Publishers are experts in publishing but often they are not very good at promoting. And, if you don’t have the financial resources to hire a top-tier publicist, you will need to roll up your sleeves and make your book a bestseller. You can do that by thinking like a publicist.
Although you will need to work hard and work smart to publicize your own book, there are some pro tips that will make your efforts maximally effective. If you follow these tips, there is a good chance that the hard work you exerted writing your book will translate into successful sales of your book.
Here are a dozen tips on publicizing your own book:
- Build an author platform. In today’s market, a book’s viability has more to do—at least initially—with the author than the book. Book publishers judge a book’s potential sales more by the author’s platform than by the book’s content. Book buyers are more likely to buy a book whose author has a known platform. Thus, an author should build a personal website as well as a social media following. Thus, you should be prepared to market yourself to the media as an expert or influencer.
- Create a media kit. Create a basic media kit, including (1) a full-size photograph of your book’s front cover, (2) a brief profile of yourself, including 3-4 sentences about yourself as well as contact information and social media handles; (3) a brief summary of your book; and (4) 5-10 suggested questions an interviewer could ask you during a radio, podcast, or TV spot.
- Pitch yourself to media outlets. A media pitch is a brief email or letter explaining why you would be a great fit for a specific show or media outlet. Include or “attach” the media kit you created. A good pitch is concise, direct, and persuasive. When writing the pitch, put yourself in the shoes of the editor and producer; craft a pitch that lets them see why their target audience would be interested in, and benefit from, your book.
- Remember that media outlets and personalities need you. Without authors and book publicists, media outlets and personalities would have a much more difficult job. Their shows depend on authors to provide material. Make your pitches confidently because you have good reason to be confident. Consider personalizing your pitch by researching which topics your media contact/outlet have recently covered, which topics they often cover, etc.
- Know the media outlet’s audience. Research various media outlets, editors, producers, and personalities. Find the opportunities that are a good fit for your book. Think about the kind of pitches, guests and story ideas they’re looking for. If you make their job easier, media contacts will respond to your outreach. Thus, you should clearly define the audiences your book could best reach, and match your media pitches with those audiences.
- Consider offering a giveaway. Many media outlets like to use guests who give free books to audience members during the interview. Giveaways prompt call-ins, texts, and audience participation. They are the perfect way to generate interest in your book.
- Tie your book’s subject matter to news and trends. Media outlets and personalities like to hear from authors whose expertise is related to breaking news and current trends. Make a list of hot-button topics to which your book relates in some way. Set up a “Google Alerts” related to those topics and to your expertise; once you are alerted to an event or trend related to your book, pitch or re-pitch your book to selected outlets.
- Make your book stand out. What makes your book stand out from the crowd? Figure out the best answer to that question. Then craft a paragraph or two explaining what makes your book unique and newsworthy.
- Be realistic. Every author wants to see their book rise to the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list. However, very few books make it to that level. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve good book sells and help a significant number of readers with what you have to offer. Good things will happen if you work hard to publicize your book, and are grateful for the results of your work.
- Be persistent. Book publicity is not for the faint of heart. It involves patience and persistence. Don’t be disheartened if half or more of your pitches are ignored or rejected. Every author experiences rejection. That’s the nature of the game. Instead of being disheartened, be grateful for the positive responses you’ve received, all the while continuing to pitch and re-pitch the book.
- Utilize social media. Publicize the book through your own social media accounts. Continue to offer quality content on those accounts, always linking the material to your book. Customize your content for each channel—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok, etc. If you are offering high quality content and interacting with other users, you will likely see an uptick not only in book sales but in the number of people who follow your accounts.
- Enjoy the moment. Like any aspect of life, remember to enjoy the ride. You’ll never again get to pitch this particular book at this particular moment. Yes, you want to increase book sales and reap financial gain. But you can enjoy the moment even if your book is not a bestseller; after all, your book is helping people!