- A quality book, well written and, if non-fiction, by a credentialed author that will be of interest in the current market. No one can predict book sales or the media’s reaction, especially for a first time author. The expression “write about what you know” is crucial. It will add credibility to the project make you book easier to promote though a book marketing campaign.
- Professional help. Books need to be professionally designed (cover and inside layout) and professionally edited, with well-written front and back cover copy. People do judge a book by its cover. Our job is presenting books to targeted media, but it will be the book, its message or story, and the author’s credentials that ultimately make or break the chances for coverage.
- Complete Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. retail listings. Minimally, every book retail description should include a book cover, “look inside” (Amazon) or “read instantly” (B&N) feature, detailed author page with website, social media handles, author photo, detailed book description, author bio, all tagged properly in the right genre, and reviews even from friends and family to start.
- Engage a book distribution firm. Book distribution companies try to get books on the shelves of independent bookstores, plus larger retail outlets such as Barnes & Noble, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. The more visible a book is, the more potential buyers will see it. Minimally, books should be available to be ordered in any brick and mortar bookstore.
- Pricing strategy, especially for e-books. Often authors/publishers offer free or inexpensively priced e-books to help create viral word of mouth buzz and recommendations. This is an especially good strategy for a series/trilogy—offer the first book for free or very low price to get the reader hooked for the next.
- Well thought out social media plan. Ideally, before publicity begins, authors already have established meaningful connections and given audiences relevant content, not overselling or pushing their book. Strategy and fan base building should begin well before a book is published, with the author interacting with bloggers, readers and professionals in his or her genre.
- Professionally designed website. Basic website information should include: about the author, about the book (with excerpts), reviews and media placements, a place for fans to sign up for news about future books, social media links, author contact information, newsletter sign up, and links to buy the book from all major retailers.
- Authors need to take an active role. Book publicity alone will not generate book sales. Authors need to connect with both the media and potential readers to make good impressions. As publicists, we act as matchmakers: we present books and authors to the right people, but it is up to them whether or not to cover it. They may talk to the author and read through the book, but it is ultimately up to media professionals, and their impression. Successful authors actively work their network, visit local bookstores, connect with readers and other authors, and give good media interviews.
- Timing and luck. There is no doubt that timing and luck play a part in the success of a book. Just because we (the author and publicists) are ready for the book/topic to be covered, it doesn’t necessarily mean the media is.
- Volume of experts and author vying for the same attention. To go along with timing and luck, authors need to understand that there is stiff competition for media attention from authors and experts with similar stories and expertise.
- Amplifying publicity results. Successful authors use publicity exposure (links to interviews, articles, reviews, “as seen in Wall Street Journal…”) on their websites, social media platforms, book covers, future submissions to publishers and in their bio or marketing material. They ensure the investment of time and money promoting a book continues long after a publicity campaign is done.
- Continuing relationships after a publicity campaign is over. Authors need to continue interacting with media (especially book bloggers), supporting fellow authors in the same genre, and communicating with fans and readers. Becoming a well-known author is not an overnight process.
Since 1997, Smith Publicity has promoted thousands of books from New York Times bestsellers to first time,self-published authors. Contact us today for a free consultation: info@SmithPublicity.com www.SmithPublicity.com