Savvy Media Relations: The New Rules of Profitable Self-promotion for Authors
Learn my tips, tricks, tools and strategies for generating visibility and free publicity to promote your books and your expertise.
Tips, Tricks & Tools for Free Publicity
Here are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.
A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit ow.ly/KpRq8 #bookmarketing
RT @RachelintheOC: The Dark Side of Selling Books buff.ly/1AWgtZv
You have until April 21 to make sure your website is mobile-friendly bit.ly/1BBV7fx
RT @HeatherLutze: #PR Tips From The Blacklist: How to Accomplish Your Media Mission | @Cision bit.ly/1GFhHbB
Free tool for radio show gigs, Radio Guest List. #publicitytip ow.ly/KrQ4
New Research: Content Marketing Performance ow.ly/2W1y0M #contentmarketing #contentmarketingstrategy
Business Blog Writing: How to Avoid Time-Suck via @Patsiblogsquad ow.ly/Kp1gj #businessblogging #bloggingtips
10 Ways to Get Your Book “Review Ready ow.ly/KpRfu #bookmarketing #authormarketing
RT @NinaAmir: Resource for #writers based on The Author Training Manual. 57 items to help #authors succeed! ow.ly/zn0IH #pubtip
#Authors: Detailed list of what your #Author #MediaKit must include. Free #tips today at 4 Eastern. bit.ly/1xA640N #authormarketing
This edited transcript is the last in a four-part series from an interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio. You’ll find links to the first, second and third posts in this series at the end of this post.
Julie Anne: All right, I’m all about action, I’m all about taking action and I love it when a podcast says, “OK, as soon as you hang up the phone or as soon as you pull into the parking spot and you turn off this podcast,” what action, what’s the first thing you would recommend that my listeners do as soon as the episode ends?
Joan: I’m not going to try to sell you anything. I want you to take advantage of my free content. I send my snack-size email tips twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday. I’m paying more attention to authors and publishers, simply because there’s so many more authors and publishers these days than there were even two years ago. Everybody is a publisher today. Go to my website at PublicityHound.com. There’s a small white opt-in box in the upper left corner. Give me your name and email address and you’ll get your first tips on Tuesday or Saturday. It’s 100 percent free. You can go to my blog. I’ve got a whole separate category on author marketing and there’s a ton of free content there.
If you’re looking for something specific, send me an email—my email address is accessible from every page of my website—and tell me what you’re trying to do and I’ll be happy to help.
Julie Anne: I’ll tell you, listeners, I hardily recommend doing exactly what Joan just said because I have been on her free list forever and I’ve participated in her webinars and things and I have learned so much about publicity and all of the various tools that you can use to get publicity.
I’ve used it for my clients, I’ve used it for myself. If you do nothing else but go to the PublicityHound.com and you read through those things and you implement something that you learned there, you will be on your way to selling more books and making more money from your books. Absolutely, that’s fantastic.
All right, one last piece of inspiration or advice that you’d like to leave people with?
Joan: Always be marketing, always. People say, “How long do I have to market my books for?” Well, how long do you want to be selling books? Do you want to be selling books for the next five years? You better be out there marketing for five years. But you don’t always have to be doing the same things. You can rotate these things:
Julie Anne: Absolutely, always be marketing—always, always—no matter how many books you have out there. Your back list, I mean, Stephen King can tell you about selling from your back list. Your books are not going to go out of style unless they are about how to do Facebook and then you have to update it every week. But hopefully you’re not writing on that topic.
Joan: Can I slip in one other quick tip?
Julie Anne: Absolutely!
Joan: Most authors see their book as the end product. Smart authors see their book as the door opener to get readers interested and then to try to sell those readers a whole bunch of other products and services.
Julie Anne: Absolutely.
Joan: That could be consulting, board games, calendars, speaking engagements, T-shirts, whatever.
Julie Anne: I’ve actually created one of my free giveaway reports on how to create back-end services and products. It’s unbelievable. I actually researched, I was like, “Stephen King merchandise, I wonder if he has any merchandise?” There’s an actual Stephen King catalog out there!
Joan: Yeah, there you go.
Julie Anne: Where you can buy all kind of things like key chains from hotels that are in his book. You can even get a Stephen King’s Simpson action figure.
Joan: You know what? I’ll bet there’s a Harry Potter catalog, too.
Julie Anne: Oh, there’s a Harry Potter theme park. You never know how far you can go with back end products and services. It’s really easy for me to rattle off things that you can do if you’re a non-fiction author, because there’s a million things you can do, especially if you’re a business owner.
But oftentimes fiction authors will be like, “I don’t know…I can’t have a back end unless it’s my back books.” It’s like, “Well, no, what did Star Wars do?” You can have as much merchandise as you decide to have. It’s all up to you.
Awesome piece of advice, thank you so much, Joan. This has been a fantastic call. If people want to learn more from you, how can they do that? One more time?
Joan: They can go to PublicityHound.com, sign up for my free email tips. Click on the welcome video and it’s a warm welcome from me showing you some of the things that you can see at my site, sort of like a quick tour of my site, and some ways to stay in touch with me.
Again, please feel free to ask me a question about book publicity or publishing. I’m very generous with information. I answer my own email, and I love authors.
Julie Anne: Listeners, remember you can find all of the links and resources and everything from this episode on our website, SuccessfulAuthorPodcast.com.
One final thank you so much, Joan, I really appreciate your time.
Joan: Thank you, Julie, and thank you, authors. Go out there and get some great publicity to sell books!
Julie Anne: Awesome! Until soon, everyone, bye-bye.
I’ve worked for almost four decades as a newspaper reporter, editor, freelance writer, publisher and blogger. And I know this is true:
If a writer needs a few paragraphs of bio material for a story she’s writing about you, she can grab your Media Kit, highlight exactly what she needs, save it to her clipboard and insert it into her story.
Journalists almost never check facts in your bio, unless they’re working on an investigative story. Does that mean you can stretch the truth? Never. It just means they rely on you tell the truth and give them enough facts so they can report on you and your book without doing a extra research.
Weekly newspapers and small dailies that can’t afford to send their own photographer to your event will look in your Media Kit and see if there’s a photo they can use to accompany their story. If they find what I call an environmental photo, like the one above of author Edward Vilga and his dog, Belle, they think they’ve struck gold! They won’t hesitate to use it. And they’ll usually credit the photographer. (In this case, it’s Jonathan Pozniak.)
If they’re writing about your book, but not reviewing it, they usually won’t read it because they don’t have time. They’ll look through the Media Kit for a page of testimonials or “blurbs” to get a feel for how well it was received.
If journalists can’t find an easy way to contact you, they might forget about covering you. When I was up against a tight deadline in my reporter days, I had no time to thumb through the phone book looking for “Robert Smith” and learning there were 13 of them in the town I covered. It’s so much easier to just call someone else who’s readily available and easy to reach.
What else do journalists, bloggers, freelancers, broadcasters and others need to give you and your book publicity? Find out on Thursday, March 19, 2015, for a webinar on The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Book publishing expert Joel Friedlander will join me for a fast-paced trip through the ideal Author Media Kit.
We’ll explain how to use and how not to use it. And we’ll introduce you to a tool I’ve created that will shave entire weeks off the tedious task of creating your own Author Media Kit from scratch.
One lucky person who joins us for the free call will win a half hour of consulting with me, a $150 value. Register even if you’re only thinking about writing a book. Once you get started, and the closer you are to launching it, the busier you’ll be with a million other marketing tasks. That isn’t the time to figure out how to build a Media Kit.
Learn it now. Register here.
This edited transcript is the first in a four-part series from an interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio. Part 2 will be published here tomorrow.
Julie Anne: Well, hello, and welcome everyone to the Successful Author Podcast. I’m Julie Anne Eason and I want to ask you a question.
Do you think your book might sell more copies and help more people if you could land an article in a major newspaper or magazine? Would a TV spot on the “Today” show or your local nightly news be useful to your career? Do you dream of getting great publicity but you can’t afford to pay for an expensive PR agency?
If so, you’re going to love today’s interview. I’m here with Joan Stewart, also known as The Publicity Hound. She’s going to share with us the best do-it-yourself publicity strategies so that you can get the media attention that you and your book deserve and need.
Joan Stewart works with business owners, nonprofits, and organizations that need free publicity in traditional and social media. For almost two decades, she’s trained and coached thousands of people on how to get free publicity that helps them establish credibility, enhance their reputation, position themselves as experts, sell more products and services, and promote their favorite causes or issues without an expensive publicist. She helps people through her live events, her online training, consulting, and The Publicity Hound Mentor Program.
Joan is the author of 10 ebooks on publicity and PR and has contributed to more than 60 other books on various publicity and business topics.
Welcome, Joan, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Thank you for spending so much time with us today.
Joan: Hi, Julie! It’s great to be here. Hello, authors everywhere! It’s great to be here.
Julie Anne: All right! Let’s jump right in. First I want to start off by defining exactly what is publicity in case people don’t know. Why is it such an important skill for authors to have?
Joan: Publicity is the art—and it is an art—of using other people or other websites or other tools to let the world know what you’re doing. That could be to promote maybe a book signing, it could be to let the world know about problems that you can solve.
In the old days, back when I worked at a newspaper, you had to basically grovel in front of traditional media and hoped that they covered you. Now those days have changed. Traditional media has become less relevant than it used to be, because there are so many online tools and websites that help you self-promote and get the word out there to either a niche or a mass market for next to nothing.
Julie Anne: Awesome. Is this something that every author can develop themselves?
Joan: Yes, but you’ve got to have a strategy. You have to be willing to do the hard work. Anybody who tells you that book marketing and publicity is easy and you can only do it in 15 minutes a day, they’re lying to you. It’s very hard. So many authors don’t want to market. The authors who are in my Mentor Program and many of them who I’ve consulted with over the years feel deceitful, or they feel dishonest or even dirty when it comes to marketing.
Julie Anne: Yeah, what’s what with that? [Laughs]
Joan: I don’t know. I tell them, “Get over it!” Because unless you embrace marketing your book as a major task that you have to do—and I’m assuming that people do not have money to hire expensive publicists, they’re very expensive—unless you’re willing to do that, don’t bother writing a book. Unless, of course, writing a book and spending all that money writing and marketing a book is just a fun little hobby for you. Then you don’t have to market. But if it’s not a fun little hobby and you’re using it to build a platform and to promote your expertise and to attract raving fans—you’ve got to be out there constantly marketing your book, period.
Julie Anne: Marketing your book is all about letting people know why they should buy your book, but not only buy it, but what value you’re going to give to them, what you can help them with, how you can solve their problems. Nobody knows that better than you do because you wrote the book.
Even if you’re spending thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a publicist, that publicist doesn’t know your book as well as you do and they’re not as passionate about that book as you are. Even spending the money, even if you can afford to spend the money, it’s often, I think, a better idea for you to do your PR yourself, simply because you know the benefits of your book better than anybody else.
Joan: You bet, absolutely.
Julie Anne: All right, so let’s get down to strategies. I love the practical strategies and the brass tacks. I know that forever, it seems that publicity, kind of like traditional publishing, sort of had this secret society shroud of mystery surrounding it and you had to have a secret handshake to get in, and you had to grovel, like you said, to hope that they would notice you.
But that’s just not true anymore. Now there are so many ways, just like we can self-publish, that we can also self-publicize.
Let’s talk about the top three strategies that you think authors should be using to promote their books.
Joan: Oh, there’s so many of them! I don’t even know where to start. Let me choose three very, very important ones. The first one is going to seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing, Julie, how many authors, have written books already—the books are already on the market—and they have no clue who their target market is for the book.
Julie Anne: Absolutely.
Joan: I know this because when they work with me, that’s the first question I ask, “Who’s your target market?” Sometimes they’ll come back and say, “Well, everybody is.”
I say, “Really?”
And they say, “My Aunt Sally said she thinks everybody should read my book.”
Well, guess what? If your target market is everybody, that means you have to market to everybody and that’s impossible, as you know. Define your target market before you put one word on that document, before you write the first sentence. Identify your target market and ask yourself the following questions:
You may have a target audience that doesn’t want to read a print book or an ebook, they may prefer video or audio. The only way you know that is to ask people who are your ideal readers.
I learned this from one of my coaches, Perry Marshall. I heard him say this at a conference and it has stuck with me to this very day. He says, regardless of what you’re writing or what you’re selling, you should know your target market so well that you can wake up in the morning and write a page in their journal exactly the way they would write it.
Julie Anne: Exactly. People get tripped up on this whole target market thing and I think it’s because they think that they have to figure it out. They have to go out and find this target market, when in fact, where it comes from is it comes from you. Just like you get to decide who you want to sell to, you get to decide who your target market is for your book. Who do you think is going to benefit the most from this book? Who do you think you’re going to help the most?
When you think about it that way and it’s not something you have to go find and search for, but it’s something that you create and you make up and you decide, this is my target market, it makes it a lot easier.
Tomorrow: How to identify the target market for your book
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