With luck your pre-publication efforts should have led to interviews and the possibility of publicity appearances.
It’s harder than it used to be, of course. Once, and not too long ago, many authors, both new and established, dreamed of being chosen by Oprah Winfrey’s book club. But those days are gone, and the market is much more fragmented today. No one outlet or personality has the power to create national bestsellers as Oprah’s Book Club used to do â€“ though entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have helped create buzz, and sales, for books they’ve chosen to read and have written about.
But unless your book gets that rare considerable boost from a major name, you will hope for publicity of just about any sort, starting locally. And even that can be hard to come by today. Still, the first 90 days after the publication of your book remain a good time for promotion. Work with your local booksellers to see about personal appearances or signings. Look to see if writers in your area would be willing to have a discussion with you on your topic, where the public is invited, either at the public library or at a bookseller or community hall.
When media opportunities are shrinking, you can create movement by helping to start a conversation around your book’s topic.
Just as you put together a question-and-answer document for your site and for your online press kit, you should work on creating a similar discussion sheet for the media or for community groups. You can also make yourself available to discuss other topics related to your subject.
All of this takes a lot of pre-planning. Here are things to consider that should be timed to the publication of your book, and which you will have organized beforehand:
- Approach booksellers about personal appearances or discussions
- Talk to your community centers or libraries in your region to see about setting up a discussion related to your subject
- Organize online book chats
- Say yes to requests for appearances (as many as you can squeeze in without compromising your ability to show up on time)
- Talk to special-interest groups that might want to host you or offer you a place at an event where you can talk about your book
- Target bloggers, journalists, podcasters, radio hosts (broadcast and satellite) and television bookers who might want to discuss you, your book or your subject â€“ and be flexible if they want to speak about something not directly related to your book (all publicity is good for you at this point)
- Make sure you’ve created a list of talking points
- Let special-interest groups in your region know you can speak on a range of subjects related to your specialty
- Put together a question-and-answer document (and include suggestions on what your next book will cover)
- Plan everything you can well in advance
- Build buffers for surprises (cancellations, for example, or last-minute invitations)
In our next post, we’ll look at the future of publishing.
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