What Baseball Can Teach You About Book Publicity

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Analogies between baseball and book publicity are fairly common. I use them often when speaking with authors, because baseball rules and strategy very succinctly help me get key points across.

The most obvious analogy: Baseball has singles, doubles, triples, home runs and grand slams and book publicity does as well:

  • Singles represent media opportunities such as local radio interviews or small podcasts.
  • Doubles are regional newspaper and TV coverage.
  • Triples can be thought of as syndicated radio interviews, large newspaper coverage, and very popular blogs.
  • Home runs represent coverage such as national TV and national magazines.
  • Grand slams? Think of these as a long form interview on a national TV showsitting down one-on-one with major broadcaster for an intense interview. These don't happen often!

Avoid a Grand Slam Mentality When It Comes to Book Publicity

When baseball players “swing for the fences,” they are going for broke; putting all of their focus solely on slamming the ball over the fence. Most of the time, this leads to lower production, lower batting averages, and strikeouts. When authors are obsessed with only national TV to promote their book, or only the very top national magazines and newspapersthey’re swinging for the fences.

Unless you’re a household name, this usually isn't a good strategy in book marketing. Home runs for authors can and obviously do happen, and when the time and opportunity is right, you should swing for the fences, but this should be just a part of your overall game plan.

Vary Your Book Publicity Strategy

The majority of the timejust as in baseballyou “score runs” (think sell books) by getting many singles, doubles, etc. When sometimes punctuated with a home run, you could score many runs!

Think about this: Pete Rose set the record for most hits and is legendary as a champion and one of the best hitters ever, and he hit only 160 home runs over 24 seasons. My firm has had clients who’ve enjoyed very successful, long campaigns with no true home runs. You see the point, I’m sure.

So, I suggest authors relish the small hitsdo as many radio interviews as you can, regardless of where they are. Do an interview with your tiny hometown newspaper. Get a mention of your book in a tiny special interest trade magazine with a circulation of 500. Get a mention in your college alumni publication. Take it all; do it all; relish it all; and stick with it.

Do indeed try for the home runs, but don’t swing so hard you end up striking out and never get on base.


Experts in the Publishing Industry

Dan Smith

Dan Smith is CEO and Founder of Smith Publicity, the most prolific book marketing agency in the publishing industry, with over 3,000 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.