Power Book Publicity Tips for February 2009

Here is our latest Power Publicity Tips newsletter. In this issue:

  • Article: Back Cover Copy and Book Publicity: The Neglected Detail
  • February’s Top Five Publicity Tips
  • Our Favorite Blogs

On a company note, Smith Publicity’s clients enjoyed outstanding media coverage in January including Time, Newsweek, New York Times (twice—one a front page feature story!), CNBC, Fox Business, Oprah radio, Martha Stewart radio, CBS Sunday Morning, USA Today and Wall Street Journal.

Dan Smith and I will be exhibiting at the London Book Fair April 20-22, Stand R405 ( and at Book Expo America in NYC, May 29-May 31, Booth 2976 ( We’d love for you to stop by and update us on your projects or contact us to set up an appointment for a more in-depth discussion.

As always, we invite you to forward this newsletter to anyone interested in book publicity. Please drop me a line for feedback and article suggestions for future Power Publicity Tips.

Warm Regards,

Sandy Diaz
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Smith Publicity, Inc.
856.489.8654 ext 301

Mailing Address: 2 Split Rock Drive, Suite 12 • Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
230 Park Avenue, 10th Floor • New York, NY 10169
212 Piccadilly • London • W1J 9HG •Tel. 020 7917 9812

Smith Publicity, Inc.
Power Publicity Tips Newsletter
February 2009

Back Cover Copy and Book Publicity:
The Neglected Detail
by Sandy Diaz

Nothing detracts more from a book’s appeal than a bad back cover.Whether your reader is a potential buyer, media professional or someone who wants to hire you for your expertise, your book’s back cover has to communicate to your target audience: buy me!

Authors often spend months or even years writing their book, yet give little time to what is on the back cover. Summarizing your book into 200 to 300 words can be a daunting task. Here are some tips for improving this vital area of your book.

30 Second Elevator Pitch: If you only have 30 seconds to tell potential readers about you and your book, what would it include? Your goal is to give readers enough information to intrigue them into buying it. What may help is to ask a someone who has read your book to give you his or her 30 second pitch about your book.

Novel: Detailing every character and plot twist is not necessary. Read the back cover copy by your favorite authors in your genre to see examples of how to entice readers without giving away the entire plot. Your goal is to make an emotional connection with the reader so they will want to be transported into your world.

Non-fiction: Tell the readers what they will learn, what problems your book will solve, and why your book is different. The goal of a non-fiction book may be to inform, inspire, educate or entertain. Make sure the reader understands what is inside your book—and why you are qualified to write it. Bullet points work well with non-fiction books.

Author Bio: Less is more. Only include relevant information. For non-fiction, make your credentials clear by listing education, work experience, professional memberships, past books and awards. For fiction writers, consider including where or how you grew up, professional experience, writing awards or training, acclaims, past books or information explaining how you came to write your book.

Website: Include your website so people (especially the media!) can find out more about you and contact you!

Author Photo: If you chose include one, use a professional, uncluttered, current headshot. Keep your audience in mind. We worked with a book geared for children/families in which the author’s pose literally looked like an evil character from a B horror movie.

Reviews: Only use reviews from known sources or credentialed people. Professional colleagues in your field are especially helpful for non-fiction books. It can actually hurt you if you include, “Thrilling page turner!” ‘by Amazon reviewer.’ It’s better to leave this out.

Proofread: Last but not least, although it seems obvious, proofread your text. In the rush to complete what is often the final stage of a book, back cover copy can be neglected. We’ve seen outstanding books marred by typos—and yes, the media notices. Back cover copy needs to be proofread by professional eyes.

If you are working with a publicist early enough in the process, run the copy by him or her for feedback on content. Back cover copy is crucial for transforming the browser into a buyer. Don’t skimp on this essential piece to your project.

This Issue’s Top 5 Power Publicity Tips

Author Interview Tips

1. Get the host’s name right! If you are doing a radio interview, write the host’s name on a place where you can see easily see it. When in doubt, do not address the host by name.

2. Location. Location. Location. Know your audience’s time zone. A “good morning!” at 10 AM from your California home to an East Coast show will not work. Nor will commenting on the snowstorm from your Boston home when speaking with a Miami station.

3. Crackle Free Interviews. Can’t stress this one enough. No cell phones for interviews.

4. “As I say in my book.” While it’s important to plug your book, every sentence should not start with this line.

5. Watch and listen. One way to become better at doing interviews is by watching and listening to others. Evaluate each one, what made the interview good, what could have been better—then learn from this.


Favorite Book Publicity/Publishing Blogs
Here are some great places to learn about book publicity and publishing.
The purpose of this blog is to provide tips, primarily, but also information about publishing / marketing trends that will help book publicists — and hopefully others in media and publishing — do our jobs with greater ease and efficiency.
Introducing readers to writers since 1995
The Book Bench: Notes on books, publishing, and the literary life.
Book group tips, reading lists, & lively talk of literary news from the experts at Booklist Online
Most recently, Peter launched Help A Reporter ( <> ) which connects journalists with the sources they require using a social media platform. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is already over 36,000 members and growing, and has a growing stable of national journalists using the service on a daily basis.
The goal of our site is to conduct provocative public discussion of the revolution that is happening in publishing and how it effects readers, society, economics, and fundamental values such as privacy.
Conversations about Great Books

About Smith Publicity, Inc.

Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the nation's leading promotional firms. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 600 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business representing a wide range of industries.

The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States and Canada, and countries from the U.K. and Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, and London.

While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations and creative communications firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.

If you are interested in receiving a proposal for your project, please contact Sandy Diaz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing,, or 856-489-8654 x301.

Contact information:

Smith Publicity
856.489.8654 ext 301

Mailing Address: 2 Split Rock Drive, Suite 12 • Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
230 Park Avenue, 10th Floor • New York, NY 10169
212 Piccadilly • London • W1J 9HG •Tel. 020 7917 9812

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