Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Promotion by Doodle

Can you doodle your way to a successful book promotion campaign? A free doodle app and web site called lets you launch a free (do you enjoy the concept of "free" book promotion as much as this book publicist does?) contest for readers and fans of your book. You can read more about how this doodling for book promotion idea works at GalleyCat. In short, though, you ask readers to doodle sketches related to your novel or nonfiction book for a chance to win prizes. The success of a book promotion campaign relies heavily on social networking to get readers excited about participating in the contest -- thus, creating buzz for your book.

And speaking of book promotion, there's good news for those of us who live in Greater Boston. Parts of Massachusetts (hopefully, that will include my part of Massachusetts) can expect to see thundershowers this afternoon and, with that, a cold front will approach. That means the three-day heatwave will come to an end. For those authors, publishers, and book publicists who are based in New England and have pitched a heatwave-related story to the media, does that mean your story idea is dead in the water. On the contrary...Massachusetts (and New England) residents have long known that, once summertime begins, it's only a question of time until the next heatwave settles in. That means there will be ample opportunities to get media coverage if you can relate your book, and your expertise, to the summertime weather. So congratulations, Boston, on the approach of cooler weather. But do not fear. Your chance to pitch summertime stories to the media continues....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Boston and Book Promotion

Boston is hot today. It's 73 degrees in Boston as I write this, and the weather forecasters say that the temperature could reach 100 degrees in Boston (and in other parts of Massachusetts).

So what's a book publicist (or an author or a book publisher) to do? Pitch a heat-related story to the Boston media outlets, of course!

Think about whether your expertise can inform those who are facing the beginning of Boston's summer season in terms of healthcare, education, sports, real estate, workplace, parenting, entertainment, and the like -- and pitch your story to the Boston media outlets. That can get you coverage, particularly if you're a Boston-based author or publisher.

If you're book promotion campaign is focused on other parts of the country, then note that there's a heatwave in many major metro areas ... and plan your book publicity efforts accordingly. This book publicist loves heat, and she loves summertime story ideas, and she's ready to dive in -- pun intended!

Stacey J. Miller is a book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her at (connecting with her on Facebook or Twitter is strictly optional)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Local Book Promotion Options -- Part 2

In Local Book Promotion Options -- Part 1, I explained why authors and publishers who are promoting their books on a national level should include local media outlets as part of their book publicity campaign. For example, a Newton, Massachusetts-based author who reaches out to national TV shows and is lucky enough to get an invitation to appear on, say, "Good Morning America," should still pitch local media outlets (the "Newton Tab," which is a community newspaper with a Newton, Massachusetts readership, for example), local radio stations (in this case, WNTN which is based in Newton), and the community newspapers and radio stations in surrounding cities and towns (such as, in this example, Arlington, Cambridge, Concord, Lexington, Weston, and others).

But you can take that a step further. Besides pitching media outlets that are local to where you live as part of your book promotion efforts, you can also pitch the community newspapers, and radio and television stations, in any other cities and towns where you have (or have had) strong ties: where you were born and raised, where you went to school, where you work, where your family lives, and so forth. So if you're currently living in Newton, Massachusetts but you were born in Seattle, you went to school in Los Angeles, your first job was in Houston, and your parents are living in Miami ... you have four new sets of local media outlets, beyond the Newton, Massachusetts media outlets, to contact and incorporate into your book promotion plans.

To that list, you can add any cities or towns you happen to be visiting. So if business meetings take you from the Boston, Massachusetts area to four other cities on the Eastern Seaboard, factor the local media outlets in the "tour cities" into your book promotion plans, too. Emphasize the local news hook -- when you'll be in town, what you'll be doing when you're there, and how your expertise can tie into the events that are happening there or the controversies that are unfolding or the politics of the area.

After a "Good Morning America" appearance, it may seem lackluster to find yourself appearing on local radio shows or being interviewed by weekly newspaper reporters. But every interview you do adds to your portfolio and reaches a new audience, so no media outlet is "too small" or "too insignificant" to be a worthwhile component of your book promotion campaign.

And, after all, local media outlets are seeking local media news hooks and local story angles which you know you can provide. So why not give the media what it needs? It will benefit your book publicity efforts and become part of your sustained book promotion campaign.

Stacey J. Miller is an online book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her at (connecting with her on Facebook or Twitter is strictly optional).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Local Book Promotion Options -- Part 1

You're looking for book publicity opportunities, with or without the help of a book publicist. What do you do?

Do you stick with national media outlets, or do you also pitch your book and your messages to local media outlets?

So many media outlets have a national audience these days. Radio shows that are streamed online can be heard by anyone in the country, and articles can be read by anyone in the world even when the article is originally printed in a local newspaper or magazine as long as that media outlet has a web presence ... and nearly every newspaper and magazine does have an online counterpart so their readership expands far beyond the areas you'd expect.

That said, media decision makers -- particularly, community newspaper editors -- still search for local stories. So while you're seeking national media attention, don't overlook the obvious: reaching out to weekly newspapers in your area in addition to pitching the daily (or larger) newspapers that cover your media market. You haven't covered all the author promotion possibilities until you've reached out to the local media in your area and let them know you are available for interviews and your book is available for review.

For example, let's say you're an author who's based in Newton, Massachusetts. Of course, you'll contact the editors at the daily newspapers in Boston, Massachusetts and the surrounding areas. You'll contact editors at the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald and let them know about your story idea. You'll probably also reach out to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (a large daily newspaper in Central Massachusetts), the Patriot Ledger (a top daily newspaper in Southern Massachusetts) and the Boston Phoenix (a weekly Boston-based entertainment and arts newspaper) as a matter of course.

But, if you're a Newton, Massachusetts-based author, don't bypass other print book promotion opportunities in the Boston area -- specifically, in Newton, Massachusetts -- just because they're smaller media outlets. For example, be sure to put The Newton Tab's and Newton Living Magazine editors on your contact list.

Beyond local print media, you'll also want to contact the New England Cable News TV network which is based in Newton, Massachusetts, WNTN-AM (which, again, is based in Newton, Massachusetts), and more along with the Boston radio stations (among them, WBZ-AM and WRKO-AM which have a national listening audience although they still are local radio stations) and the Boston network affiliate TV statons including WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV, WCBS-TV, WFXT-TV (Boston's Fox TV station), WSBK-TV and WLVI-TV (Boston's two independent TV stations), and others.

You can also contact small community newspapers associated with other nearby cities in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Brighton, Brookline, Arlington, Concord, Lexington, Quincy, Massachusetts ... well, you get the idea. If there's a city near where you live, that city has its own local newspapers, and it probably has its own radio station. And maybe it also has its own local cable television station, too.

So, when you're seeking national book promotion opportunities, think local. You'll have an obvious news hook, and you can leverage the fact that you know what's going on where you live and can address happenings (in this case, for example, in Newton, Massachusetts). Because you're a local author (local to somewhere in the country, if not Newton, Massachusetts), you'll most likely know the local media outlets off the top of your head and be able to reach out to them directly with appropriate story pitches -- or, at least, you'll be able to make sure your book publicist has reached out to all of the local media outlets. Never assume your local book publicist has all the media bases covered. Just be sure you have a list of all of the media outlets to which you can pitch a local media story, and don't leave out a single one. Each book promotion opportunity you garner, big or small, is another step on your path to maximum visibility for your book and your messages.

Stacey J. Miller is a book promotion specialist and founder of Greater Boston, Massachusetts-based S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Promotion Is a Crummy Investment, But It’s an Excellent Opportunity

A book promotion campaign represents a dubious expenditure if your sole goal is to sell a sufficient number of books to pay for the book promotion campaign and then to move enough additional books to turn a profit. Although there is a relationship between book promotion and book sales, that connection is highly unpredictable. You can't say with any degree of certainty, "If I invest X in my book promotion campaign, I'll see a boost of Y in book sales." The only dependable expression of the link between book publicity and book sales, unfortunately, is a negative one: if you don't promote your book, then you'll probably sell no books because nobody will know about it.

A book promotion campaign may help you sell books if you can get yourself in front of the right potential book buyers, in the right ways, and at the right times. Then your messages must be relevant and compelling. The solutions you offer must be credible, or you have to be really entertaining (or you have to know somebody who is). Potential readers have to learn (and remember) your name and your book's title, and your book must be readily, and continually, available where your intended readers can find and buy it. Your book also has to be worth its price, and it has to inspire buyers to tell other potential readers about it. All of that can happen. In other words, a book promotion might pay off in increased book sales, or at least in one or more short-term book sales spikes. But, in order for that to happen, a lot of variables have to fall into place. You have to be lucky, and the stars have to line up for you and, even then, you won't be able to replicate the experience every time you publish a new book. Few authors catch lightning in a bottle twice because there's nothing scientific about the relationship between a book publicity campaign and an increase in the number of books that you sell.

That said, book promotion campaigns are excellent opportunities for authors. No, you can't justify launching a book promotion campaign in exchange for a predictable number of book sales unless you're the type of person who bought Google shares during its initial public offering and then enjoyed a good night's sleep. But, if you're like most authors, you won't count on monetizing your publicity campaign solely on the basis of increased book sales. Your plans will also include embracing the benefits that book promotion campaigns always provide and that make book publicity campaigns reliably worth the time, effort, and money you put into it (yes, even shoestring book promotion campaigns require an investment of cash). But here's the good news. Every time you embark upon a book publicity campaign, you'll give yourself an opportunity to:

1. Disseminate your key messages and share your viewpoint. Your book gives journalists and hosts a reason to interview you. Once you're on the air, in print, or online, you can tell people what you want them to know, share your perspective with them, make your case, and persuade listeners, viewers, and readers to follow a specific course of action. A dentist who writes a book about the importance dental hygiene, for example, might target people who haven't had a checkup in years... and figure out how to finally get bring them into a dentist's office before a dental crisis erupts that will really turn dental care into a nightmare. You'll have your say, and people will hear you... and that's probably one of the main reasons why you wrote your book, anyway.

2. Establish yourself as an authority and gain a competitive advantage. Which furniture mover would you be more inclined to hire: the one whose media spokesperson is always providing advice for packing fragile items, transporting heirlooms across long distances, familiarizing yourself with a new neighborhood, and helping your kids adapt to a new school, or the one whose company name you've randomly picked up from the Boston Globe's classified ads? Your expertise is something you can translate into new business opportunities, increased fees for current offerings, and the like.

3. Enhance your online presence. As you establish your portfolio of newspaper and online clippings, and accumulate radio, TV, and web interviews, you'll find your search engine visibility improving, and organizations, clients, customers, and the media will be better able to connect with you. Online articles that link back to your website attract readers, and they help your overall search engine optimization efforts on an ongoing basis, too. You can leverage your increased online presence to create new business relationships and reach out to people who, otherwise, wouldn't have any way of finding you.

4. Build your brand. By sharing your expertise and point of view, you're creating a platform from which you can more easily and successfully launch additional products and services... or simply enlarge your potential client and customer base for the services and products you already provide (or hope to offer). Every interview provides you with the possibility of metaphorically handing out hundreds, if not thousands, of business cards all at once to highly targeted audiences.

So, although you can't count on a book promotion campaign to pay for itself through increased book sales, you can depend on the enhanced opportunities that book publicity campaigns provide. Launching a book promotion campaign is a sound investment... or, at least, it is a wonderful opportunity for authors who can see beyond a hoped-for spike in book sales to achieve far more lucrative, and sustainable, gains.


Stacey J. Miller is an online book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her at (connecting with her on Facebook or Twitter is strictly optional).