Get Your Book Noticed

You’ve spend years writing your book and it’s finally ready. Whether you’ve landed a publisher or are self-publishing it, you still need to find readers. Hopefully you’ve remembered during the writing process to craft a presence online. You cannot contemplate the release of any book without it. Unless, you’re a celebrity, have a following, have friends in book clubs or are in the media yourself. The publishing industry has changed drastically and social media plays a big part in it. The social community alone can help you create a buzz around your new book release. There are many wonderful communities of bloggers, book reviewers and writers that help each other with visibility.

Ebooks and self-publishing have hurt and helped in that visibility. Easy access to online distributors and low production costs created a huge inventory. This explosion has affected quality standards and made some reporters and reviewers shy away from self-published titles. On the other hand, self-publishing being such a fast process has given first-time authors a promotional vehicle. Such visibility was only available to traditionally published authors. Considering many known celebrities and authors are self-publishing, it is giving a renewed advantage. So when enough buzz is created around your book, self-published or traditionally published, you will get a mainstream journalist to listen. The idea is to still follow the traditional steps of publishing and not cut any corners. Please work with editors and professionals at every step of the process. Research author and editorial services and I’m sure you’ll find a reasonable and reputable one.

Is there a way to make your book stand out? Yes, there is always a way. Who cares if there are millions of new titles that surface every year, you should be concerned with one. Yours! You were driven to do this and there must have been a reason. You should be able to plotline yours in 140 characters. Yes, in about a tweet. Here’s a basic check list: 1-know all your characters and their traits. The good, bad and ugly. 2-know where the story arched and why. 3-know what your ultimate message and why.

When all is in focus, your promotional campaign will be easy to devise and follow. And, that’s where publicity and marketing will play a key role in your visibility. Now, it is always better to have someone else tout your horn. But, if hiring a publicist is not in your budget. Average book launch public relations’ retainers are very steep (About 2K a month) and results are never 100% guaranteed. I’ve heard of authors invest 25k in a launch without it translating into bestseller sales. So, if promotional and advertising budgets are not an option, you can try and do it yourself. Here are a few things to remember. When you decide to contact media outlets, it’s important to research their individual timetables and their submission guidelines. And, most importantly plan ahead.

The guidelines of Contacting Media:

- Even though social media and digital access changed the way we access news, some of the PR etiquette is still the same. Here are a few rights and wrongs!

- Newspapers still want 2 to 3 weeks advance notice for any releases or events you might send them. Obviously, it’s different if it’s ‘a breaking news,’ story.

- Monthly publications and magazines require 2 to 3 months advance notice.

- Radio stations require 1 to 2 weeks advance notice. Again, not for breaking-news.

- Television stations require a couple of days to a week advance notice.

-Check all submission guidelines as some prefer email submission to mail or fax.

When emailing a pitch, try and follow these steps to make yours stand out:

1-Include a brief story teaser in subject line (about 5 words or less).

2- Individualize each pitch. It is always nice as a journalist to feel that an email is written especially for you. Research a little and get the name of the appropriate assignment desk or editor. You want to target the one who covers your type of story.

3- Try and see if your pitch can tie-in to a breaking news story.

4-Try to think like a journalist and erase any reference to publicity in your news.

5- Send a brief follow-up email. If you decide to call, try and be brief too and remember to check best times with a journalist’s deadlines. Some say that mid-afternoons are best. I think it depends on the journalist and the deadlines.

Do press-releases follow a format? Yes. Enter into any online search engine, ‘free press-release template’ and download a couple. But here’s a basic structure:

1- A catchy headline

2-Book Summary, AKA ‘teaser’ about 1–3 sentences. The briefer the better.

3-[Your City, State] — [Date] — The opening paragraph answers the questions of who, what, when, where, and why. Here you’re trying to suggest a newsy aspect to your release.

4-Second paragraph-Explain unique angle of book and why a journalist should choose to review.

5-Third paragraph- Here you can include a couple of early reviews or a quote from a known reviewer, an author or a respectable industry or publishing authority.

6-Fourth paragraph-Here you can include upcoming events or book signings.

7-Fifth paragraph-AKA ‘call to action.’ Here you can provide bookstore or online links.

8-Last paragraph is a super brief bio about the author. Make sure you end the release with contact Information: Publicist’s name, your name or an associate if DIY, publisher, phone, website and contact email. And you sign off with either -30- or ### which signifies the end of your press-release.

9-Try and fit all in one page if possible.

Who gets your press-release? There are some paid press release distribution companies and some free access ones. As a journalist, I used to just check the wire feeds and read the alerts and blurbs to see what’s new but things are different now. You can still check AP and other wire-services but the digital age has made access so diverse and has specialized so many. There are free and paid syndication companies that would upload your press-release. Some you have to register and join first. Some newspaper, radio & television assignment desks will let you upload a press-release too. Here are some free press-release distribution outlets: OnlinePRNews.com, sribd.com, free-press-release.com, newsvine.com, scoop.it, calameo.com, prlog.com,…

And here are a few top paid distribution ones: (price range from $100 to $300)

PRWeb.com, PROrbit.com, PRNewsWire.com, BusinessWire.com, PRLeap.com, abnewswire.com

I hope the above is helpful and I do wish you the best of luck. As an author I love to see other authors succeed. May you sell tons of books!