3 Ways to Think Like a Book Publicist

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

You’ve officially started the process of self-publishing your book! Congratulations; you have put in a significant amount of time and effort, and now the next step is beginning the process of marketing and publicizing to help let others know about the project you worked so long and hard on. This can seem like an overwhelming task, but you can learn to think like a publicist and incorporate media outreach into your marketing strategy. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Know Your Goals

As a book publicist, one of my first tasks outside of diving into the book and supplemental material is having a conversation with my client about their goals. These goals can be big or small and are often quite varied from author to author. In any case, identifying them is an essential part of the process. 

  • If getting reviews is an important goal, then reaching out to bloggers, bookstagrammers, and online book reviewers is a vital step.
  • book goalsIf you have a business book and would like to use your book to elevate your brand, you can focus on expert commentary pitching and writing bylined articles that offer advice and useful tips for other business leaders.
  • If national TV is a goal, then work on booking segments with local affiliate media to start collecting segment clips that showcase your skills and expertise. Having these clips is an important first step in reaching your overall goal of appearing on national TV – plus, the more interview experience and practice, the better!

Understanding what your goals are allows you to lay out a clear strategy when publicizing your book.

2. Pay Attention to the News Cycle

No matter the genre of your book, be sure to pay attention to the news cycle when promoting it.

book-news-around-the-worldFor fiction authors, note the time of the year for any timely or seasonal tie-ins such as “Summer Beach Reads.” Children’s book authors can tie into “Back To School,” as another example. Awareness days have become more and more prevalent in the last few years, so try searching your book topic and coordinating awareness days. Let’s say you have a book about cats, you won’t want to miss pitching your book in time for National Cat Day!

For nonfiction authors, it’s important to follow local and national news. If your book or expertise can tie into breaking news, trends, or general news stories, offer a solution, or share a perspective having to do with stories in a timely way. Consider including a direct quote from your book in the pitch to grab the media contact’s attention. It allows them to get a sense of the direction and tone you would use involving the topic and can also be used as a quick takeaway they can include in their piece, especially if they are on a tight deadline.

Timing is key when pitching based on the news cycle. If you read an article about a current event or story, pull together your thoughts and pitch within 24 hours.

The Complete Guide: How to Self-Publish a Book

3. Establish Relationships With the Media

Cultivating relationships with reporters, journalists, editors, hosts, and producers is a very important part of publicity. Spending the time to understand what the contact you reach out to covers and how your book is relevant to their area of expertise will help you stand out above the rest. Mention a recent story they have written and what aspect of the piece you enjoyed the most and why. Then offer a new angle or story that might be of interest to them tying in your book or expertise.

Once you start a conversation with the media contact about potential coverage, be mindful of following up, and continue to develop the relationship by offering fresh ideas and angles. The simplest and most effective way to become a reliable and well-used source is by providing valuable, factual information in a clear and concise format. You want to make it easy for media contacts and help them do their job!

So, go ahead… think like a publicist! With clear goals, strategic and timely outreach, and strong relationships with the media, you are setting yourself and your book up for success.


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Courtney Link

Courtney Link is a book publicist at Smith Publicity, the most prolific book-marketing agency in the publishing industry, with thousands of books promoted since 1997. From first-time, self-published authors to New York Times bestsellers, Smith Publicity promotes every genre, and has secured media coverage for authors and books with every top media outlet in the U.S. And Canada. The firm has offices in Cherry Hill, NJ, and Toronto. Contact Smith Publicity at info@smithpublicity.com.