As with every other product or service, books also need PR and marketing to capture attention and generate sales. Authors who want to generate publicity for their books rely heavily on earned media coverage. Unlike advertising and sales, PR generates powerful and influential media coverage for books based on their newsworthiness.
Let us look at an example:
Generally, when a businessperson or author appears on any form of media, they promote their book and make the hard sell. However, to the audience’s eyes, this tactic is way too over-promotional, and the host or producer of the TV, online, or radio show will likely cut the conversation short. Compelling interviews and appearances are those that can engage with the host and entertain the audience. Successful book publicity is all about being able to master the art of the soft-sale by mentioning your book at the correct times, promoting it without being overbearing. When authors provide quality interview answers or helpful information, the media, without a doubt, naturally talk about a book as part of the process.
Why Publicity is Important for your Book
While book publicity is is not a guarantee that your sales will go through the roof, it can help boost your sales. The competition for media attention is fierce since more books are getting released daily. Even the most prominent publisher or famous author needs to have significant promotion to be successful. In the current landscape, it is common to see favourite authors appearing on interviews on TV and radio as their books get released because even the most prominent names acknowledge the need to engage in book publicity campaigns. There are only a few guarantees when it comes to book publicity. Even so, one thing for sure – as an author, it is essential to make an effort to market a book and employ book publicity tactics. Failure to do so will result in all the time and effort put into creating a literary masterpiece going to waste.
Generating publicity for your book also helps build brand recognition, separates the author from the competition, and helps drive SEO. As an author, you need to think of yourself as a brand. Having good media coverage will build relationships with readers, help engage influencers and help shape your success. When a neutral party, in this case, journalists and other media professionals, writes positively about you and your book, it carries a lot more influence than the recognition they might receive with paid placements or display advertising. Rather than those marketing tactics, having bylined content, blogger reviews, legitimate reader reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon, interviews and features, will help you earn more credibility through endorsements of recognized media outlets.
Secondly, new books are released and published daily. In 2017 alone, more than a million books were published. This means that there is a lot of competition, especially for a first-time author. As a result, good book publicity helps you to separate yourself from the thousands of other new releases in your category.
Lastly, the PR landscape has changed significantly. Digital publicity used to be something that was “nice to have.” However, with print coverage continuing to shrink and even start to disappear completely, it has become an absolute necessity. With that in mind, it is important to pay attention to your Google search rankings if you want to boost your online visibility. High-quality, evergreen content will live on the web forever, and established publications that link to your book’s website can boost search listings due to their domain authority. This type of content can help push up your book’s ranking and continue attracting traffic for your books well after the publication date has come and gone.
PR agencies like Pressfarm understand the importance of having both traditional and digital PR, which is why their team of PR professionals and expert writers help startups and companies of various size create newsworthy content. This content ranges from email pitches, to press releases, guest posts, press kits, and more. With quality content, you can not only capture media attention but also inspire action among your target audience.
In addition to helping you create quality content, Pressfarm’s account executive will create a curated media list of the best media contacts in your niche to help you target the right individuals and generate the appropriate media coverage. Beyond custom media lists, you’ll also have access to a comprehensive media database of 1 milion+ journalists, bloggers and influencers across industries. With a winning distribution strategy, Pressfarm will also help boost your online visibility by helping you feature in relevant search results across different search engines.
Creating an Effective and Timely Publicity Plan for your Book
For many first-time authors, publicity and marketing become afterthoughts because there are many other things to think about, like getting the manuscript written, copyedited, revised, choosing text layout, and the cover design. However, publicity should be at the forefront of their minds because it is almost essential to get decent media attention for your.
Timing is everything when it comes to running a successful PR campaign. According to professionals, the most important thing is to start the process early, at least 4-6 months before the publication date. This gives you enough time to have a well-planned out and comprehensive PR campaign.
Another reason to begin long before publication is because you will be working with media professionals who are also very busy people and aren’t just sitting around waiting for a new story to break. Most media producers and top-tier outlets work with editorial calendars. Long lead-times up to at least six months in advance. Book editors typically have stacks of bound proofs or finished books. Those have all been marked, shelved, and labeled by publication month.
So, let us dive into the timeline of tips for new authors to gain media coverage and reach their target audiences.
Six or more months before publication
1) Identify the audience
At this point in the process, authors, marketers, and publicists need to think beyond the idea that their book will appeal to everyone of all demographics. You need to think clearly about the best audience for your book. Take some time to check out the competition. Because those insights can act as a useful scale to the performance of related book titles. This is also the time to get the word out about your release date. You should spread the news to contacts, friends, and colleagues to get an early buzz going.
2) Get on social media
At the moment, social media is the best way to get a message out into the world and reach a large audience. If you do not have an active social media presence, then you should start building one as soon as possible. You can use social media to follow relevant influencers and help figure out the best outlets for your book. However, it is essential to note that if you decide to interact with potential, future readers, influencers, and reviewers. You need to do so in an authentic way and avoid turning people off with sales tactics
Six months before launch
1) Find outlets for publicity
You need to think beyond book reviews and seek out opportunities for features, Q&As, interviews, talking points, fascinating lists, and other conversations. You also need to work with your publicist and PR professionals to create a media kit. That includes your pitch content, author bio, book cover, author photo, buy links, and talking points. It is also essential to be prepared and get high-resolution artwork ready in case there are media requests.
You should consider reaching out to places like author/book associations like the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) USA for various member benefits, including forums and advice. This is also the time to contact key media outlets. Since they generally plan their content a season ahead of time. Now is the time to send out email release announcements with details of your upcoming book. Additionally, you should try and contact local literary festivals, alumni panel discussions, industry affiliations, and others to plan early for the launch.
Four months before launch
1) Finalize the media list
Whether you have created your media list on your own or you’ve hired PR professionals to create it. Your media list contains outlets who you should actively contact and follow up with. The ideal media list should have all the broadcast outlets which you’ve had your eye on. Even so, you need to be realistic and make sure that you have a solid base of achievable goals. For this reason, you should try reaching out to relevant media professionals and suitable bloggers in your niche. Whatever category your book falls under, you need to decide whom to target and make sure you can do so.
2) Follow up on early outreach
If you have done early outreach, now is the time to follow up with the media outlets by email. The email should be short and concise to avoid irritating or boring the media professional.
3) Plan the launch event
Whether you decide to have a physical or digital launch event. You need to choose a date and venue that celebrates your literary achievement. Ideally, your launch should be a week before or on publication day. Regardless of the event format, you should send out the invitations months in advance and send reminders leading up to it. The guest list for the launch event should include people from all parts of the author’s life, local media, and other media professionals you have been in contact with.
Two months before launch
At this point in the process, the book should be finalized with no more editorial, design, or production changes to be made. This is when final copies should be in hand to be distributed. You should be mailing the finished book to the agreed media list, including approved requests and core book editors. Whether you decide to include a traditional press release or not. This is the time to show everyone what you have done. It can also be beneficial to print off some physical copies if you only publishes e-book formats. Editors and book editors like to have a finished copy at least a month or two before publication.
One month before launch
Just before the book goes live, you should also take some time to build up your author page on Amazon or wherever you plan to sell and showcase your book. Your author page should have a professional photo of you and a personal info section about yourself. You should also start contacting bloggers who you have had previous rapport with. Offer a blog post or guest posts, exclusive extracts, or interviews to go out at publication time.
To build hype, you can set your book to pre-order in advance. Other ways to build anticipation include hosting a book cover reveal and leaking short extracts from the book on your website or social media pages.
Publication week and beyond
The time has finally come for the book to be launched. To capture media attention and spark curiosity among the general public. You should share pictures of the physical book on social media. Keep your followers updated with great quotes, mentions, compliments, and likes. You can also set up a Google alert using your book title and your name or set a separate alert on the main subject/topic to tie in or offer insight to related trending news.
Having a proper, well-planned out book publicity timetable is very beneficial because it will keep you and your team focused. Of course, there is room for creativity and imagination when promoting literary work. Nevertheless, with so much competition and distractions out there. It is reassuring to know that everything has been done to give your book the publicity it deserves.