Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Promotion on Twitter

Although traditional book publicists still think of book reviews as mainly appearing in newspapers, magazines, and journals, there are also online opportunities to get book reviews. I like to approach book review bloggers whether or not I'm setting up a blog tour for authors and publishers. Bloggers are the obvious, most reachable book reviewers. However, there is also another book review venue to consider: Twitter.

David Duhr, a self-described "Austin dude," wrote a wonderful column for Publishing Perspectives about the etiquette of Twitter book reviews (from both perspectives: that of the author, and that of the reviewer). Take a peek at David Duhr's brief bio so you can see where his advice is coming from.

Duhr's column might encourage you to start, or nurture, your relationships with Twitter book reviewers as part of your book promotion campaign. If you tweet -- read David Duhr's column, and start integrating Twitter into your book promotion campaign today!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A major book promotion disappointment.

You might be a veteran media guest. You might have successfully done hundreds of radio, TV, print, and online media interviews as part of your book promotion campaigns. You might have wonderful media relationships, and you might have earned those friendships the honest way: through years of offering the media what it needs, of making yourself available when you're called upon to do so, and of coming through for the media with professionalism and charisma every time you've had the chance.

In other words, you can have a long and impressive history of doing everything right. And still, book promotion disappointments can happen. They can happen to anyone, at any time.

They can even happen to this book publicist and to an author who simply deserved better.

I know that no one in the media is obligated to give my authors airtime, bandwidth, or editorial space. I'm lucky to have the media's ear and to be in a position where I can ask them to listen to my story suggestions. I guard my media relationships very jealously, and if an interview doesn't always go according to plan ... well, I take responsibility for that. Was a reporter uninformed when she spoke with my author? I make a mental note to get more background material to the reporter the next time she does an interview with one of my clients. Was a radio or TV show host combative? I make a note to warn my clients about the potential to be ambushed by this host, and I always give authors the option of taking known-to-be combative interviewers off my list of media targets as we proceed with book promotion campaigns.

So I'm disinclined to ever blame my media contacts when something goes wrong. If an interview doesn't go the way that I want it to, I see it as a learning experience, and I use the experience to be better prepared the next time around. It's unusual for me to say "never again" about working with anyone in the media.

But I make exceptions to that rule, and I was motivated to rethink my relationship with a radio talk show host by a specific unfortunate event.

Here's what happened. One of my favorite clients -- in fact, one of my favorite people -- committed to staying up very late last night (or very early this morning, depending on how you look at it) and to forfeiting a good night's sleep to accommodate the host of an overnight radio talk show host's interview request. This author has done hundreds of interviews, and she is a consummate professional. She appreciates all interview opportunities, and she was glad to have another one.

The author was to call into the studio line, and her book publicist was awake -- I'd purposely set my alarm for this -- only to hear that the interview did not take place. The author emailed me to let me know that the host had cancelled the interview opportunity because he was onto a topic that was working for him, and he had spontaneously decided not to switch gears (and, potentially, sacrifice all of the enthusiastic calls he was generating). He wanted to reschedule the interview, at some point.

If he does want to reschedule, my client and I are both on notice that, as likely as not, he'll flake out again. Therefore, my best advice to this client is to cut her losses and never deal with this inconsiderate radio show host again. And this may very well be one radio talk show host who is on my short list of media people to avoid dealing with on the grounds that he is just too undependable to take chances with (unless I'm working with an author who is a night owl and doesn't mind taking a chance on being disappointed by a talk show host).

This was a good reminder for me, though. Even reputable shows (or other media outlets) can cancel interviews, with or without a good reason, at the last minute -- and, this, after an author has put aside time and made scheduling changes to take advantage of a book promotion opportunity. Cancellations don't happen often, but they can, and they do, despite meticulous planning and the best of intentions.

Don't internalize book promotion disappointments, when they happen. Just do what I have decided to do: note the person, log the event, learn from the incident, and move on.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Book promotion for self-published books, too

You've tried -- for months, or for years -- to convince a literary agent to persuade a traditional publisher to lend its imprint, and its credibility, to your book because you're under the impression that book promotion opportunities exist for traditionally published books that aren't available for self-published titles. 


Here's the good news. For the most part, the stigma that used to be associated with self-published books is gone. While traditionally published books have lost none of their cache, even with all of the changes in the published world, new opportunities have arisen for those whose books haven't been picked up by traditional publishers. While the traditional publishing world was doing its thing (the same old, same old thing, for the most part), self-published books (and that includes self-published ebooks, by the way) have established their own strong track records and earned their own top-notch book promotion opportunities.

To reinforce my point, here's an interesting link from -- ironically enough -- a venue that's all about traditional publishing (but that, in recent years, has begun to take self-published authors seriously, too).

This Publishers Weekly article shares the results of a recent Writer's Digest survey that compares writers' (those who have worked with traditional publishers to publish books and have also self-published their own books) satisfaction with traditional traditional publishing compared to self-publishing. Self-publishing came out ahead, and I believe it's because self-published authors gain so much (specifically, monetary rewards and control over every aspect of their work) and sacrifice so little by way of media recognition, credibility, and distribution/sales potential. 

In short, it's as easy to find book promotion opportunities for self-published books as it is to find book promotion opportunities for traditionally published books once you look beyond book reviews (some of which are still unavailable for self-published authors since some traditional book review outlets are still holding onto the last vestiges of discrimination against self-published books).The book promotion opportunities for all books, and ebooks, have grown in number over the years as new venues have emerged. All books, and ebooks, regardless of the way they are published, have access to these book promotion opportunities.

Now it's just up to you, the author, to find those book promotion opportunities, and to see how your book can take advantage of them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A book promotion "don't do"

There are some things you shouldn't do for book promotion. Here's a question that just came to me, via email, from a "prospective book publicity client":

Hello Dear,
I am an author who is currently working on a book and I wonder if you offer a service where you buy 500 -100 copies of a book to increase the sales rank of an author?

Kind Regards
XXXXXX [I have masked the name of the author to protect his/her identity)

Because of the odd language, I suspected that one of two things is true about the sender of the email. Either the email was written by someone for whom English isn't a first language, or the author isn't playing with a full set of Legos. Or, perhaps, both of those things are true.

Anyway, here is the reply I fired off to the author:

In a word, no. I don't engage in practices I consider unethical.

Stacey Miller
S. J. Miller Communications

*sighing* I know we all want to sell books, and our ranking in online bookstores does matter. However, there's a way to promote books, and then there are book promotion ploys to avoid. Hiring a book promotion specialist to purchase books from a bookstore (a traditional bookstore or an online bookstore) is, plain and simply, a dishonest practice, and this book publicist would never even consider it.

Hopefully, no book publicist would.