PART ONE: Navigating Book Promotion: Expert Tips from PR Pros
In the ever-evolving world of book publishing, bringing your literary masterpiece to the forefront and connecting with readers can be a daunting task. As an aspiring author with a heartfelt story to share, I understand the challenges of navigating through the vast landscape of book promotion.
While we may not all achieve overnight success or witness our books soaring to great heights immediately, there is no shortage of possibilities to explore and avenues to try. That’s why I sought the advice of seasoned Book Publicity Professionals who have honed their craft in promoting books to broader audiences.
In this series of articles, I’m excited to share their expert tips they’ve graciously imparted – practical and actionable guidance to improve our book’s visibility and give it the best chance to resonate with readers. You can hire one of these professionals to open more doors and take your books one step closer to success!
Lisa Niver and Pauline Frommer speaking at the Travel and Adventure Show
CAMPAIGN FOR OFFICE
The advice that helped adjust my mindset the most was from Justin Loeber, CEO of Mouth Digital + Public Relations who told me, “The most important tip for an author is to treat their PR campaign as if they are campaigning for political office. Do every kind of media, shake everyone’s hand, and send thank you notes to those who have booked you. The audience is over saturated with content and the only way to compete is to go wide.” I really thought again and again about what he said when making choices about how to spend my time for my upcoming book launch next month.
ASK FOR HELP
I met Amy Stanton, founder and CEO of Stanton and Company, when I wrote about her book for Ms. Magazine. Her top tip is to “think about all of your relationships and how they can help – this is the time to call in favors! Ask your friends with a social media following to post and make it easy for them with prepared social media assets, ask your friends that run companies to buy 50, 100, 500 books, go through your contact list and use this as an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues and let them cheer you on (and support you) with this endeavor. People are always happy to help and appreciate being asked.” I love this suggestion to invite people to buy copies for their business or as holiday gifts or for an event. Remember to lean into what makes you different, Stanton loves to dance and had a launch event at her favorite studio which was one of my favorite book parties ever!
START YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Audra Leslie Boltion Ortiz of The BGPR advises new authors to build a dedicated social media profile for their project on all the relevant channels from Threads to TikTok at least a year in advance. She recommends that you “post at least 3x a week and engage, engage, engage. Embrace being on social media and become an active part of the community. Think of yourself as a participant in a town hall meeting. Follow others, comment on their accounts. Encourage others to follow you. It takes time to build a following and multiple accounts can be a lot to manage, but laying the ground work is important. These are the places where you can explore angles that resonate with your audience, find your voice, and become a source of information for media outlets. Unless your project is about your social life, your account should be about your book and angles germane to the topic versus your personal account which might focus on dinner with your family or a feature a great selfie you took while on vacation.” I agree it is never too early to build your platform and I actually took different advice which was to use my name @LisaNiver for all my social media. I had grown my platform under my website, We Said Go Travel, and moved all my social to my author name. Whichever way you go, START BUILDING! I can see that social media can make it work as your name or your book name or your company name depending on your goals. When you hire a professional, Audra told me that they “work on campaigns from a holistic point of view–the success of a project is marked by a savvy plan and the ability to explore every avenue. We don’t pitch a contact once. I’m not waiting for it to come to me–every media hit matters. It’s about building a profile, building a brand.”
PREPARATION STARTS NOW
I went to the University of Pennsylvania and love to quote our founder, Benjamin Franklin, who said: “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail”.
Jane Tabachnick does it all including book coaching, indie publishing and pr she told me that authors should be prepared! What does that mean? Jane says, “Be ready for your close up. Prepare your media assets including your bio in both short and long form, a media one sheet press kit, a professional head shot, high-resolution book cover graphic, a book synopsis, interview topics, and your best contact information and make it so these are easily found on your website – typically on the media or press page, or author website.” This advice resonates with me as a journalist who has interviewed many authors for my podcast. I always wonder why is it so hard to find the book cover photo and the author photo so when I made my book page on my website, I have all of these things in one section as well as on my press page.
START A NEWSLETTER
Educate yourself about books and PR in the amazing sub stack called Publishing Confidential by Kathleen Schmidt. She told me one thing authors can do is start a newsletter. “Audience acquisition is valuable because you are landing in people’s inboxes. Social media algorithms are chaotic right now, so even if you have 25K followers or more, it doesn’t mean all those people, even a fraction of them, are seeing your posts. What do I mean by that? I mean that audiences are fragmented with so many social media platforms, and the attention economy is more competitive than ever. Writing a compelling newsletter and capturing emails means you can speak directly to the audience for your book.” I host my newsletter on Aweber, some people use mailchimp or other providers. Wherever you host it, make sure to share it on your social media.
WHAT MORE CAN YOU DO to PROMOTE your book? Look for more articles in this series coming up soon! Thank you to all the Book PR professionals who offered their advice. You can message them and hire them and pre-order my book too! It is a #1 HOT NEW RELEASE ON AMAZON for both paperback and digital!