Friday, March 26, 2010

Literary promotion campaigns are enhanced by generosity.

A literary publicist knows one thing for certain: generosity with promotional copies of books will enhance a book promotion campaign while, conversely, stinginess with review copies of books will sabotage a book publicity campaign.

Recently, a couple of authors with whom I work questioned whether they wanted to "comp" all of the books that the media requested. In one case, an author wanted to send only three books for an on-air book giveaway instead of the six books the host of the radio show had requested. The radio show host declined, and that literary publicity campaign fell by the wayside. In the second case, a radio show producer requested a copy of book, and the author questioned whether it was worth complying with the request. "I don't want to waste my resources," said the author. "Unless you can guarantee that the producer will interview me, I'm disinclined to send out a free copy of the book."

I understand, to some extent. Money is tight. It's frustrating to send out promotional copies of books when each copy you send doesn't necessarily result in a book promotion opportunity.

However, as a book publicist, I know that you can't conduct a successful literary promotion campaign unless you send out a copy of the book to all qualified media decision makers (and experienced literary publicists know who is, and who isn't, a qualified media decision maker) who request one. The expense of sending out review copies of books is minimal compared to the cost of holding onto the books and hoping the media will feature your book, and your targeted audience will buy your book, anyway.

It doesn't work that way. Book stinginess sabotages book sales. On the other hand, generosity with review copies of books leads to the literary publicity opportunities you want and need.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Want a quick, easy book promotion opportunity?

Want a quick, easy book promotion opportunity? If you're a healthcare or an insurance expert -- or, even better, if you're a healthcare insurance expert -- then you're in luck if you're currently promoting your book.

Congress's timing was perfect. The healthcare legislation passed at 10:00PM, Eastern Time, Sunday night. What will be the lead story on Monday? You bet. Healthcare.

For every author who is a healthcare expert, and who has something valuable to contribute to the national dialogue about the healthcare bill, this is the best book publicity opportunity that will ever be handed to you. By all means: contact the media and let them know that you have something to say -- immediately! Or, if you're lucky enough to be working with a book publicist, let the book promotion expert know that you're ready to go out to the media with your statement -- now!

Update your Facebook status to reflect your statement. Tweet your statement. Blog about your position. And pitch television and radio producers, and newspaper editors, and magazine editors, and web site editors. Post comments on major blogs that are related to healthcare. Let all your social networking groups hear your statement about the healthcare legislation. And hurry!

Spontaneity counts. If you're a healthcare expert, and you have a book out now -- and if you don't jump on this opportunity to garner media attention and the "eyeballs" of those in your social network -- then other authors will. Don't let your competitors get the jump on you. The book promotion opportunities are there for you now, so seek them out and enjoy them!

And for authors and publishers who are seeking to promote books, this is how it's done. Look for a news tie-in, match your expertise to it, and you're well on your way to a successful book promotion campaign.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book promotion is also what you do for other writers.

As a book publicist, I'm biased enough to believe that book promotion describes what we do for my clients: the television, radio, and print interview opportunities that come my clients' way, the book reviews we garner, the blog and web site mentions we facilitate, the articles we publish, the press releases we disseminate, and so forth. I rarely think of book promotion as something authors can do for other authors, but a wonderful blog entry by Lisa Romeo reminds me that if you want to receive book publicity opportunities then it's always a good idea to provide support for other authors (and publishers): buying their books, attending their book signings and other events, joining (and participating in) their social networks, and doing whatever else you can think of to bring visibility to others.

Lisa Romeo, who teaches writing classes and wears a whole lot of other publishing industry hats besides, works hard to promote the books of other authors because it's the right thing to do. She hopes that, when she publishes her own book, the authors she's helped will remember her example and provide her with their support. But, even if she never publishes book (although I'm strongly hoping she will!), Lisa will still feel good about supporting authors because that makes her a solid and respected citizen of the literary community.

The challenge is for everyone else in the book publishing community to live up to the example Lisa Romeo sets. Can we do it? I know that I'm inspired to do just that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Authors on shaky ground should fear book promotion.

As I read between the lines of a March 8, 2010 New York Times article, "Pondering Good Faith in Publishing," something occurred to me: nonfiction authors who haven't been 100% concerned about the veracity of their words should fear book promotion opportunities. An appearance on Oprah's show isn't the Holy Grail if your work would not hold up under careful scrutiny.

Yes, most authors I run into as a book publicist dream of scoring national book promotion opportunities, and many of them do. I haven't run into a situation where that's been a problem for my authors or for me. Then again, the authors I've represented have all written with honesty and integrity.

So I issue this warning not to my book promotion clients, past, present, or future, but rather, to nonfiction authors whose research has been sloppy or who have embellished their stories: steer clear of book promotion for your sake, for the media's sake, for the public's sake ... and for book publicists' sake.

In other words: be honest. Or be invisible.

Monday, March 01, 2010

How to minimize book promotion campaign frustrations.

Here's book promotion frustration #101. A client just emailed me because her publisher's in-house publicist scheduled a radio show interview for this afternoon, and the radio show producer didn't call. My client cancelled other appointments to free herself up for this book promotion opportunity. I emailed her the following:

Your experience isn't unusual. Radio producers (and hosts) usually mean well, but they can easily get sidetracked. I always try to get the radio's studio line when I'm booking an interview, and I assume that, -- 3 out of 5 times -- the author will have to use it. When the publicist you're working with gives you a studio line, hold onto it. Then, if you don't hear from the radio producer a minute or two before your scheduled appointment, call that studio line. Explain who you are, and you should be connected to the host or, at least, you'll be able to reschedule the interview (and you'll be in a favorable position to reschedule the interview on your terms!).