Many authors believe that writing the book is their job, but it’s someone else’s job to sell their book. However, the most effective book publicity campaigns are collaborative efforts between authors and their book publicist.
A dream client for a book publicist is an author who is highly motivated and involved in the process of promoting him- or herself and boosting book sales. When an author puts time, energy, and creative ideas into the publicity campaign, the results are much better than if the publicist worked on her own.
If you want to increase book sales, generate a lot of media buzz, and become well known in your field, you can help your publicist succeed using the following six book publicity strategies.
1. Participate in shaping the campaign. Work with your book publicist to create a wish list of placements that fulfill your top objectives. For instance, you may want her to target audiences that are most likely to be potential business clients, if your goal is to build your client base. Or sometimes it’s more effective to have a few targeted venues than to cast a wide net into the sea of media. For example, tech advisor and business book author Phil Simon wanted a regular bylined blog at Inc, and asked us to focus on landing it for him. We doggedly pursued that goal and six months later we got it for him. Now he has that blog for the rest of his career.
2. Generate fresh, interesting pitch ideas. Since you’re an expert in your field and know what’s hot, controversial, and new, keep your publicist apprised of breaking stories, interesting research findings, and fascinating trends. This will help her craft catchy media pitches that will help you and your book get noticed. For instance, one of our health book authors, Dr. Jay Cohen, an expert on prostate cancer, informed us about a controversial cancer screening recommendation for men. A day after the news broke, we had a print-ready article on the subject that was promptly published online and syndicated.
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3. Be appealing to multiple audiences. Let’s say you’re a health expert who has written a book on women’s wellness. Help your book publicist reach as many audiences as possible by writing 5-7 tips that target working women, moms, teen and tween girls, senior women, and maybe even husbands. These tips lists are the raw material your publicist can then use in any number of ways—in articles and blogs, as talking points, for pitch ideas, for radio and TV show topics, and more.
4. Make use of your friends and connections. If you have friends and colleagues in high places—such as celebrities or high-profile clients—figure out ways to weave them into your publicity campaign. For example, leadership expert Prasad Kaipa reached out to a fellow author, a well-known expert on Apple Inc., to cowrite a piece about Apple CEO Tim Cook. We timed our offering of their piece to coincide with Apple’s quarterly earnings report announcement. Fortune/CNN ran with it. Tell your publicist whom you know so she can brainstorm ideas with you.
5. Share what media contacts are saying to you. It’s often the case that after several media interviews, authors will find that journalists consistently ask the same question, or get puzzled by the same issues. By all means, share this valuable feedback with your publicist. In this way, media people unwittingly tell authors what’s most interesting to them—and that’s your cue to jump on that topic. For example, Vicky Oliver, a bestselling author of career books, told us that lots of reporters would ask her for secrets to acing a job interview. That became a topic we zoomed in on for the campaign.
6. Promote yourself, and use social media. The more publicity you do on your own, the more energy it adds to your overall publicity campaign. For example, anyone can reply to HARO (Help a Reporter Out) leads—it’s not just for book publicists. You yourself can set up book signings at your local bookstore. Post blogs at your website. Do lectures and teach workshops. Every time your publicist gets you in the media, post a link to the article, radio clip, or video at your website and on your social media pages. Tweet it. Tell your friends to do the same. For $15, you can boost your posts on Facebook and get more fans to your page, enabling an article to reach 5,000 people instead of 500. For instance, when our client Dr. Michael Murray did this, his article on natural ways to reduce blood pressure reached over 20,000 on Facebook.