Publicity Tips for First-Time RLPG Authors
Welcome! As a first-time author with the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group (RLPG) there are several things you need to know about publicizing and marketing your book. First and foremost, you will be one of a group of authors in the publishing company’s seasonal rotation. The company divides its annual publishing schedule in two halves. Publicity, Marketing and Sales are all excited to be working on your book.
Once you’ve got your manuscript in and approved, what do you do while waiting? Well, depending on your availability, expertise, commitment and budget, the sky is the limit. Keep reading to find out some suggested “can do” and “must do” author activities.
RLPG publishes many high quality books in a wide variety of categories and disciplines. Generally speaking, as hard as we work, there just aren’t enough publicity and marketing hours to devote to each and every author all of the time. Though you’ll get a great deal of support as your book nears its launch date and hits the appropriate market, our publishing company is looking for a strong collaborative effort.
There are many things you can do on your own to help promote and market your book. All it takes is a little know-how and a lot of elbow grease.
1) State the obvious, and then some: Answer your author questionnaire as thoroughly as possible. The more information you present, the better the course of the campaign will run.
2) Reach out: Begin to contact to your own “sphere of influence” and let your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, teammates, colleagues, etc. know you have a book in the works.
3) Get professional looking photos: A photo shoot is a great way to help make your visual presence polished and professional. Professional head shots can cost several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. You can mind your money by contacting local photography and technical art high schools or local university photography departments to see if they offer “free” or “low cost” studio session time with their students.
4) Your bio, please: Make sure you have several kinds of bios at the ready. A short one, several sentences long. A medium one, one or two paragraphs long and a detailed one. In this way, you’ll be prepared for any publicity request in an instant.
5) Your synopsis too: Do the same for your book. A short, medium and detailed overview already on file will save you the headache of trying to pull something together in a heated rush. Once you have reviews or endorsements for your book, create a file and keep them on hand for easy access too.
6) Always, ALWAYS, have extra books on hand: You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so leave books in your car, briefcase, office and of course, at home. Some of the best connections can be spur-of-the-moment introductions.
7) Get your displays ready: Use the art of your book jacket and begin reproducing posters, flyers, postcards, signage, and other creative displays. Be ready for any impromptu book signings or opportunities to let others know about you as an author by handing them a business card with your book information, a postcard with reviews and publisher contact information, flyer, brochure, etc. Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, and Kinko’s are great resources as are online sites such as Uprint, Zazzle, and VistaPrint.
8) Start a blog. It’s free. A blog gives you an online space where you can tell stories about your book, share insights and opinions. You can post photos, events, reviews and videos. Blogging is a great way to journal your experiences as an author and connect with readers. Here are a few blogging sites:
· Word Press
9) Take the social network plunge. There are many FREE social media outlets that allow you to publicize and market your book. It’s very important, though, that you take the time to connect with readers, list interesting updates, and network with other organizations, agencies, etc. that dovetail with your published work. Don’t join social media platforms if you’re not going to update often. If you’re not active, your online presence will seem stale and unattended. There’s not much worse than seeing your last blog entry or author event was two years ago - a big no no in the marketing world.
· Create an author or book Facebook Page: Facebook
· Get a Twitter Account:Twitter
· Get Linked In: Linkedin
· Make a YouTube video for your book.
10) Network with book lover sites: Working on the barter system, book lover websites ask you to supply books to be given away via a contest - and in turn they’ll review your work or promote the give-a-way. It’s a win-win for author and webmaster as both enjoy an increase in readers.
·Goodreads: Most of the book giveaways on GoodReads.com are pre-release books which publishers and authors offer to get early reviews of their novels. Good Reads also offers a free author blog, and the ability to set up give-a-ways all year round.
· BookDivas.com BookDivas is a book-lovers' website that features author interviews, book reviews, and tips for breaking into the writing industry, and more.
· FreshFiction.com FreshFiction.com offers book reviews, author chats, book news, and book contests. They specialize in genre fiction such as romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and more.
· BookLoons : BookLoons.com offers book reviews, book columns, and excerpts of books for adults, teens, and kids. They also have an extensive listing of book sweepstakes that covers their own sweepstakes and book giveaways on other sites.
· Luxuryreading.com is another book website that offers giveaways and reviews. The webmaster links all contests and reviews to her social media outlets.
11) Know your audience: If you have written a book for parents, students, music lovers, or history buffs and it doesn’t assume a professional or scholarly degree of specific knowledge is needed to navigate the text, then your book will probably be marketed to general readers and public libraries. If you have written a book aimed at high school principals, archeologists, climatologists, musicologists, psychologists, or other areas of study or training, then your book will be targeted to that category.
12) Secure an online domain: Once you’ve written your book, and its title has been chosen, it’s a great idea to register an online domain. You can claim a domain for your author name as well. In today’s connected world, readers will come to know your name and book via an online domain and a dedicated website. NOTE: Registered domains are not a one-time purchase deal. You need to know when it expires so you can keep your domain active. Once you've got your domain, create a website with it. Website hosting can cost tens to a little over a hundred dollars a year to set up from the likes of Google, Yahoo, GoDaddy, BlueHost, iPage - or you can go private and have a website designed and managed (prices vary). Whatever you choose, your online domain and website will be key in publicizing and marketing your book.
13) Offer your expert advice to relevant websites and Top Bloggers: Are you writing a book about Parenting? Have you completed a self help book on Addiction? Whatever your niche, surf the internet for highly respected websites and ask if they’d be interested in you writing a guest post, or doing some Questions and Answers for their readers. You do this, of course, for free, hoping that they will help promote you and your book. Sometimes, you’ll get a feature article or interview with the work you offer to do, other times, you’ll have to settle for just a blurb and a link to your book. Either way, it’s a great marketing tool and widens your professional presence – and helps to build your media resume.
14) Get your review on: The publicity department will mail your book out to be reviewed, but don’t let the process stop there. Reach out and find other relevant sources to review your book. Many professional organizations don’t directly endorse books, but you can indirectly find a way via their Newsletters, social media and websites. The more you get your book out there and reviewed, the more readers you’ll reach.
15) Set up a Google News Alert. Monitoring your publicity work is important. A good way to track what’s being written about you is to set up a Google News Alert. Use these news alerts by linking them to your fan base via your social media sites and your website. It’s also a good idea to keep track of them, listing them in a separate file for your own publicity inventory.
16) Hire an outside publicist: Though our in-house publicity department will get your campaign rolling, you may want to enlist the help of an outside publicist who will focus entirely on a publicity campaign for your book. PR pushes can vary in cost greatly, depending on the amount of time the services are retained and the level of activity agreed upon in the contract. The cost can range from a few thousand dollars total to thousands of dollars a month over many months, but can help your book reach media outlets you alone would never be able to attain. If interested ask Sam Caggiula for recommendations of reputable publicity companies that have worked with RLPG.
17) Consider an online virtual book tour. More affordable and way easier than book touring old school, virtual online book tours range in price from tens to several hundred dollars. Many virtual book tour agents have price plans for just about budget.
· Blog Book Tours - specialize in children’s book authors and cozy mystery writers.
· PumpUpYourBook.com -handles all of the aspects of virtual book touring from pre-buzzing your book before the tour starts making sure buyers will find your book long after the tour is over.
· TLCBookTours.com - specializes in designing tours to fit the book and its genre.
· VirtualBookTourCafe.com specializes in all genres.
18) Keep making waves. Like creating and building your academic or professional career, keeping your book floating on the water is going to be a long term endeavor. Take advantage of current events in the news and pop culture and dovetail them with your book. Look at the calendar and use holidays/awareness days and anniversaries as a tie in with your book too. To keep your name out there, you have to keep making waves.
19) Realize who really does what in your publishing house. Try not to overburden your already overworked publishing staff by learning what each department does. This way you’ll be able to access the right person for the question you need answered. Remember, your publishing house wants you to succeed, help them help you by knowing who really does what in their wheelhouse.
20) Be rubber, not glue: Being an author is usually a meaningful experience. However, there are the occasional bad reviews and people who just have to let you know how “Meh” your work is. Don’t let that derail you from your achievement. Be proud of what you’ve done.
21) Get working on your second book: Now that you’re a published author, get working on your next book. Opportunities have a shelf life – so don’t let your publishing connections expire.
22) Keep a list: The people who come into your life because of your book can form lasting and useful connections for you. Keep the contact information, whether phone, email or address, of the producers, reporters, booksellers, librarians, bloggers, association members, and any other media or publishing types. You never know when this information may come in handy.
23) Book launch party: Take advantage of your book’s publication date and contact a local bookstore to arrange a book launch party. Make sure to include not only friends and family, but also your network of colleagues, referral resources, agencies and schools with whom you work – your sphere of influence. Make it extra special and memorable with food and wine – and see if you can get several local papers to cover the story before AND after the book launch date. This requires some planning and lead time – so start early.
24) Read a book: That should make sense, right? You’re supporting the very industry you are getting into and learning about how you can best promote your book in conjunction with our publicity, marketing and sales departments. Thanks! Some suggested books are:
a. The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity by Lissa Warren
b. Publicize Your Book by Jacqueline Deval
c. Plug Your Book! by Steve Weber
25) Promote, Promote, Promote!