Tag Archives: publicity

Publicity: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The KISS Principle, first coined by Lockheed Skunk Works lead engineer Kelly Johnson, was a semi-humorous way to remind his fellow aircraft engineers that the simplest way was always the best as it pertained to design.

This same principle has been applied to various other aspects of life, and for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be applying it to publicity.

When entering the publicity process, it’s easy to come with a head full of ideas and little in the way of an organized plan of execution. It can be daunting to spill out all your ideas out at one time, because while you may understand everything your book is trying to say, the point of all of it is to make sure that potential readers also understand, because these are the people who you want to read your book.

Whether your book is about astrophysics, or how to cook the best-tasting duck breast, the goal of any good publicity campaign is that the simplest person can grasp the concept and determine for themselves whether or not they are interested in finding out more. This is the KISS Principle in a nutshell.

So how do you get there?

One of the first things you have to do is take a look at your work, and from it, distill the most basic of ideas, ideas that would resonate with anyone at just about any level, because that is what determines a successful campaign. It doesn’t matter what you think about your book, because chances are, no one will love the book as much as you will, which is fine, however, if you have designs on being the next great author, your goals are much greater than you…and much simpler.

Keep your message clear and driven towards a singular point. Make the author want to know more without giving too much away in the process. That is how you set the tone for a successful publicity campaign. Anything more than that will be attributed to “white noise” and often times ends up drowning itself out altogether.

You’re an Author. You’re an Expert.

by Kevin Gray, Public Relations Manager
I often speak with authors, who are actively engaged in publicizing their books and the great majority put a strong emphasis on pitching their books to book reviewers at daily newspapers. They’re disappointed when their books aren’t reviewed, are rejected or summarily ignored. Many think this means the end to their efforts to “make news.”

The reality is that just as publishing is changing, so too is the news media. A 2010 study released by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported ominously that “roughly a third of the newsroom jobs in American newspapers in 2001 are now gone, and those cuts come particularly in specialty beats like science and the arts, suburban government and statehouse coverage.” Book reviews can certainly be thrown into this mix.

In a July 2010 interview with the Public Relations Society of America, John Drescher – the executive editor of the Raleigh News & Observer admitted that coverage responsibilities at his paper – the 59th largest in the U.S. – have changed dramatically.

“All beats are still covered, but reporters are doubling up,” Dresher said. “Fewer do more, with changes like paring back to one healthcare reporter, splitting healthcare business coverage among existing business staff, and relying on wire services and correspondents to cover fitness.”

What this all means is that reporters are busier than ever, which puts the squeeze to the time-consuming process of choosing a book, reading a book and writing a review. Whats more, these time constraints come at a time when in 2009, according to R.R. Bowker, more than one million new titles hit the shelves.

So what’s a fledgling author to do?

Well the squeeze being put to reporters can actually favor you, dear scribe. An author, well-versed in a particular topic, that’s written and published a book, is an expert!

In 2008, leading up to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jim Bendat, author of Democracy’s Big Day parlayed his collection of historical Presidential Inauguration potpourri into a landslide of media coverage. USA Today, Bloomberg News, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times were but a few of the prominent outlets that leaned on his expertise.

And once a few reporters called a gaggle of busy scribes and correspondents in need of knowledgeable sources practically knocked down Bendat’s door. Throughout the media frenzy, Bendat consistently mentioned his book. During TV appearances he always had a copy in hand. Bendat got not one single book review, but the number of readers that learned about Democracy’s Big Day is incalculable.

Check out Jim Bendat on Fox News as he talks about his self published book, Democracy’s Big Day:

Is Social Media Really An Effective Way to Promote Your Book?

by Megan Leiter, Events and Social Media Coordinator

As someone who fulfills social media setups for AuthorHive authors and is currently acting as the Social Media Services Coordinator, I can give you a big honest YES to this question! Many of the authors I talk to daily ask, “Will anyone really read my blog?” and, “How are people going to find my profiles on all these social networking sites?”

Here are five ways to make the most of your social media profiles to promote your book:

1) Tags, Tags, Tags! :  A “post tag” is a keyword you can attach to each new post you put on your blog and essentially how people are going to find your blog site. When you attach keywords to your blog’s content, it’s more likely someone searching for those same keywords will find your blog through a search engine. Key Tip: you should always attach your pen name and book title to each post along with any other relevant keywords associated with what you’re writing about in that particular post.

2) Reaching Out:  The whole point of social networking is to be social on the internet – crazy I know! That means you’ll have to put some work into reaching out and contacting people through your profiles by sending out messages, updating your statuses in Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis, creating event invites for book signings or speeches you may be giving, and more.

3) Fresh Content:  For a lot of people within the “blogosphere” once someone finds a blog they like, they visit it daily to check out what the contributor has to say. There’s nothing more disappointing to a devoted blog reader than going to your favorite blog(s) to find the blog contributor hasn’t posted any new content in a week or more. Keeping readers engaged through fresh content means being committed to keeping that connection alive by making the time to continuously post new content which means more than once a week.

4) Gathering Friends:  Exposure is the key to publicity. The more people you can gather to follow you on Twitter and like your fan page on Facebook, the more exposure your messages will have.

5) Time:  It takes a lot of time and commitment to build a fan base for a book so please don’t expect to be an overnight social media sensation like Susan Boyle (the Scottish singing talent discovered on Britain’s Got Talent who became an overnight sensation on YouTube.com). Just as it took time to write and produce your book, it will also take time to create your social media fan base.

I know many authors are intimidated by social media because it’s a new beast in the world and perhaps out of their comfort zone. Many authors I speak to vow to forgo the social media aspect of promotions entirely and I think the only person this is a disservice to is the author themselves. Facebook currently serves over 300 million users (and is still growing) and Twitter serves 190 million users. To me, that’s an awfully big market to be left untouched just because you may be unfamiliar with using a computer or don’t want to put the time into keeping up a social media presence.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend or family member for help or call AuthorHive and we will get you on your way!

Book Launch Party. Book Launch Party. Am I repeating?

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

There are two great things about Groundhog’s Day. The movie. And, the prospect of winter ending sooner, rather than later. But what does Groundhog’s Day have to do with a book launch party?

The premise of the movie is that Bill Murray’s character has to repeat Feb 2 over and over until he gets it right.  Marketing of anything, even your book, requires a lot of do-overs, as it’s a learning process.

Events are one segment of the book marketing process, and one you’ll want to repeat to gain awareness for your book. The first event you should hold for your book is a launch party. If your book just went live or is about to go live, plan a launch party. Has your book been live awhile, but you’ve not had a party? Then plan one. Already held one? Then throw a re-launch or a 100-copies-sold party.

Hosting a launch party is far less intensive than the events in Punxsutawney, PA. While they can be fancy, they can also be simple. The key is to get the word out. Send out an evite, post an invite on Facebook and update your author website and blog – and encourage your invitees to forward the invite out to others. Put out some snacks and drinks. You may want to shape your get together around your book’s genre.  If it’s a history on picnicking, serve picnic foods. If it’s a romance novel, plan the party around Valentine’s or Sweetest Day and provide festive treats. Consider holding the party at a locale that relates to the book, or at a restaurant or bar or in multiple locations around town so your guests don’t have to travel so far. Don’t forget to have plenty of copies of your book on hand and to prepare a short reading from your book.

If you really need a reason to self-promote, since it’s Groundhog’s Day, and the furry dude will likely see his shadow, plan a another-six-weeks-of-winter-means-more-time-to-curl-up-with-a-book-party. Either way, start promoting today and plan your book launch party.

Plan your book launch party.

Plan your book launch party…

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.

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.

5 Ways to Build Your Brand

by Maggie Hames, Social Media Specialist

Recently during a conversation with an author, I was asked an interesting question: Are we focusing on my book or me as an author?

While you do want to promote your book, the larger plan is to build your personal brand. Think of Stephen King or Danielle Steele. Their household names bring to mind a certain genre and automatically you know what type of book to expect. Their fans are drawn to every book they produce, not just one particular title.

This is the type of following every author dreams of.

Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Elevator Speech – Develop a short pitch outlining who you are as an author and what you write about. Focus on what makes you different. Be well rehearsed and able to deliver this pitch on the spot. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to spread the word.
  2. Headshot & Bio – Have a quality headshot and bio. Make this available to your readers and for use in promotional materials. A good headshot gives you instant recognition. And it could make the difference between respect and skepticism.
  3. Online ­– Begin building your network online. Whether you write about medieval times or Caribbean art, there’s a community out there. Get involved. Share relevant information. If you can, host a domain name (your name or your subject matter).
  4. Be Unique ­– Find an angle that makes you different. Don’t just be another cook book author. Why are your recipes special? Why are you special? Focus on that.
  5. Stay Positive – Building your brand can be a long journey. And you may experience rejection along the way. But focus on why you wrote your book in the first place. After all, even J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter made it big.