Many first-time authors think that once they have finished writing their book, the hard part is over. Unfortunately, there's still a lot of work to be done. Marketing a book can be just as challenging as writing it. Connecting a wide readership to your book involves major marketing know-how, not to mention considerable time.
This is where a book publicist can be your best friend.
For all of the writers out there who have wondered - should I hire a publicist? - read on to learn if a publicist can help you reach your book marketing goals.
But First… What Does a Publicist Do Anyway?
A book publicist connects her clients to media outlets that feature authors on their platform. This includes radio, TV, podcasts and print media outlets.
Essentially, a publicist reaches out to media contacts, like show producers and journalists, and schedules interviews for authors.
A book publicist may also connect authors to bookstores, professional groups or other organizations for readings, speaking engagements and other forms of book promotion. In some cases, a book publicist may organize a book tour for a client.
What Are Your Marketing Goals for Your Book?
Now that you know what a publicist does, you can assess if their work aligns with your book promotion goals. This of course begs the question: what are your marketing goals for your book?
Increased book sales and name recognition are a given. But how are you aiming to get there?
Do you want more book reviews or influencer reviews? Do you want to create a social media buzz? Looking for viral videos about your book?
In some cases, a book publicist may coordinate these marketing efforts, but again, their main focus will be booking media interviews for a client.
So if talking about your book on a TV program, radio show or podcast is the goal, then a book publicist is the best way to get you there.
Can You Effectively Pitch Your Book to Media Outlets?
Performing the work of a book publicist may seem easy at first blush. You simply research contacts at media outlets and send them information about your book, right?
Well… sort of.
There is a whole lot of work that goes into this task that can be broken down as follows:
1. Developing an engaging pitch This means locating the themes in your book that will resonate with certain groups of people. The pitch needs to be super short - say a paragraph or two - that packs in the themes in an informative, but engaging way for your intended audience.
2. Researching media outlets I say "media outlets" and you might think of your favorite national and local shows. Maybe you know a few dozen or a couple of hundred. Here's the thing: there are thousands of shows that could be an appropriate platform for your book.
And not only do you have to scour the rolls of TV, radio, podcast and print outlets in national, regional and local outlets, but you have to know their demographics and niche topics of focus to determine if they coincide with your book's themes and audience demographics. And you need to know the producers' and editors' names and the contact information.
3. Creating press kits and marketing collateral Besides creating an engaging hook, you often need to create press kits that include press releases, fact sheets, bios, press coverage, graphic design elements and other marketing collateral as necessary. There is an art to creating this work and knowing when to send it.
What About Following-up with Media Contacts?
Pitching to media contacts is just the first major step. Don't expect the media to call you after your pitch.
You will then need to follow-up with the contacts to increase your chances of landing an interview. Show producers and journalists have busy schedules and are inundated with interview requests, so follow-up is a must. Sending follow-up emails and placing calls takes more time to complete and track than you might assume before giving it a go.
Can You Identify and Reach Out to Venues?
Libraries, schools and places of worship may be appropriate venues for talking about your book. There are also plenty of professional associations and non-profit groups whose interest might overlap with the ideas and themes of your book.
Identifying these groups, reaching out to them and organizing speaking engagements is, much like booking media interviews, a time-consuming endeavor that can pay off with the right message and persistent follow-up.
Still contemplating… should I hire a book publicist? Reach out to me today. I have decades of experience overseeing book publicity campaigns and consulting with authors on book publicity, having launched winning campaigns for authors like John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hitman) and Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul series).