New York, Los Angeles, and London. Website: www.smithpublicity.com