Power Book Publicity Tips for June 2008

In this issue:

  • June’s Five Power Publicity Tips
  • Book Reviews: Are They Worth the Effort?

Spring is a busy time for many in the book publicity world with Book Expo America (BEA) in Los Angeles followed by Book Expo Canada in Toronto.

TCI-Smith Publicity exhibited at BEA meeting some truly incredible authors and publishers. Dan Smith has just returned from Book Expo Canada where he was able to meet new authors while catching up with long time clients.

Please drop me a line for feedback and article suggestions for future Power Publicity Tips.

As always, we invite you to forward this newsletter to anyone interested in this crazy world of books and book publicity.


Sandy Diaz
Vice President Sales & Marketing
TCI-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

TCI-Smith Publicity
Power Publicity Tips Newsletter
June 2008


This Issue’s Top 5 Power Publicity Tips


1. Check out your competition: If you are looking for ideas on media outlets interested in your topic, search the Internet to find books and authors similar to yours. Then, go to the author’s websites and find out what media coverage, interviews, etc., they’ve secured. Since your book is similar, you can then contact those media outlets to try and secure interviews or stories.

2. ‘How To’ Press Releases. Whenever possible, develop a “how to” press release, no longer than 2 pages at 1½ spacing. These releases offer the absolute best shot of getting magazine or newspaper coverage because they provide clear, solid information. They are particularly useful for business and self-help books, but with creativity, you can also use them for novels. Editors love providing readers with new and useful information. Make it as easy as possible for them to cover you and your book!

3. No Attachments on Emails. It can be tempting to showcase your eye-catching book cover to the media, but do NOT send them via email. Wait until a photo of you or your book cover is requested before emailing. Nothing annoys a producer or editor more than dealing with virus scans for unsolicited attachments. This goes for the potentially annoying colored backgrounds as well.

4. Signature line. Speaking of emails, make it as easy as possible for people to remember you and your book by always, always, always including a professionally looking signature line with your name, book name, website address, telephone number, email address (yes, again!).

5. Tailor your voicemail message. If you are inviting the media to call you, make sure your voicemail message is professional. If possible, say something like: You have reached John Doe, author of the new book The John Doe Experience. Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. You can also add: If you prefer, you are welcome to send me an email at JohnDoe@aol.com. You want to make it as easy as possible for the media to reach you.

Book Reviews

Book Reviews: Are They Worth the Effort? Tips for Securing


Printed book reviews are becoming more challenging to obtain. Shrinking space in newspaper and magazines, along with the sheer volume of new books produced each week, makes securing a review almost as easy as winning the lottery.

The LA Times book editor receives literally hundreds of books each week.

To save time and money, many newspapers are doing away with their stand-alone book sections, devoting even less space for reviews.

Many in the industry are questioning the value of book reviews. Should you invest time, energy and money for a review? More often than not, we recommend our clients focus more on securing feature articles, stories, and interviews about them and their books for two reasons:

First, authors are more likely to attract their target audience by having them or their book featured in an article relevant to the topic of the book and the reader’s interest.

Second, feature stories are easier to secure than a book reviews. Simply put, the number of feature stories printed each day far outweighs the number of book reviews printed. Feature stories typically cover a topic(s) from your book, or spotlight an issue raised in a book.  They can also be “how-to” or self-help pieces.  Feature stories CAN usually be secured for novels, although non-fiction books are ideal sources.

Another type of feature story is what we call a “personality profile,” in which the author is spotlighted because of an interesting background, human interest element, etc. (Another note on book reviews to keep in mind—there is always that chance your book will be negatively reviewed and available forever on the Internet!)

That said, if you are looking for a starred Publisher’s Weekly review or a favorable mention in The New York Times, here are some guidelines to make your book noticed by editors:

Research: Take time to target publications that have interest in your book’s genre. With online searching you will discover some only take non-fiction, some only want books months before publication, or some only want poetry. Select a handful of outlets that fit best with your book.

Book Review Pages of the Top 100 USA Newspapers:


• Your book, galley or ARC. Make sure you check the submission guidelines of the outlet to which you are sending your book; most are available online. For example, some want “galleys” or “advance review copies” or ARCs three to four months before publication date. Galleys or ARCs are bound copies of your book. They are advance, “non-proofed” copies, meaning they can have some minor errors. We recommend putting a sticker on the cover clearly marking your book as a galley—especially if you are sending what looks like or actually is your finished book.

The right reviewer. In your research, determine, if possible, the best candidate to send your books. Some reviewers only cover fiction vs. non-fiction, memoirs, mystery, religious titles, etc.  If possible, find out their preferred mode of contact, i.e. for follow-ups do they prefer phone calls, e-mails, etc.

A selling cover letter. Personalize the cover letter with the editor’s name. Introduce your book and make it sound as intriguing as possible! You could even add, “As you requested…” even if it’s not. Chances are, the editor will not remember.

Book release. A book release is a one or two page (maximum!) description of your book, why it is different, and its themes. We recommend including a quote or two from the author commenting on a particular topic in the book or inspirational observation.

Author Bio. Include your background, education, or professional experiences—what makes you unique. Add hobbies or areas of interest, especially if they relate to your book.

• Fact Sheet. (also known as a “sell sheet”) Submit an overall fact sheet about your book, including full title, publisher, release date, ISBN, format of book (hard or soft cover), and price(s). Also include general marketing, promotion and or distribution plans for your book. Include your website!  A fact sheet/sell sheet is akin to a “birth certificate” for your book.

• IMPORTANT: LABEL YOUR BOOK. A book and press materials often become separated. Put a stamp, sticker or label with your contact information inside your book.

• What’s next: Follow Up. This is where you need some phone skills and a set script. Call the editor, about week to 10 days after they receive your book, introduce yourself briefly, identifying your book by title. Most reviewers do not want to hear “I’m calling to see if you received my book.” So simply go right into asking if the reviewer is planning on reviewing it.

If they have not received your book yet (this can take time!). Thank the person and call back in a week.

If they say they are not sure, ask if there is any additional information you can provide to help them make their decision.

If they say your book has been selected, again ask if they would like any additional information and what time frame do they expect the review to run.

If they say they will not cover your book, politely thank them for their time.

In all cases, make your conversations as brief as possible—and listen to your mother—a thank you goes far in this industry!

Beyond print book reviews, there are an increasing number of online book reviewers, which opens the door for additional promotion opportunities. Alas, an article for another issue!

Book reviews can be valuable marketing tools for your book and make for great quotes in a publicity campaign. However, don’t bank on reviews as the core of your promotional efforts.

About TCI-Smith Publicity

Beginning in 1997, TCI-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 nearly 500 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business representing a wide range of industries.

The TCI-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 now 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 TCI-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, Sandy@smithpublicity.com, www.smithpublicity.com or 856-489-8654 x301.
Contact information:

TCI-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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