Tag Archives: media

What Book Publicity Can (and Can’t) Do

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

You are probably confused as to why an AuthorHive publicist is telling you there’s anything book publicity can’t do. And, at the risk of refuting my entire argument, perhaps I should include a disclaimer by saying that almost anything is possible…but is it likely?

Maybe you’ve tried to market your book yourself, and realized how daunting the task can be.  Or, you’ve done your research and realize that for a new author a promotional campaign is a must. That’s where we, as literary marketing and publicity experts, come in.  We offer a complete line of book publicity options, including online outreach to potential fans and readers through social media.

However, there are things I can accomplish as your publicist and those that even Hercules couldn’t.  Becoming a famous author like J.K. Rowling or James Patterson takes a lot of time and hard work. In my experience, authors who have realistic expectations and understand the limitations of this industry prove to be the most successful.

Can a publicity campaign make your book a bestseller? A book publicity campaign itself will not likely make you a bestseller. But, a campaign can increase interest in your book through the third-party credibility of media placement, which can in turn increase book sales significantly.

Will you be interviewed by The New York Times? Major media outlets reserve space or programming for only the most newsworthy stories, which unfortunately aren’t always book releases. Targeting local news, trade magazines, and national news outlets that are already interested in your topic will usually yield the best results in book campaigns. You’ll be reaching out to your target audience, and might even be filed by journalists as an expert for future news stories.

Avoid the “O” word. We hear it from almost every author at the beginning of campaigns: “Can you get me on Oprah? I think she will really enjoy my book!” It’s true that several authors have gone on to find fame and fortune after receiving the media guru’s seal of approval.  It’s also true that a handful of our books have been considered by her staff for promotion. But, the likelihood that you will be featured on Oprah’s show is slim—even slimmer now, since her last episode is scheduled to air September 9, 2011.

While none of my authors books have become one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” I have garnered media hits for my authors from notable outlets such as the Ladies Home Journal and American Fitness, and runs in Food and Beverage magazine, the Colorado Springs Gazette, NBC Connecticut, International Business Times, Houston Press, and Boston Globe. Start small, with your local news for example, and then work your way to the top. Believe me when I say that your book can still find increased visibility to readers through book publicity, even without Oprah’s blessing.

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Traditional Media vs Social Media

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The past couple of years seem to have represented a long drawn out public funeral for traditional media. Scores of established newspapers and magazines have gone the way of the Dodo. Much of the advice someone seeking publicity gets these days is centered on the concept of social media.

To be sure, more people are getting their information from and conducting their business on the Web than ever before.  If that’s the case, why then is traditional media so important to include within a social media campaign?

The truth is, a sizeable portion of the stories you end up seeing from blogs, tweets and Facebook have an original source in some traditional media outlet in which case social media provides a series of filters, commentary and summarized version of this content, which is certainly valuable. Even though dissemination of information is Web based more than it’s not, the sources of that info still live in a traditional realm.

I think a better way to look at it is to consider who you’re speaking to when launching a social media campaign. Any effort that you launch online is going to follow a grass roots effort. While the ends can be more rewarding, in that you built up a fan base on your own, without the type of exposure you can get from traditional media, you can find yourself on the outside looking in. Employing traditional media in a campaign legitimizes the publicity effort in that if you can get someone in the media interested in your book, then potential readers online are apt to be more responsive to someone they may have never heard of before.

It’s also important to know that traditional and social media are basically two spokes on the same wheel. While they can certainly operate independently of one another, why would they? In a November 19, 2010 article on combining traditional and social media (http://www.suite101.com/content/using-traditional-and-social-media-for-integrated-marketing-a311102) writer Brandon Williams notes the symbiotic relationship between the two mediums:

“Mixing traditional media with social media creates an integrated marketing strategy. This utilizes all forms of media to create a synergistic strategy.”

Using buzzwords such as synergy may go over the heads of some who are looking for the best way to market their book, but it is true:  To create total brand awareness for an author and/or their book, it’s important to marry and utilize all forms of media cohesively in order to gain the maximum amount of exposure.

While it’s true that the media landscape that surrounds us is ever evolving, it’s important not to forget the more traditional methods of garnering media attention to maximize success now and into the future.

Twitter “Noobs”: 5 Things You Can Learn from @50Cent

 by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

In my eyes, the introduction of @50Cent and @OprahTheDog has to be the most interesting (and educational) development in the Twitterverse since…well, Twitter itself.

For those of you who are still in the dark, platinum-selling rapper 50 Cent—who once left his Twitter account to his PR team—suddenly became active in the Twitter world, slinging grammar-challenged tweets rife with controversy into cyberspace. Since then, 50 Cent has been experimenting with fan engagement while gaining footing with a new medium to spread his message. He tweeted that he was looking for love online, which started an avalanche of responses and Twitter photos. He also recently created an account for his dog “Oprah,” garnering over 8,000 followers in two days, and his hints at the dog’s abusive “master” enflamed the animal advocate group PETA. 50 Cent’s garbled tweets even inspired a mock “Queen’s English” 50 Cent translation Twitter page (@English50Cent).

 I’d argue there are a few lessons to be learned from 50 Cent for those who are new to Twitter, both on what to do and what NOT to do (who would have ever thought 50 Cent could be educational?):

  1. Be Active:  At first, 50 Cent was leery of Twitter as a medium to reach his fans—much like many who still are unsure of the value of the popular social media site. But, once he jumped in and began tweeting regularly, he saw a quick response from his followers (now numbering over 3 million). Now, he tweets several times an hour and has mastered the art of links, attachments and replies.
  2. Be Personal:  When his account was maintained by his team, 50 Cent’s tweets lacked the singeing personality and pizzazz that they have now. Now, we can peek into his whirlwind life as a famous rapper (which, if you judged merely by his tweets, consists mostly of sex, money and “hustling”). By being humorous, personal and newsworthy, he’s given followers a reason to pay attention to him (besides his obvious fame factor).
  3. Engage!:  Inspired by the immediate buzz he made, 50 Cent created ways to engage his fans. His quest to find a girlfriend online started an impromptu contest, and even celebrities like Perez Hilton joined in for fun (although 50 Cents resulting homophobic tweets caused a stir in the gay community). While I wouldn’t suggest mimicking his behavior entirely, he has the right idea of using creative methods to engage your followers and keep them interested. If you’re an author, for example, offer a free chapter to your followers.
  4. Be Responsible:  A warning: exercise your power responsibly. I think most would agree that 50 Cent has been abusing his influence and his 3-million-follower soapbox by causing unnecessary controversy. Twitter is a great tool to use to your advantage, but be aware of the consequences.
  5. Be Professional:  It would be safe to say that if 50 Cent’s mother was next to him when he tweeted, he’d be getting soap in that mouth of his! Remember that Twitter is a very public platform, and if your account is public anyone can read what you write. Tweet as if your mother, child, teacher AND employer have access to your Twitter page. That means cutting out profanity, writing legibly, and not tweeting about anything you would deem embarrassing.

What are your thoughts about 50 Cent’s sudden arrival to Twitter? Does it inspire you to become more involved?

Video Made the Author a Star!

by Marcus Chait, Director of New Media

In 1981, the debut of the music video changed the way artists promoted albums forever. It allowed viewers to put a face and narrative to the song, and gave artists the chance to forge an emotional connection with their audience. A generation was captivated, and the public bought albums in record numbers. Big stars got bigger, and new stars were catapulted to unseen heights of success. 

Fast forward to 2010. The Internet has made video more accessible than ever, and the publishing industry has taken notice.  Authors have to find a way to make their book stand out from the crowd, and I believe having a video component as part of your marketing campaign is a prime way of accomplishing that.

While a video can be one of your greatest assets when trying to attract the attention of readers, you need to be an active participant in the pre-production process to insure the best possible result.  Before securing a production team for your video, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Clear and Concise Messaging – It’s imperative that you understand the message you want to convey through your video prior to your production start date.  You should be able to verbalize your message to your production team so they understand the overall intent and goal of the video project.  If you don’t know what you’re trying to say, your production team won’t know how to say it.
  2. Creative Vision – Just as important as your message is the creative concept.  Make sure you are communicating your creative vision to your production team before filming begins.  There is nothing worse than reviewing your video project for the first time and realizing the creative vision is not what you had expected.
  3. Be Open to Change – While you are the foremost expert on your book, be open to the fact that your production team might have some useful insight to share when it comes to their area of expertise.  Sometimes the minutia that makes reading your book such a unique experience doesn’t play as well on film.  It’s understandably difficult for some authors to let go, but try to be open to suggestions as to how your book might play best on screen.
  4. Communication is Key – It may seem tedious, but the more information you can provide to your production team, the more successful your video will be.  If you’re given a questionnaire to fill out, be as specific as possible. Delivering as much detailed information as possible during the planning process is the most effective way for you to be a part of the creative and execution phases.  
  5. Have a Launch Plan – It’s critical to have a solid launch plan in place once production has wrapped.  Creating a well thought out marketing and launch strategy can be the difference between a handful of impressions versus thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Check out author Tom Duerig’s author video for his book, Stan’s Leap.