Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why we don't hear more about eBook promotion.

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist

Why don't we hear more about eBook promotion? According to Futurebook, a digital blog from The Bookseller
, the media still are reluctant to take eBooks seriously. And this book publicist, too, has noticed that few authors make the round of broadcast media shows as part of their book publicity campaigns. Traditional book review outlets, too, seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude about eBooks. It's as if traditional book reviewers are taking a wait-and-see attitude. If eBooks really catch, on then traditional book reviewers might start to take them seriously.
Of course, the number of readers who have successfully resisted eBooks is diminishes all the time, and those of us who have gone over to the Dark Side (and switched our allegiance from "real" books to eBooks) are rarely tempted to look back. So what's a book publicist, or an eBook author, to do when they want to find eBook promotion opportunities and they can't find them in the usual places that were so friendly to traditional authors who needed media visibility for their traditional books?

Fortunately, eBooks have spawned their own eBook promotion opportunities. One of the book publicity tricks I've developed is to pitch the eBook (if it's available along with a traditional book) to the venues for eBook promotion that do not consider traditional books. A book publicist, and an eBook author, has to promote an eBook differently from the way he or she would promote a traditional a great extent. But some things never change. Now that eBooks are so popular, there are ways to promote eBooks that are emerging all the time. Find a book publicist who can help you take leverage those eBook promotion opportunities so you won't be left behind...and you won't be left wondering how, on Earth, you can get the traditional book publicity venues to take your eBook seriously!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Publicity for...What Kind of Books?

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications

Since the book publishing world is changing all the time, I rarely comment on the technological revolution that's taking place all around us. It's enough to say that indie books (or self-published books, or whatever you'd prefer to call books that are not traditionally published and distributed) have lost their stigma, and all of the book publicity opportunities that are available to authors of traditionally published books are now on the table for indie authors, too.

But I did want to comment on a technological marvel called Blurb. Blurb will make it easy for any author, anywhere, to create and publish picture books using its proprietary (free) software or a plug-in to your existing Adobe In-Design software. Once your book is published, you can choose to distribute it via Amazon, Samsung, and other online book selling and book sharing platforms.

So, in the future, will book publicists be promoting travelogues that authors created, and then published, in real time as they travel around the globe? And will author publicists be promoting the cookbook that grandmothers create as they're preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the family?

This book publicist can't see a downside of Blurb, and she can't see any limitations on what the future holds for the publishing industry, either. Wow! What kind of books can you imagine publishing? The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Challenges of Author Interviews

By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications

The challenges of author radio interviews are legion (and legendary), but so are their benefits for book publicity campaigns...and that's why we put up with them. Sometimes, it seems that scheduling the radio interview requires even less effort than making them happen.

Radio producers (this book publicist will go on record as saying) are usually bright, well-meaning professionals. But they're overloaded with work responsibilities, and sometimes they multi-task...and important things slip through the cracks.

Okay. I'm making excuses for them. Here's the truth. Sometimes, radio producers book a radio interview to take place by telephone, and they forget to write it on the calendar. Thus, when the time comes for the author to receive that phone call from the radio show, it doesn't happen. Or, perhaps, the author radio interview is preempted by a news event...but the radio producer fails to let the book publicist know. Or perhaps the radio producer typed the author's phone number incorrectly, or failed to save the author's phone number (but is too embarrassed to let the book publicist know). Or, sometimes, there's just no reason at all why the call doesn't come through to the author who's waiting for the radio show to call. It's just that, for one reason or another, it doesn't come through.

So many authors -- even book publicity veterans -- feel that, if the scheduled radio interview doesn't take place, it's an act of the gods, and they drop the whole thing. Sometimes, they don't even let their book publicist know! They just sigh and get on with their day.

But if the radio interview was worth scheduling, then it's worth pursuing. So here's what to do before the radio show mishap occurs: get the radio show's studio line to use as your backup line. Do this when you're booking the radio show. The producer will ask for your contact number; you ask for the studio's line and let the producer know you'll use that as your backup line in the event that wires get crossed, and the call doesn't come through.

The radio producer will appreciate your professionalism, your book publicist will be grateful you saved the day...and you'll be grateful to have salvaged a book publicity opportunity that you otherwise could have let slip away!

Friday, April 18, 2014

eBook Publishing to Spread the Word

Ebook publishing can be a quick and effective way to disseminate your message. 

This morning, a friend let me know that her nonprofit organization had raised $30,000 to provide ten K9 vests to police departments in one year. What a wonderful accomplishment! In congratulating her, I asked my friend whether she would consider writing an eBook about the importance of providing police departments with K9 vests. It would be an honor for me to then conduct an eBook promotion campaign for her nonprofit as long as she's willing to approve media materials and act as a spokesperson for the organization. It's easy enough to learn about eBook publishing, I promised her, and I'd handle her eBook's editing, and the conversion of her Word or PDF file to Kindle's mobi format (and to Barnes and Noble's Nook format, too, if she were interested in even wider eBook distribution). 

I made the offer automatically because I spontaneously realized that eBook publishing isn't only for traditional authors anymore. Ebook publishing is now available to everyone who has something to say, and needs a platform to delivery that message. 

If my friend wants to become an author, I can make it easy to achieve that goal. I'm already offering coaching for eBook Publishing and eBook promotion services to authors. Why not encourage a friend to tap into my expertise to help outfit as many service dogs with K9 vests as possible? The only thing this book publicist cares more about than family, cooking, friends, and our four-legged companions. I hope we can use eBook publishing to help as many of them as possible!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Etiquette of Author Radio Interviews

Congratulations! You've done your first radio interview (or you've completed your first flurry of radio interviews), and you're hoping to leverage that accomplishment and build long-term, mutually productive relationships with the radio producers and radio hosts who were gracious enough to invite you to be on the air with them. It's time to learn, and practice, the art of follow up radio interview etiquette. Here's what to keep in mind after your author radio interview:

  • What you want. Of course, you want a copy of your radio interview. Take it from a book publicist who has been in a lot of radio studios over the years: you don't want to ask for a copy of the interview. The radio interview may have been a peak and important experience for you. For the radio show, you were just one of hundreds of authors and other experts who have appeared on-air. Know your place in the radio food chain. Radio stations are typically understaffed. The producer who booked the interview with you, and the host who interviewed you, doesn't have time to dub copies of the radio interview. They don't have flunkies who can do it for them. Don't ask, and don't ask your book publicist to ask for you. Be clear about this point: your book publicist isn't "too shy" to speak up and ask for what you want, and she's not giving you the brush-off if she refuses. It's just that your book publicist is wise enough to know that the answer will be (or should be) no, and that asking for a copy of your radio interview would mark the book publicist as a rookie or, worse, as a disrespectful pain in the neck -- and not the type of book publicist the producer or host would want to work with again in the future. If your book publicist burns a bridge with a radio station, this doesn't help you (and it surely doesn't help your book publicist, either). Your instinct is correct, however. It is a good idea to hear what you sounded like on the air so that, going forward, you can build on what you did best and make adjustments to your weak points. Listening to your radio interview will help you to improve your performance next time. Fortunately, most radio stations do archive some of their radio shows on their web site. Google the show a couple of days after your interview airs, and you might be lucky enough to find your segment online. Otherwise, you can ask your book publicist to ask the producer when, and where, a link to your segment might be available. That's a way to get what you want without incurring any of the complications of what you definitely don't want: anything that might hinder your relationships with radio producers and hosts!

  • Give thanks. It was nice of you to give up your time, and expend your energy, to be a guest on a radio show (or radio newscast). You didn't get paid for it, and you have a right to expect gratitude for what you did. But the reality is that you're probably not going to get the thanks you deserve. Just look at it from the radio show's perspective. You got a chance to plug your book, build your brand, and raise the public's awareness of who you are. Radio producers and hosts could have given this opportunity to any of your competitors, but they gave it to you, this time. And you want them to choose to give you an opportunity another time, too. So express your gratitude. Your book publicist will have the email addresses of the radio producer and the radio host (and anyone else who was involved in booking the interview). Ask your book publicist for that contact information, and then use it to write sincere thank-you notes to the media people who were kind enough to invite you to be their on-air guest. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way in building relationships with the media. Also, mention your availability to do additional interviews with the host in the future (if you can make yourself available on short notice, mention that, too -- it's a great selling point for many radio shows). Specify some topics that you can address on the air. You'll get bonus points if you can tie your expertise into upcoming holidays or events that the broadcast or newscast will likely cover. Make your ideas easy to read by formatting them as a bulleted list. The radio producer and host will be best able to digest your pitch if your gratitude begins and ends the email -- and if your email is short and to the point. Then put aside your expectations. Don't be dismayed if you don't get a response to your email. Understand that time is short for radio folks just as it's precious for you, and email silence doesn't mean your email when unnoticed or unappreciated. And don't let the lack of good manners on the part of some busy radio people dissuade you from thanking the next radio producer and radio host who invite you to join them on the air.

  • Follow through. If you promised to stay in touch with the radio producers and radio hosts when you wrote them thank-you emails (better still, if they asked you to stay in touch with them while you were on the air or in response to your follow up email to them), then follow through by sending them occasional emails. You might let them know about future projects, or point out your perspective on a breaking news story, or offer a connection between current events and your expertise. Always close with a reminder that you're available for radio interviews and that you'd like to be considered as a guest if the opportunity arises.

  • With a small investment of effort, you can turn a one-shot radio interview opportunity into an ongoing dialogue with radio producers who are always willing to listen to your ideas. Be respectful, show your thanks, and making a continual effort to build and then maintain your relationships with radio decision makers ... and you can find a single author radio interview turning into a career-long, mutually rewarding relationship.

    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).