Power Book Publicity Tips for September 2009

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

  • Article: Why You Should do EVERY Radio Interview You Can
  • September’s 5 Publicity Tips
  • Tips for Authors — 5 FREE places to post a press release about your book

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Why You Should Do EVERY Radio Interview You Can

It’s easy to be tempted to ignore or at least not be excited about the prospect of an interview on a small radio station. Some authors think a tiny station will have few listeners, and it may not be worth the time to do the interview.

First, this isn’t necessarily true. Think about it: How many people does a small, 1000 watt station in the middle of New York City reach?  Millions.

Second, you never know who is listening.  We’ve booked authors on stations as small as 250 watts in remote areas of the country.  In fact, a famous Smith Publicity story regarding an interview on a tiny station has been told many, many times.  It drives home the point as to why every interview is important, and also gives an example of what a clever pitch can do.

We had a client, a tax attorney, who specialized in settling tax issues with the IRS. You’ve surely seen commercials for such professionals; a person comes to them owing large sums of money to the IRS, and they reduce the debt through negotiation and other tactics.

Our client was making a heavy publicity push in the months leading up to tax day in April. Although he didn’t have a book, we promoted him the same way we do authors.  We came up with a clever pitch: “Why Size Does Matter When it Comes to the IRS.” During a conversation with his publicist he mentioned that the size envelope a person uses to mail their tax return affects the chances of getting selected for an audit.

So, the pitch worked and we were booking dozens of interviews a week. He was a great client; he did everything and anything we set up.

We received a request for an interview from a station in South Dakota, a tiny 500 watt station in a very rural area. Realistically, probably a few hundred people, if that, would hear him on the air.

He did the interview, and the next day received a call from a listener who heard the interview.  It turns out this man had been driving through South Dakota and stumbled upon the station.  It also turned out this man was a multi-millionaire who was in a jam: He owed millions in what the IRS identified as back taxes.  He engaged the services of our client.

The end result: From that one interview on that tiny station, and that one person who happened to be driving through that town, our client made $800,000. He had saved his client about $6 million, and earned his hefty commission.

Another brief example also illustrating the power of word-of-mouth publicity:

We had a client with a book about UFO’s.  We set up an interview on a very small radio station in Maine, again, one with very low wattage in a remote area.  One of the people who heard the interview in Maine was the head of a northeastern U.S. chapter of a very popular UFO association with many offices across the nation.  After hearing our author, she immediately e-mailed her fellow chapter heads, telling them about the author and book.

Our author’s amazon.com rankings shot up from 300,000 to 162 over the next few days, and she began receiving requests for bulk purchases of her book.

One interview. Tiny station. One person catapulted the sale of thousands of books.

Finally, just this week, one of our authors did an interview on a smaller market radio station. The result: and ABC producer heard the interview, became interested in the author and is now in the process of taping a three day interview for a national television broadcast.

It can be hard to imagine, but these small steps can and often do lead to bigger opportunities.

5 Book Publicity Tips


1.) Never do a radio interview in your pajamas. Whether you realize it or not, how you sound on the phone is indeed affected by what you are wearing and where you are.  If you do an interview on your back deck while sunbathing, chances are you will sound a bit too relaxed and nonchalant and not be on top of your game. Do interviews at your business desk, and wear business casual clothes. Yes, it does make a difference; you’ll sound more focused and serious.

2.) Go old-school and actually send a letter. The dominance of e-mail as a preferred method of communication makes snail mail more valuable. This may not make sense at first glance, but think about it. A hand-addressed envelope sent to a reporter or editor is probably more likely to be opened, percentage wise, that an e-mail.  Why? Because it is so relatively rare today.

3.) Watch TV and listen to the radio. If you want to get exposure for your book by securing broadcast interviews, then it makes sense that you should actually watch the types of shows you want be on.  Seems like common sense, but many authors don’t do this. Listen to your local talk radio station and get the feel for the rhythm and pacing of radio interviews. Watch TV shows, both locally and nationally, which interview authors.  Particularly with TV, you’ll come to appreciate how relatively little time you will actually have on the air, and why you have to be concise in your answers and stay on topic.

4.) Less is more. Whether you’re e-mailing a producer or writing your own press release, follow the “less is more” rule.  After you write something, review it again and force yourself to reduce the length.  What you’ll find is that you’ll have a release or e-mail that is tight, on target, and covers the most essential elements of your message.

5.) Read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. As author Malcolm Gladwell says, “The best way to understand the dramatic transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”


Tips for Authors: 5 FREE places to post a press release about your book


The following website/newswire services will post your press release for free, enabling journalists who use their service to read about you and your book. Although all of these sites offer upgraded services you pay for, you can post a release for free and not pay a dime.  What do you have to lose?






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 700 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, Los Angeles 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, Sandy@smithpublicity.com, www.smithpublicity.com or 856-489-8654 x301.

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