To Promote A Book, Remember YOU’re the Product
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To Promote A Book, Remember YOU’re the Product
You’ve been thinking about writing a book for some time now. The idea is toying with your mind to promote a book and you have it all mapped out in your head, but you have to find the time to put it on paper (or virtual paper with your favorite word processor). Finally, the gumption hits you and you finish your book (WHEW!). You think to yourself, “Boy am I going to make a difference with this message! Everyone is going to want to read this book.” You immediately start thinking, “How do I promote a book?”
One year later, your book is stacked high in your office, garage and bedroom. You’ve reread it 27 times and gave away 233 copies to church members, friends and family, but you’re not making any sales. You’ve followed all the author self-help advice you can find on how to promote a book and have sent (unsolicited) books to radio shows, TV shows, newspapers and online bloggers to generate interest. You’ve e-mailed and faxed enough press releases to fill a three-drawer filing cabinet. You think to yourself, “If I can only get on Oprah, BOY will I have it made!” The phone’s not ringing and your e-mail inbox set up for your book is empty (except for all the Viagra and dating sites SPAM). What’s wrong?
You need to remember when you promote a book that “You Are the Product…The Book Is Just The Message
“Why do authors like Dan Brown, Stephen King, Joel C Rosenberg, Suze Orman and others get all the press as soon as they release a book, and I can’t even get a phone call?” you think to yourself. The answer is simple… those authors know how to promote a book and are established brands. What do I mean by that? The author is the product, so no matter what book they write, they will get the press. They have done their job promoting themselves first and learned that once they have properly promoted themselves; it is easy to then promote a book on just about any subject that they want to promote.
Stop and think about it. If a book were written that was titled Live Free of Debt and Enjoy the Life You Were Meant to Enjoy, by Joe Shmuckatelly. Would you rush out and buy it? However, if it were written by Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey, who are established experts on finances and debt management, who know how to not only promote a book, but have done an excellent job promoting themselves, would you want to buy the book then? So, if that is how you choose a book, what makes you think the public will choose any differently? You need to become known, get some exposure and awareness and have the public see YOU as an expert with a message before you try to promote a book so that interest is attracted to your book as a result. Quite simply, you are the product, not your book! So what is the answer?
PR (Public Relations) is the answer to first promoting yourself BEFORE you ever try to promote a book.
Many don’t understand PR. The belief is that PR is a process of sending press releases to everyone in media to open the door to interview requests. While this used to be a viability in the past, it has become less and less so today. Why? Well, consider the changing media landscape and the number of authors trying to breach it as they try to promote a book on their subjects and interests.
The Field is Full
With close to 400,000 books published last year, there are many authors who are trying to get the same attention you’re vying for to promote a book that they have written. That’s a lot of press releases, unsolicited books and e-mails to mine through. Who has the time and the staff to do that? Also, with so many authors to choose from, typically only the known entities are the ones that get noticed immediately.
Due to this, many GOOD books get ignored and not read. However, there are NEW authors breaking through. How are they doing it? They realized that they needed help to promote a book and as a result, they hired a savvy book publicist who understood the true role of PR and how to employ it. What do they know that we don’t? The changing rules of media.
The Rules To Promote A Book Have Changed
The Internet changed the game! With so many options for news online, many have become less dependent on a daily paper. This has caused the newspapers to adjust and restructure. Did you know that the New York Times let go of over 1,500 employees by the end of 2010? Other papers have followed suit. If there are fewer people to run the operation and they are receiving over 500 press releases daily, who is reading them? No one!
Radio and TV have become very dynamic as well, due to the Internet and the demand for content. So production has become very selective. Many producers and hosts have PR sources that regularly promote a book or an author with them and that they’ve come to trust and rely on to provide content and guests to fill their daily news needs. With news happening at the speed of life, if the news release (pitch) is not from a source they know will not waste their time and provide it in a format that requires minimal effort on their part, they will just ignore it.
So how do you get past the gatekeepers when you need to promote a book? Hire a PR firm that can get you to the producers and hosts, so that they WILL look at your release and decide if you fill a need with what is happening in the news.
Once that door has been opened, you are on your way! Imagine being able to speak to 10s of thousands to over a million people, for 5 to 20 minutes (depending on the venue) and receiving an implied endorsement from a host they know, respect and trust. What would that do for your credibility? Imagine being quoted on radio, TV and in print, as an expert on your topic for the book you want to promote who also happens to be an author with a book titled (fill in the blank). The opportunities that can come from this are more than just possible book sales. Let me count the ways…
- Speaking Engagements: The more you are in the news, the more you will become known. Many companies choose speakers for conventions, training sessions, etc, from experts they’ve seen or heard in media. This can also lead to “natural” ways to promote a book with the resultant increase in book sales.
- Consulting: Not only do companies choose speakers, but if they have a need they also choose consultants. This has caused many an author to have consulting businesses that also lead to more book sales.
- Contributing News Expert: After you’ve been on TV and radio long enough, many TV and radio shows have their favorite guest experts that become regular contributors whenever it comes to the topic of their expertise.
- Editorialist/Blogger: The same can be said for print media (both online and offline). Many an author has become a columnist or blogger for established news agencies.
- Your Own Radio Show: Finally, many an author (Dave Ramsey comes to mind) have launched their own radio show careers, because of the following generated through their PR efforts to promote a book as well as themselves.
Many authors think, “Well, that might happen for a non-fiction, self-help or specialty skilled type book; but what about a fiction author? That won’t work to promote a book for fiction.” Au contraire (trying a little French lingo), ever hear of Tom Clancy (author of Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and the creator of the John Ryan character and series)? A former insurance salesman turned author who is considered now a military security expert. How about Joel C Rosenberg (author of The Last Jihad series and the new The 12th Imam) who is considered a national security and eschatology (end-times studies) expert?
So get with a reputable book publicist/PR firm and start the process in your efforts to promote a book. Oh, and by the way, once you start the process, do not stop it! It takes thousands of pounds of pressure to get a locomotive moving, but once it has momentum, it takes very little effort and energy to keep it moving and have it pick up speed. Once you have the publicity, if you stop, it WILL go away.
So make the commitment, decide to make it, and start your campaign to promote a book. After all, you already wrote the book! In the words of Jim Rohn, “When they close the book on your life, whether you won or lost, let it be at least said that you were in the game.” I invite you to the challenge of success!