Book Publicists and Marketers’ New Year’s Resolutions

Planning your book marketing campaign with a laptop at New Year's.

by Mike Onorato, Executive Director of Publicity

Most of us in the book marketing and publicity world begin 2018 with some resolutions in mind for personal or professional growth.  There are areas we want to improve upon or bad habits we’d love to break.  Setting goals and objectives for promoting books and helping clients are essential.  They don’t necessarily need to be big, but I’ve always found a list of areas to focus on that can help define areas for improvement.  In that vein, here are my suggested New Year’s resolutions for publicists.

1. To Publicize a Book, Know the Media Your Plan to Pitch

But I don’t have time!  Our days are indeed jam-packed, but carving out time to research new book publicity media contacts, their beats, and trends in various fields are vital. I recently began working with a client on a campaign I didn’t know much about. Rather than just jump-in & start to pitch, I spent a fair amount of time researching the media landscape and doing extremely targeted outreach to promote the book.  It resulted in substantial media interest.  Find the time to do your legwork.

2. New Book Publicity Methods are Always Helpful

It’s called a comfort zone for a reason.  But it can also inhibit growth and can make it easy for book PR people to do the “same-old, same-old” for campaigns.  Resolve to take on a different type of marketing campaign in 2018. Or pitch another kind of media.  Learning and growing outside of your normal area of expertise is a great way to increase your knowledge and your contact list!

3. Valid Promotion is Powered by Excellent Writing

Writing is part of everything we do in marketing a book — from formal press releases and announcements to email communication internally and externally.  It’s also an area that publicists tend to neglect due to time constraints, workload, and other issues.  Try and take a step back and spend some extra time writing and editing.  Read your release or email out loud for content and clarity.  Read it backward from the end to the beginning to catch any grammar or typos.  These are necessary steps, but significant ones!

4. The Best Publicists Need Well-Rounded Skills

Promoting books today requires wide-ranging knowledge. For example, HTML?  SEO?  Social media metrics?  If you aren’t sure how they’re done or the benefit of getting them right, it’s time to get up to speed.  Try and learn a new skill set or a new program.  There are free beginner courses available online and relatively inexpensive webinars.  Also, there are more advanced, fee-based courses you can sign up for that will help you quickly develop and learn a new skill set.

5. Be Visible with Media and Authors In-Person

I’m always amazed at industry events or conferences when I overhear how many book publicists have never met some media contacts personally.  It’s hard, everyone is busy, and there are never enough hours in the day.  But relationships are currency in our business.  Pick 3-5 media contacts that you want to meet with during 2018 and buy them coffee or take them to lunch.  Even if no transaction takes place, the face time will be worth it.

Resolutions are essential for our personal growth and our client’s success.  Take them seriously.  Make a vow to try and work on a few of them in 2018.  Happy New Year!