When it comes to first-time, do-it-yourself publicity for your book, jumping into the unknown can seem a lot easier said than done. You may find, though, that simply having a great respect and adoration for the book(s) you seek to publicize will enable you to sprout the wings that you need to soar, right off the steep cliff walls of doubt.
Eleanor D. Van Natta founded her own book
publicity service. She is a freelance writer, and
brings to each client and each job over 15
years of sales and marketing experience.
See her website here.
LEAPS OF FAITH
Last fall, an author friend of mine offered me a wonderful opportunity to be her publicist. She was taking a giant leap of faith since I had no publicity experience, no media contacts, and not one clue how to begin. I was just recovering from a string of rejected query letters and didn’t even have a published book of my own. But who says you need to publish your book before learning about the publicity end of things?
What I did have, and I suppose what she saw in me, was an extensive sales background, a love of books, and a powerful drive to promote others. When I accepted her offer and leaped into the great unknown myself, I found that I had wings as well! In two weeks I had this author booked on a show that was her #1 goal as well as the #1 show in her niche. I didn’t have as much at stake or as much invested in her books as she did personally; they were her life’s work. However, I felt so privileged by her faith in me that from the very beginning I treated her books like adopted children of mine, mothering them, nurturing them, and gently raising them up and into the world. I would leave no child behind.
BOOK PUBLICITY TIPS FOR AUTHORS
Getting your book onto a show is like getting that child of yours into the right college and beyond. I have learned a few things over the last several months about sending your babes out into the world:
- Target, target, target your shows. Your book must be a good fit to even be considered by the host or the producer.
- Hook them quickly. The most important part of your pitch most likely will be your e-mail’s subject line—spend some time and thought on these very few words (“the hook”) that will determine whether the rest of your e-mail/pitch is even read.
- Follow up. If you don’t, you may never know if no reply means “no” or simply “didn’t read the e-mail.”
- Reveal details about yourself. Don't forget to put somewhere in the pitch where you are located, what time zone you are in, and your availability for interviews (e.g., need advance notice, same-day interviews possible, etc.).
- Read, read, read what other people have written about publicity—specifically book publicity, on blogs and in books; you will be amazed at how many great tips and examples are out there—even example pitch letters—mostly free via your local library or the web.
- Believe in yourself! The media needs information and guests; why not you?
- Start early. its never too early to start learning about publicity and formulating a plan for your book.
DON'T FORGET YOUR PARACHUTE
When you hand over your books—your life’s work, your soul’s dialogue with the world—to a radio or television show, you must believe in them at your very core. I have found that you not only need to love your books as your own children, as beings birthed from your heart and soul, but you need to love yourself even more than your books. Believe in yourself and know that you are valuable, that your books—and what you have to say—are worthy of the publicity. That is your parachute as you leap off the cliffs. No matter how much you read “don’t take it personally,” you will more than likely take it personally when you are “rejected.” If you have sprouted those wings and have a strong belief in yourself and in your book(s), then you will learn to look at those “no’s” as just bringing you closer to the next big “yes.” And the risk you took will all be worth it in the end.
If you need some book
marketing tips, check out
Author 101: Bestselling Book Publicity