Book publicity, at its core, comes down to several key areas:
· Contact list
· Expert author credentials
· A quality book
· Past media experience
· News cycle, calendar and timing
· Well-written pitch letters and emails
· Phone follow-up
· Being assertive, communicative, personable, and interesting
Let’s take a quick look at each area – what’s needed and what you can do to bring about success.
This amounts to who you know and who they know. You need a grass roots approach, to build up fans and supporters who will rabidly support you. Start with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, people from your past, and people your kids or spouse are affiliated with. Think about organizations and memberships, from the gym and church to professional or educational affiliations. List everyone, get their contact info, and connect via social media. Then start asking them to help you with introductions to others and by sharing your blog posts and links related to your book.
2. Contact List
You need an accurate, targeted, and detailed media contact list. Often, you need to probe beyond what’s listed in a database or the media outlet’s website. For instance, just contacting the book editor at a publication is not enough. You might also try the features editor and other editors, columnists, reporters and freelancers connected to other relevant sections. Additionally, only emailing people is not enough. Other than bloggers, calling people will be helpful.
3. Expert Author Credentials
You can’t make a resume up, though you can loosely define what makes someone an expert. Your schooling, professional experience, personal experience, and hobbies can help qualify you s an expert in something. But I caution – the further your background is removed from what you write about, the harder it is to position you as credible to the media.
4. Quality Book
Yes, let’s not overlook a basic fact: the book must be well-written, edited properly, be interesting or useful, and be better than most books in its genre. Really take a hard look at how you match up against the competition and figure out where you have a competitive edge.
5. Past Media Experience
Media begets media. Once you get a link or clip to a media appearance, you can use that to leverage more media.
6. News Cycle
There are different windows of time to pitch the media, such as timing your pitch for an upcoming holiday, honorary week, an anniversary, or something currently in the news.
7. Pitch Letters
When you email the media – or mail letters – personalize them, be short and to the point, be creative, and say things in a way that has conviction, personality, and immediacy.
8. Phone Follow-Up
You need to follow up on your emails and pitch letters with calls, especially to non-online media.
9. Be Assertive
Nothing comes to those who wait. Go out there and make things happen. Be a talker, a schmoozer, a people person. Be aggressive and be positive. Your energy will carry you.