So, you’ve signed on for a publicity campaign to promote your amazing new book. Most new authors aren’t familiar with what’s involved in a book publicity campaign – I didn’t, before I started working many years ago in book promotion. Publicists are the “matchmaker,” connecting your book with the right media. However, it’s you, the author, who needs to be available, prepared and enthusiastic for every opportunity in order to make the most out of your investment in publicity. The goal is to give your book the best chance for visibility.
TIME. You will be asked to actively participate in your PR campaign. That means decide on a period of time when you will be available to designate yourself to media interactions. Don’t begin the campaign and then let your publicist know that you are leaving for a three week cruise and will not have access to email or phone – UGH! While we expect you to have commitments outside of your campaign, your publicist and the media will need access to you while you are engaging in book publicity. Let your publicist know your “blackout” times (times you are not available) so he or she can do their best to arrange media around your schedule.
WORK. Most authors have “real” jobs too. We completely understand that you must continue working during your PR campaign. We will always work around your schedule, and hopefully even use it to our advantage. For example, your work travel could be an opportunity for your publicist to introduce you and your book to a local media market. Wouldn’t you rather conduct a radio interview than order room service again? Let your publicist know two to three weeks before personal or professional travel if you are interested in local media opportunities.
WRITING. Interviews for print, online and broadcast media outlets are one way you will be actively participating in your publicity campaign. You also might be asked to write a byline article or an opinion piece–usually between 800-1000 words. These types of articles provide an excellent opportunity to get the word out about your book and/or the topics it covers, and your area(s) of expertise. Plus, op-ed pieces, byline articles, and blog postings tend to be highly searchable helping to increase your digital footprint. Brainstorm with your publicists on topics related to your book and expertise, especially related to current new stories, for potential articles.
DO ALL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES! Some of the media outlet opportunities presented to you will be small, perhaps a local or regional publication, while others will offer a larger, national demographic. However, it’s so important to remember that you NEVER know who is reading, listening or watching.
Producers and editors routinely scan local news for ideas, experts, and stories to incorporate to their segments or feature stories. Many of our clients’ national media opportunities are a direct result of small media exposure.
A few examples of how one small media run absolutely led to huge opportunities:
- A Dateline NBC segment aired featuring one of our authors after a producer for the program read about her in a small city newspaper. The Dateline segment led to a two-page feature story in People Magazine,
- A millionaire in need of legal counsel was driving through South Dakota and heard one of our authors doing a radio interview on a local radio station–the author ended up with a very lucrative client,
- A producer with the TODAY show read about an author in a regional business journal while on vacation in Florida. Three weeks later, he was on the TODAY show, and
- A 20/20 producer read a byline article on an online media outlet written by one of our authors and booked her for a segment.
These are just a few situations highlighting the importance of authors doing every media opportunity during your PR campaign–not just the obvious slam-dunks. Your publicist will share every opportunity that we receive from the media with you. We do understand that sometimes you cannot say yes. Even if that is the case, we always suggest other ways to fulfill the media opportunity as we hate to say no to anything. We may recommend an excerpt from the book rather that an article, or maybe they’ll accept a Q&A via email rather than a phone interview. We are very creative!
So rest up and get excited. Our plans are to keep you busy during your book publicity campaign, but hopefully you’ll have a lot fun along the way. Oh, and get some great exposure for your book too!
Kate Knapp is the Director of Publicity Services at Smith Publicity, Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit www.smithpublicity.com.