Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Buying Book Promotion

Q. I am a self-published novelist. How can I buy the media's attention to increase book sales?

A. You can buy advertising in the various media, and that might help book sales if your self-published novel has a very targeted readership. You can also buy a small number of book reviews. The book reviews you pay for can help publishers in limited ways (for example, the small press buyer for one of the national bookstore chains insists on seeing book reviews), but they're not going to convince other media decisionmakers that they have to cover your book. Your book has to do that on its own.

Can you pay a national television or radio show host to interview you? No. Can you bribe a reviewer to review your book, or an editor to assign your book to a beat editor? Sorry.

If there's a news story behind your novel, then let the media know about it, and you'll get book promotion opportunities the old-fashioned way: by earning them. Pitch, persuade, and work, and you'll see book promotion opportunities come your way -- if your book is newsworthy. But, no, you can't "buy" book promotion opportunities. No book publicist can buy media placements, nor are book promotion specialists connected enough to cooerce major media outlets to provide media coverage of their clients' work. Books have to stand on their own and, unfortunately, there's no way to buy a guarantee of book promotion opportunities...at any price.