22 Sep Publicity for Self-Published Authors
The goal of publicity is to generate coverage about a book as broadly and as widely as possible.
This can be hard to do in the mainstream media without appropriate contacts, but it’s not impossible, not if your story is interesting and well pitched.
The opportunities to generate publicity locally and online are more accessible to all.
Your Book Pitch
First of all, nail your pitch. It is a vital communications tool. It’s the words you use when you talk about your book to everyone you meet, including media. You need to be able to summarise it in a sentence and it needs to be attention grabbing. For non-fiction, pitch the topic of the book. For fiction, pitch the story of the author – why is he or she interesting.
Embrace Social Media
It’s not for everyone and it can be daunting starting from scratch. At the very least you can set up a Facebook page for your book or an author page for yourself and invite your network to support you.
Chose the social media that best suits you and your project. Facebook for everyone. Twitter for the topical. Pinterest and Instagram for the more visually oriented, and LinkedIn for business books and non-fiction.
Don’t overdo it. There are ways you can automate posts to post across platforms for you, and this can work, but it can also appear auto-generated. It is best to just stick to one or two platforms and post as regularly as you can.
Original content is great, so if you have that post it, but re-posts are also good and an easy way to keep the momentum going.
Consider making a video trailer for your book and posting on YouTube, social media and your website.
Get Book Reviews and Other Media Coverage
The two basic tools that you will need to do this are a Press Release and a Target Media List.
Press Release for Your Book
A Press Release should contain:
- A one-line intro that provides a ‘hook’ to get the journalist interested
- A high level blurb about the book (the pitch)
- A photograph of the author
- Contact information
You can put the press release up on your website too, and journalists can download it directly.
Different types of media coverage include extracts, interviews with the author, book reviews. Offer free content (articles, photos) if you can.
Send out the press release to relevant media with a short (2-3 short sentences only) introductory email. In the email, specify what you are offering eg the book is available for review, the author is available for interview, and try to target your pitch to the media you are approaching.
Be aware of lead times, especially for magazines which generally plan their content months in advance.
Target Media List for Your Book
A Target Media list should contain a list of the editors of appropriate publications. These might be mainstream, specialist or local media in print, online, radio or TV. Try to get an actual name and address emails directly to that person.
Sending Out Books for Review
Send out books to hard copy reviewers where appropriate but be wary of costs involved in giving away books and posting them to reviewers.
Online Book Reviews
Try to accumulate positive reviews and star-ratings for your book on appropriate networks eg Goodreads, Story Cartel, Amazon.
The online equivalent of the old-school author book tours, blog tours are a great way to generate buzz and interest in your book.
Draw up a shortlist of appropriate blogs (these will be appropriate to your subject or genre of writing) and approach them offering to write a guest post for them, or to make yourself available for interview.
If possible, try to schedule coverage to appear on multiple blogs at roughly the same time, and ask the blogger to post on social media (they will usually do this anyway), so that you can re-post to your followers.